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Best of Delaware Editors Picks 2020

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Wilmington’s Corner Bistro boasts slow-cooked homestyle goodness with a side of stellar service./Moonloop Photography

For a pocket-friendly Happy Hour with an upscale vibe, hop by Market Street’s Stitch House Brewery./Moonloop Photography

AFTERNOON TEA

The Centreville Café | Montrachet FineFoods

Ever wonder why certain coffee drinks taste far superior to others? Susan Teiser, owner of The Centreville Café, has the answer: finest quality Italian coffee, more ounces to the pot and a three-part water purifying system. Open 364 days a year, The Centreville Café also offers eat-in dishes—all of which can be tailored to meet specific dietary needs—plus dinner and appetizers prepared to-go by adjoining Montrachet Fine Foods. As an added indulgence, try the café’s four-course Afternoon Tea featuring an assortment of delights, including signature scones with housemade lemon curd and clotted cream.

5800 Kennett Pike, Centreville; 777-4911; centrevillecafe.com


AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR

Tonic Seafood & Steak

With ample al fresco seating and a wide selection of wine, beer and spirits, this downtown hotspot (formerly named Tonic Bar & Grille) is the perfect place to cool down with a housemade cocktail and tasty bite after a long day at the office.

111 W. 11th St., Wilmington; 777-2040; tonicbargrille.com


AL FRESCO DINING

Big Chill Beach Club

Built atop the Delaware Seashore State Park’s concession stand, the open-air Big Chill Beach Club boasts picture-worthy views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Inlet. There are 200 seats—and not a bad one in the house. Belly up to the octagonal bar under the state’s largest outdoor umbrella and try the Latin-inspired fare from Taco Reho, the popular food truck. (We suggest chicken tinga or Baja fish tacos.) Both operations are part of La Vida Hospitality.

27099 Coastal Highway, Bethany Beach; 402-5300; bigchillbeachclub.com


ARCADE BAR

The Hideout Arcade Bar & Grille

Delaware’s beaches may hold many a longstanding spot for adults to relax and play, but as far as newcomers go, The Hideout knocks it out of the park with an ’80s- throwback vibe. Hit up the arcade side for old-school games like Donkey Kong, Tetris and Pac-Man, and admire the nostalgic retro décor while sipping on a boozy milkshake, specialty cocktail or craft beer from the bar side.

18693 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach; 645-1985; hideoutarcadebar.com


ASIAN FUSION

Potstickers Asian Grill & Sushi Bar

It’s hard to believe such a mouthwatering mix of Japanese, Chinese, Thai and other culinary influences can be found in our own backyard. Standout dishes include the Thai spicy beef with basil and kaffir lime leaves, Hong Kong-style crispy noodles and, of course, the potstickers.

1247 New Churchmans Road, Newark, 731-0188, potstickersasiangrill.com


BANG-FOR-YOUR-BUCK HAPPY HOUR

Stitch House Brewery

This Market Street hotspot may be chic, but it can also be enjoyed on the cheap. During happy hour, gracious wine pours, select beers at half off and rotating food specials make it a must-stop.

829 N. Market St., Wilmington, 250-4280, stitchhousebrewery.com


BARBECUE

Maverick Texas Barbeque

You needn’t travel farther south than Smyrna for authentic Southern barbecue. Dive into generous portions of pulled pork, brisket and chicken, with traditional comfort side dishes.

19 W Commerce St., Smyrna, 806-2184, facebook.com/Maverick-Texas-BBQ


BEACH CAFÉ

Olive & Oats by Azafran

In 2002, Richard Steele opened Café Azafran, a coffee shop with Spanish flair, in Lewes. It closed when the second site in Rehoboth got busy. Olive & Oats by Azafran, which is steps from the original restaurant, brings Steele full circle. It also brings back gourmet coffee drinks and Azafran’s breakfast and lunch dishes to a pleased populace. The baked oatmeal and café panini—made with Serrano ham—are original favorites.

113 W. Market St., Lewes, 313-4701, cafeazafran.com


BEER GARDEN

Constitution Yards

Crucial ingredients for a relaxing summer hangout: good eats, craft brews and backyard games. This Riverfront hangout has all three, plus snazzy frozen drinks and tons of events and activities to keep you thirsting for more.

308 Justison St., Wilmington, 407-5192, constitutionyards.com


With Torbert Street Social’s classic and creatively crafted cocktails, it’s no wonder this speakeasy didn’t stay secret for long./Moonloop Photography

BEST-KEPT ‘SECRET’

Torbert Street Social

Admittedly, this speakeasy-style cocktail lounge didn’t stay a secret for very long. Diners quickly flocked to for delicious sharable bites and creatively crafted drinks. Whether your crew prefers to disappear into the sophistically decorated interior dining room or play games on the patio, the space is unique and the password is sought out for a reason. You didn’t hear that from us, though.

305 Torbert St., Wilmington, 407-6627, torbertsocial.com


BISTRO CUISINE

Corner Bistro

You won’t find cassoulet or duck confit at Corner Bistro, and who cares about the classics when your version of slow-cooked homestyle goodness means tamarind-braised shortrib with truffled parsnip puree? Or skip the fat bath and go for duck meatballs with a hoisin barbecue glaze and miso mustard

3604 Silverside Road, Wilmington; 477-1778; mybistro.com


BOARDWALK FRIES

Thrasher’s

No trip to the beach is complete without a cup of Thrasher’s french fries. The tradition dates back to 1929 when Georgia native J.T. Thrasher founded the first location in Ocean City, Maryland. Don’t ask for ketchup. Vinegar is the only acceptable seasoning for these spuds. And don’t pilfer a packet from nearby vendors: It’s bad boardwalk manners.

7 Rehoboth Ave., 26 Rehoboth Ave., 101 S. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach; thrashersrehoboth.com


BURGERS

Restaurant 55

Family-friendly Restaurant 55 is also a family affair. It’s owned by Desiree DiAntonio and her dad, Chef Dennis Forbes, who founded Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant in the same center. Opened in 2010, Restaurant 55 showcases innovative gourmet burgers made with fresh ground beef and local turkey. Since beer and burgers are the perfect pairing, the restaurant sports 12 beers on tap.

2461 S. State St., Dover, 535-8102, myrestaurant55.com


CALAMARI

Bardea Food and Drink

If you’re tired of being disappointed with soggy, flavorless fried calamari, you’ve come to the right place . Perfectly fried, and tossed in a sweet and spicy tamarind agrodolce sauce, it’s topped with fresh olives and peppers.

620 N. Market St., Wilmington, 426-2069, bardeawilmington.com


CANDY SHOP

Snyder’s

Based on a church flyer advertisement, Snyder’s Candy dates back to 1940. The much older building, however, started life in Bethany Beach. To truck it to Rehoboth, workers had divided it in half. The structure and the name are established, but the candy is thoroughly modern. Among the taffy flavors are maple-bacon, frosted cupcake and chicken-and-waffles. While you’re there, be sure to sample the coconut saltwater taffy, which is Rachael Ray’s favorite.

60 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-3994, snyderscandy.com


CASUAL DINING

Restaurant 55

What’s not to love about a place that’s all about burgers and beer? For both done the right way, swing by Restaurant 55, where a rotating selection of craft brews on tap, plus a menu chock-full of gourmet burgers make for a casual dining experience that your taste buds will thank you for.

2461 S. State St. Dover, 535-8102, myrestaurant55.com


CATERING

Toscana To Go

Piccolina Toscana has long been a favorite for catering our business lunches and parties, and it’s delivered a silver lining amid the pandemic: Now we have the perfect excuse to dine out for dinner on mouthwatering Italian dishes. Even better? They serve beer and wine to go, too. Saluti.

North DuPont St., Wilmington, 654-8001, piccolinatoscana.com


CBD COCKTAIL

Bardea Food and Drink

With touches of European bronze, hanging lights and distressed wood, Bardea is reminiscent of a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast. It’s the perfect backdrop to chef Antimo DiMeo’s culinary artistry.  As relaxed as the vibe is the c.bee.d cocktail—a medicinal mix of Bulleit bourbon, CBD-infused honey and citrus.

620 N. Market St., Wilmington; 426-2069, bardeawilmington.com


CHEESE PULL

Mad Mac’s

At a restaurant where macaroni is the star, it’s only fitting that it should serve out-of-this-world comfort grub that’s not only tasty but fun to eat. We implore you, next time you order any of the mac dishes or sharable plates like the Inverted Spud, take a second to marvel at that satisfying cheese pull.

801 S. College Ave., Newark, 737-4800, mad-macs.com


CLASSIC COCKTAILS

Columbus Inn

There’s a reason Columbus Inn has been the preferred hangout to some of Delaware’s most legendary figures over the generations. And it’s not just the exclusive-seeming, leather-scented atmosphere. The bartenders here can execute on true classics like a perfectly mixed Manhattan, more modern classics like Bluecoat gin and tonics or mules, or off-the-wall offerings like triple-berry sage acai martinis.

2216 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington; 571-1492; columbusinn.net


CONSISTENTLY GOOD VEGETARIAN/VEGAN

Home Grown Café

126 E. Main St., Newark; 266-6993; homegrowncafe.com


‘COUNTRIE’ EATS

Countrie Eatery

A charming farmhouse atmosphere, plates piled high with a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner—no, you’re not out on your grandparents’ farm, but the homestyle cooking sure does make it feel that way. Nestled right on Silver Lake, this southern Delaware spot makes for a picturesque dining experience complete with homemade desserts and pies. Just how grandma made it.

950 N. State St., Dover, 674-8310, countrieeatery.com


COZY COFFEE HOUSE

Upstate: Brew HaHa!

When it comes to relaxing vibes, this café’s got it down to a science. Step into any location and feel your woes wilt amid the greenery, charming décor and aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. We’re lured in with the promise of caffeine, but the coziness is usually enough to convince us to pull up a chair and stay awhile.

3838 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 658-6336; 45 E. Main St., Newark, 369-2600; Christiana Hospital, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark, 733-2739; 1812 Marsh Road, Wilmington, 529-1125; 3636 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-7227; 222 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 777-5137; 824 N. Market St., Wilmington, 777-4499; 5329 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 234-9600; 1400 N. DuPont St., Wilmington, 384-6344, brewhaha.com

Downstate: House of Coffi

This house feels inviting from the moment you walk through the door, with a charming interior of warm tones and familiar games and records lining the shelves. It’s the kind of quaint place where time slows down just enough, and that feeling is more than enough reason to stop in.

14 E. Loockerman St., Dover, 672-0059, facebook.com/TheHouseOfCoffi


CRAB CAKES

Courtyard Café—Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware

Those 10 consecutive “Best Crab Cakes” awards aren’t just for decoration. Chef Mark Chopko’s crab cakes are gluten free, so you know there’s no breadcrumb filler. The secret to great crab cakes, as always, is very little fuss—and Courtyard Café’s are some of the best around because they let the premium jumbo lump do the talking. Plus a pat of the delicious creole mustard sauce on the side.

400 David Hollowell Dr., Newark; 737-0900; marriott.com/hotels/travel/ilgud-courtyard-newark-university-of-delaware


Craft Cocktails

One Coastal

One Coastal is a down-home success story. Not only did owners Carlie and Scott Carey grow up in Sussex County, but they also use locally grown produce, including herbs and veggies from their farm. The food isn’t all that is fresh. The cocktails are good enough to eat. Consider the Blueberry Smash 12, made with bourbon, homemade blueberry simple syrup, fresh lime, thyme and elderflower—topped with a splash of Pellegrino.

101 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, 537-4790, onecoastal.com


CREEKSIDE DINING

Abbott’s on Broad Creek

It’s the place that has it all: mouthwatering food made with fresh, local ingredients, a great selection of craft brews, and that view! It’s hard to find a fault with Abbott’s on Broad Creek, a small-town gem with seasonal menus that are designed to be memorable, from the first course to the last. Trust us, you’ll be back.

300 Delaware Ave., Laurel; 280-6172; abbottsgrill.com


DUMPLINGS

Wandering Chef Catering Cart

Best dumplings in Delaware? It’s not just UD students who think so. Customers travel from far and wide to Newark for these small but mighty morsels. The Wandering Chef Catering Cart is affectionately known as the “dumpling cart,” and for good reason: according to its many, many (many) fans, they will transform you.

42 Amstel Ave, Newark; (908) 295-7787; wandering-chef.com


ELEGANT ITALIAN

La Casa Pasta

A symphony of aromas greets you upon entering La Casa Pasta, your senses seduced by the smell of warm baked breads, freshly pressed pasta and delicately seasoned sauces. Since arriving from Italy in 1973 and opening La Casa Pasta in 1978, Chef-owner Giuseppe Martuscelli has endeavored to serve authentic Northern and Southern Italian food, returning annually to his homeland for recipes and ingredients not commonly found in the United States. That’s part of what makes this restaurant a favorite among lovers of family-style Italian cooking.

120 Four Seasons Parkway., Newark; 738-9935; lacasapasta.com


FARM STAND

Fifer’s Farm Market Café

Nothing dresses up a weekly farmer’s market more than Fifier’s mouthwatering display of quality fruits and vegetables. An enduring and much-beloved fixture of Delaware farmers’ markets, Fifer Orchards only aligns itself with markets focuses strictly on locally grown or made products. Also find them at Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

200 Cullen St., Dewey Beach; 227-8680; fiferorchards.com


FAST, CASUAL TAKEOUT

El Diablo Burritos

Locally owned and loved, El Diablo Burritos has been Delaware’s “unofficial burrito king” for the last decade. Its Tex-Mex cuisine is made from scratch and consistently good, using antibiotic-free chicken and antibiotic-free, grass-fed proteins as the centerpiece of its street-food menu. Excellent food that’s consistent and reliable—it might be time to make the crowning official.

127 E. Main St., Newark; 837 N. Market St., Wilmington; 13A Trolley Square, Wilmington; 1812 Marsh Road, Suite 11, Wilmington; 5329A Limestone Road, Wilmington; 439-4541; eldiabloburritos.com


FREE MUSIC SHOWS

Rusty Rudder

In 1985, then-Dewey Mayor John G. Farrow maintained that the Rusty Rudder “put Dewey Beach on the map.” At the least, the 41-year-old entertainment complex has contributed to Dewey’s reputation as a nightlife destination.   In the afternoon, the Rudder is the spot for boaters and families who want to grab a bite and listen to live music. (The crab cakes and steamed clams are perfect for deck dining.) At night, it’s “crush time” at the bar and on the dance floor.

113 Dickinson St., Dewey Beach, 277-3888, rustyrudderdewey.com


FRIED CHICKEN

The Chicken Spot

This little spot in downtown Wilmington is a real bang for your “buck buck.” Platters (for one or a whole party ) are paired with traditional Southern sides, plus biscuits and cornbread.

204 W. 10th St., Wilmington, 358-2381, thechickenspotde.com


GARLIC BREAD

Taverna Rustic Italian

Can one garlic bread dish truly reign above them all? Easily. Here the truffle garlic bread boasts the perfect balance of Parmesan and truffle butter, not to mention the bread is always cooked to toasty perfection. One bite into the crunchy goodness, and you’ll be hooked.

121 E. Main St., Newark, 444-4334, tavernapdg.com


GOURMET COMFORT COOKING

House of William and Merry

This is the rare gourmet restaurant that also feels relaxed and homey. That’s partly because it’s in a cool old Victorian house, but it’s also a natural extension of Chef Bill Hoffman’s approach to food—wildly inventive and bold, but with familiar and nostalgic flavor combinations. It’s comfort cooking at its finest, leaning on slow braises, butter poaches, and copious amounts of duck fat.

1336 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin; 234-2255; williamandmerry.com


GUEST BARTENDER NIGHTS

BBC Tavern

If you didn’t host it at BBC, did your Save the Sandpipers guest bartender night even happen, bro? The horseshoe-shaped bar inside BBC Tavern relishes its role as pivotal meeting place for Delaware’s elite philanthropic crowd. Whether for the ACLU, the high school afterprom, or the HIV Consortium, the Greenville hotspot helps raise valuable bucks for local and national charities, teams, schools and causes.

4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 655-3785, bbctavernandgrill.com


HEALTHY TAKEOUT

Karen’s Honeybee Kitchen and Market

Whether you’re searching for organic bulk items, including honey, flours, kombucha, herbs, spices, teas and more, or seasonal and primarily locally sourced produce, dairy, meats as well as canned goods, Honeybee Kitchen and Market is Wilmington’s one-stop shop for all things healthy and organic. Don’t forget to check out the cooking classes or inquire about Honeybee’s intimate catering services.

11A Trolley Square, Wilmington; 407-5579; honeybeekitchenandmarket.com


HIPPEST HANGOUT

Maker’s Alley

Indoors or out, snacks or entrees, games or sit-down seating—this twinkling little alley has something for everyone. The inviting space is just off of downtown Wilmington’s beaten path and is equipped for year-round fun. Stop by for specialty cocktails and more than 20 beers on tap, and stay for the good vibes. Plus, how cool is that Airstream kitchen?

804 N. Orange St., Wilmington, 482-1299, makersalleyde.com


HISTORIC CHARM

Governor’s Café

Dover is home to many quaint spots, but none drip with historic charm quite like Governor’s Café, which boasts a robust dine-in menu, plus a full coffee shop and bakery. The building, built in the mid-1800s, has stood the test of time, and if the friendly staff and mouthwatering dishes are any indication, the restaurant will continue serving well into the future.

144 Kings Highway SW, Suite 1, Dover, 747-7531, governorscafe.de


HOMEMADE GNOCCHI

Vincenza & Margherita Italian-American Bistro

Whether you’re craving Famous Limoncello Ice Martinis, a tantalizing dish made with pasta hand-crafted on site, or espresso so rich it conjures the Tuscan countryside upon first sip, Vincenza & Margherita Italian-American Bistro (V&M Bistro for short) in New Castle County satisfies. Enticing Delaware diners for three decades with Zino Pizza located in the Christiana Mall, the family-owned enterprise opened Wilmington’s V&M Bistro in 2014 and has since been recognized with three annual Best of Delaware awards. Don’t forget to top off your exquisite meal with one of V&M’s deliciously decadent desserts.

1717 Marsh Road; Wilmington; 479-7999; vmbistro.com


INLAND SUSSEX COUNTY RESTAURANT

Po’ Boys Creole Restaurant

You wouldn’t expect to find the flavors of the Big Easy between a Mexican grocer and a dollar store, but that’s precisely where Po’ Boys resides. The Milton gem is so popular, reservations are recommended. Start with the spicy chicken gumbo. The po’ boys, which come with a pile of seasoned fries, paired with Hurricane or Abita, are a great way to let the good times roll.

900 Palmer St., Milton, 684-0890, poboyscreole.com


INSTAGRAMMABLE DISHES

Heirloom

The artistry that is the work of chef Matthew Kern and his team—a must-try when you’re at the beach—splashes across Heirloom’s Insta (@HeirloomDelaware). Bright beautiful dishes of creamy burrata, pastas and desserts will give you the inspiration to whip up something new—or make the drive.

212 Savannah Road, Lewes, 313-4065, heirloomdelaware.com


INSTAGRAM-WORTHY DESSERT

Mug & Spoon Co.

From waffle-cone shakes and ice cream donuts (made with locally churned ice cream, of course) to lilac-colored lattes, you’ll brighten up your taste buds and your photo feed.

18 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 858-6280, mugandspoonco.com


JUICY STEAK

Walter’s Steakhouse

You don’t get the distinction of being “the oldest steakhouse in Wilmington” without offering consistently great meat. Walter’s Steakhouse is known throughout Delaware and beyond as the place with the finest beef available—always tender and flavorful. Connoisseurs of excellent dining seek out Walter’s Steakhouse for its steaks, spirits, and seafood. Featuring a banquet rooms that host approximately 60 people, it’s an ideal local for business events or family gatherings.

802 N. Union St., Wilmington; 652-6780; walters-steakhouse.com


LEWES RESTAURANT

Heirloom

Meghan Lee can make dreams come true. While working for urban restaurants, she amassed a binder of ideas. All she needed was the site, and the white Victorian in Lewes was the perfect repository for her vision. The kitchen benefits from the talent of Matt Kern, a James Beard Award semifinalist for two years. Tip: Sit at the corner table on the patio, which overlooks the Zwaanendael Museum, and start with a charcuterie board and craft cocktail.

212 Savannah Road, Lewes, 313-4065, heirloomdelaware.com


LUNCH SPOT

33 West Ale House & Grill

This downtown Dover eatery appeals to all palates, but we recommend the crab cakes, short-rib and burgers. Vegetarian? The salads are pretty tasty, too.

33 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 735-9822; facebook.com/33Westalehouse


NATURAL FOOD MARKET

Harvest Market Natural Foods

If farm-fresh, non-GMO and deliciously nutritious are at the heart of your diet staples, this earthy market is the place to shop. More than 95 percent of Harvest’s produce comes from certified organic farms, and their extensive offering of grass-fed meats and dairy, bulk groceries, personal care and wellness products makes them a cut above the rest. In the kitchen, the same quality ingredients you’ll find on the shelves are used to prepare tasty to-go dishes by a passionate culinary crew.

7417 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin; 234-6779; harvestmarketnaturalfoods.com


NEIGHBORHOOD ITALIAN

Piccolina Toscana

Inspiring the rebirth of Wilmington’s popular Trolley Square, Piccolina Toscana (known simply as Toscana by those in the know) first opened its doors in 1991 with a promise to provide fresh, expertly prepared food. Over the years and through numerous transmutations, Toscana kept its promise, tethered by the common thread of Chef Dan Butler’s commitment to the highest quality service and fare and fueled by the sage words of Butler’s mentor, Guido Tiozzo: “Find the best ingredients you can, then try not to mess them up.”

1412 N. DuPont St., Wilmington; 654-8001; piccolinatoscana.com


NEW CRAFT BREWERY

Autumn Arch Beer Project

Newark’s “local small-batch, experimental brewery” is a humble self-assessment for this locals’ favorite. The brew list is known for pushing the envelope but delivering on its bold bets, but the brewery is particularly fond of American IPAs, sour beer, and obscure German lagers. And what it loves, it does well. Bring friends, bring the kids, and—on Sundays—bring the doggos and sample them yourself.

810 Pencader Dr Suite C; 294-1126; autumnarch.com


NEW VEGETARIAN

V-Trap Kitchen

From the hitmakers who brought you the Nude Food food truck comes V-Trap, delivering healthy, delicious fare at a great price point to the Wilmington food scene. The menu accommodates diets with allergies or other sensitivities, drawing from Classic American to Italian, Mexican and Indian cuisines, so you’re never bored—and half the time, you’d never guess it’s vegan!

V-Trap Kitchen announced May 20 it was closing permanently.


OCEANFRONT DINING

Victoria’s Restaurant

The aptly named Boardwalk Plaza plays to its strengths. Room balconies are angled to give guests an ocean view, and Victoria’s, the hotel restaurant, is tiered so diners can drink in the seaside scene. If you’re lucky, snag a seat right on the boards. Victoria’s serves breakfast every day, but at brunch, the kitchen kicks it up a creative notch.

2 Olive Ave. and the Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, 227-7169, boardwalkplaza.com


OFF-THE-WALL PIZZA

KC’s New York Style Pizza

Can’t decide between Mexican or Italian for dinner? Here, you don’t have to choose. The pizzeria boasts two full menus of Mexican cuisine and Italian specialties, but options like the enchilada pizza or chorizo and jalapeño pizza fuse the best of both worlds into one mouthwatering pie. Get a side of the cowboy corn bites too, just for fun.

784 S. Old Baltimore Pike, Newark; 731-8100; kcspizzade.com


PASTA DISHES

Capers and Lemons

Whether you’re going heavy (like hulky cavatelli with sausage, broccoli rabe, pecorino, and whipped ricotta) or light (like summer corn agnolotti with tomato, white wine, and crispy shrimp), Capers and Lemons makes sure the handmade pasta is bursting with flavor. Renowned corporate chef Jeff Matyger wouldn’t have it any other way.

301 Little Falls Dr., Wilmington; 256-0524; capersandlemons.com


PIZZA TOPPINGS

Chelsea Tavern

Delawareans are fortunate to have an abundance of great pizza options, but here the Mediterranean pizza pulls out all stops when it comes to a satisfying pie. Sure, seven toppings sounds like a lot, but the combination of shallot garlic spread, roasted tomatoes, Feta cheese, baby spinach, artichokes, kalamata olives and balsamic drizzle makes every bite more delicious than the last.

821 N. Market St., Wilmington, 482-3333, chelseatavern.com


PUB GRUB

Buckley’s Tavern

If decorated chef Tom Hannum is behind the cuisine, can we even call it “grub” without terribly underselling it? Probably, but stick with us. Imagine elbowing up to the legendary Centreville bar with a plate of Buckley’s famous chicken wings and a steamy bowl of New England clam chowder with a dollop of bacon jam. That’s awesome pub grub.

5812 Kennett Pike, Centreville, 656-9776, buckleystavern.com


SEAFOOD SALADS

Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant

For nearly 20 years, Cool Springs has been the go-to place for seafood, from the traditional (baked flounder stuffed with crab imperial) to the trending (grilled honey-bourbon salmon). Landlubbers won’t leave hungry. There are pasta dishes as well as lamb, steak—even baby-back ribs. Save room for the housemade desserts.

2463 S. State St., Dover, 698-1955, coolspringsfishbar.com


SOUP

Banks’ Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar

Maybe it’s the always-fresh seafood, or the delicately balanced flavors and spices. Whatever it is, a spoonful of soup du jour at is always a good idea. Look out for personal favorites like the Crab and Mushroom or Shrimp Potato Leek with bacon and scallions.

101 S. Market St., Wilmington, 777-1500, banksseafoodkitchen.com


SPANISH CUISINE

Olé Tapas Lounge

At Olé Tapas you’ll enjoy more than a meal. Let the friendly and knowledgeable staff take you on a rich dining experience, helping you craft your own perfect tapas to share. The plates may be small, but the flavors are big, so you may need to loosen your belt a notch or two by the time the dessert plate arrives.

1126 Capitol Trail, Newark, 224-9378, oletapaslounge.com


SUNDAY BRUNCH

Deerfield

Expect top-shelf versions of the classics at Deerfield, like made-to-order eggs Benedict, but also some wicked surprises, like mussels fra diavolo, mesquite salmon, barbecued chicken thighs, or even mini pizzas and a doughnut wall for the kids.

507 Thompson Station Road, Newark, 368-6640, deerfieldgolfclub.com


SUSHI

The Cultured Pearl Restaurant & Sushi Bar

From the ambiance to the menu, this place is a real gem. Drink in the view of the beach from the rooftop deck, where a koi pond adds to the peaceful vibe. The sushi is fresh, flavorful and fun, with a variety of rolls to try.

301 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, 227-8493, culturedpearl.us


TAKEOUT DINER

Delta Restaurant

This downtown diner serves up hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner done in classic diner style: cooked with delicious bacon grease and butter. Weekdays it’s the go-to for busy on-the-go professionals; on weekends it’s there for locals who want to stay in their PJs a little longer.

304 W. 9th St., Wilmington, 655-1278


TRADITIONAL RAMEN

Ramen Kumamoto

Tucked away off Main Street, Kumamoto’s authentic ramen keep locals coming back for more. Heaps of tender noodles in rich broth make for a perfect reheated midnight snack—that is, if you can stop yourself from slurping down your leftovers before you leave the table.

165 E. Main St., Newark, 733-0888, ramenkumamotode.com


UNIQUE PASTRY

La Baguette

What’s more delicious than a croissant or muffin? A cruffin, obviously. Here the hybrid pastry is a staple and comes in a rotating menu of flavors. At DT mag, we’re sweet on the tiramisu cruffin.

323 S Governors Ave., Dover, 741-0180, labaguettede.com


VISTA

Upstate: At the Rail Wine Bar & Grill

At the Rail combines its award-winning cuisine (including the legendary brunch) with some truly spectacular vistas. Your eyeballs will spend more time on the fairways than your tee-shots will—especially at sunset. And when the horses are running, your table offers excellent sightlines.

777 Delaware Park Blvd., Wilmington; 994-6700, delawarepark.com/dining

Downstate: Catch 54

Poised on the edge of the salt marsh, the two-story Catch 54 serves up classic coastal views. Savor the sunset while nibbling deviled eggs with jumbo lump crab or buttermilk-fried calamari. As the grasses turn from green to gold in the salty breeze, tuck into soft-shell crabs, crispy Southern fried chicken or shrimp-and-grits. Don’t forget the vino: The restaurant has received the Wine Spectator Award for Excellence.

38931 Madison Ave., Selbyville, 436-8600, catch54.com


WINE LIST

Caffe Gelato

A 1,500-bottle wine cellar can be daunting for a non-connoisseur, but Caffe Gelato gets it right by making the experience accessible: the staff offers user-friendly wine dinners to introduce new vineyards or varieties, painting parties, half-price nights, and more. Next thing you know, you’re detecting the honeysuckle notes on a Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume.

90 E. Main St., Newark, 738-5811, caffegelato.net


Want to feel lost in the pines but be close to amenities? Pitch a tent no farther than Cape Henlopen State Park./Abby Shepherd

ART GALLERY

Somerville Manning Gallery

Overlooking the falls from Breck’s Mill on the Brandywine River, this small stone gallery for a third of a century has represented and exhibited renowned 21st-century American artists, including N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, Peter Sculthorpe, Timothy Barr, Robert C. Jackson and many more. For fine art (and fun openings), this is the place to be.

101 Stone Block Row, Breck’s Mill, 2nd floor, Greenville; 652-0271; somervillemanning.com


BIRDWATCHING

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Sitting smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Flyway, a major bird migration route, the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most famous birdwatching spots in the eastern United States. It’s a refuge and breeding ground for more than 300 species of migrating birds, nearly half of whom nest there. With sightings year round, from shorebirds to songbirds to the famous wintering flocks of greater snow geese, birdwatchers are spoiled for choice.

fws.gov/refuge/bombay_hook


BOOKSTORE

Browseabout Books

A favorite of presidential candidate and longtime local Joe Biden, Browseabout is the best local shop for every bookworm. Before you head surfside, grab a children’s book, mystery novel or whatever your preferred genre to enjoy with your toes in the sand (or on a rainy summer day).

133 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, 226-2665, browseaboutbooks.com


CAMPING

Cape Henlopen State Park

If you’re the kind of camper who likes to feel lost in the pines but also be close to modern amenities, this is the spot for you. Explore the park’s beautiful wilderness and beaches by day, then settle in at one of 20 walk-in tent sites or 12 camping cabins adjacent the Walking Dunes Trail.

destateparks.com/Beaches/CapeHenlopen


CANOEING AND TUBING

Wilderness Canoe Trips Inc.

“The fun water people,” as they’ve been coined, know family fun. Serving Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, Wilderness Canoe Trips offer fun and relaxing excursions down Brandywine Creek by canoe, kayak or tube. With 50 years of experience under their life vests, they’re some of the most seasoned guides around for kayak and canoe trips, and they know how to make them memorable, too.

2111 Concord Pike; 654-2227; wildernesscanoetrips.com


COMEDIAN/SOCIAL MEDIA PERSONALITY

Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino

From viral sensation to sold-out shows, Aunt Mary Pat DiSabatino (aka Wilmington’s Troy Hendrickson) has taken the world by storm. The self-proclaimed “Queen of DelCo” has garnered a massive following on both Facebook and Instagram, and keeps fans laughing with every twang of that all-too-familiar Delaware County accent.

theauntmarypat.com


CREATIVE WORKSHOPS

Mt. Cuba Center

Fancy learning how to create with natural dyes or discovering the best way to attain shade gardening success? Mt. Cuba Center has single-session workshops and certificate programs sure to make you the envy of your garden or crafting club. Taking root more than 80 years ago, this lush botanical garden—transformed from farmland—features a wealth of the regions most stunning native plants (so notable, they were recently featured in the New York Times!). Driven by a mission to inspire an appreciation for the value and beauty of indigenous plants, Mt. Cuba Center is a place of inspiration, education and purpose.

3120 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin; 239-4244; mtcubacenter.org


CUSTOM DÉCOR

Somethings Unique

Showcasing an “elegant yet relaxed” display of home furnishings and décor, Somethings Unique specializes in custom design that feels rich but never stuffy. From floor to ceiling, they’ll help you fill your home with timeless pieces you’ll never tire of. You bring them your budget, and they’ll bring fabric swatches, floor plans and fresh concepts.

3834 Kennett Pike, Wilmington; 426-1950; somethingsunique.com


DRAG PERFORMANCE

Blue Moon

A show where the queens sing live is hard to come by in today’s queen world, which puts this show a decibel above the rest. Enjoy comedy, live singing and dancing performances in one of Rehoboth’s most happening hangouts.

35 Baltimore Ave, Rehoboth Beach, 227-6515, bluemoonrehoboth.com


FASHION BOUTIQUE

The Bungalow on 2nd

This women’s boutique looks like a perfectly curated Instagram page, with thoughfully curated clothing, accessories and home décor pieces that are a sweet spot between bohemian and feminine.

142 Second St., Lewes, 644-1544, thebungalowon2nd.com


FASHION BRANDS FOR HIM + HER

Trudy

From White + Warren to Wildfox, Trudy is Delaware’s premier boutique offering a rich assortment of mainstream and independent brands for fashion-forward women and men. If you’re looking for a laidback vibe with a focus on approachable, trend-driven style, stop in and experience an alternative to mass market shopping. There are even unique products perfect to add that extra pop of ‘cool’ to any home.

1801 Delaware Ave., Wilmington; 516-7406; shoptrudy.com


Rié Victoria Aoki ‘s Insta feed is a local runway of fashion-forward styles.

FASHION INSTAGRAM

Rié Victoria Aoki

For fashion inspo and familiar faces, take a scroll through Rié Victoria Aoki’s feed. The professional ballet dancer for First State Ballet Theatre is also a fashion blogger, snapping photos throughout New Castle County and Philadelphia of her current looks— a mix of vintage and trends.

@rievictoriaaoki; rievictoriaaoki.com


GAMES

Zelky’s

For three times the family fun, visit Zelky’s trio of arcades, which dot the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk. There’s a site just north of the bandstand, and two to the south. The Weiners also own Zelky’s Donut Rings. Founded during the Pac-Man era, the family-run business has kept up with the trends. However, you’ll still find skeeball, a beach staple.

5 N. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, 227-1040; 101 S. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, 227-1043; 115 S. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach, 227-1044; zelkys.com


GIFT SHOP

Wild Thyme

Located in a stunning historic building in Centerville, Wild Thyme lives up to its name—and then some. This full-service flower shop specializes in purely fabulous arrangements from lush and lavish to natural and flowing, perfect for intimate celebrations or corporate events. Even better is a changing kaleidoscope of gifts and items—from classic to fun to eccentrically sophisticated. If you need to find something to bring a smile to your lips, this is the place.

5725 Kennett Pike, Centerville; 656-4454; havingawildthyme.com


HIGH-END FURNITURE

Pala Brothers

Since the midcentury, this family-owned business has been helping residents upgrade their homes with fine yet affordable furnishings. Find such brands as Durham, Hickory Chair and Yutzy, and create a living space that’s just your style.

800 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington; 994-0141; palabrothers.com


HIKE

Bob Loop Trail, Trap Pond State Park

The uncontested favorite beloved by everyone, the Bob Loop Trail around Trap Pond State Park is the perfect trail to just get out there and be in nature. It’s an easy five-mile loop that’s scenic, well marked, and well shaded, with little elevation change—making it suitable for the whole family. Bring the dog (on a leash)

alltrails.com/trail/us/delaware/trap-pond-loop


HOME FURNISHINGS & RUGS

Kurtz Collection

Covet a beautifully curated home but not sure where to begin? Josephine Kurtz of Kurtz Collection applies her keen eye for design to every detail of your abode—from color palettes to antique rugs, furniture and collectibles that coordinate perfectly. Also shop Kurtz’ showroom for design inspiration and quality timeless pieces built to last.

1010 N. Union St., Wilmington; 652-3474; kurtzcollection.com


KAYAKING

Trap Pond State Park

A paddle through these parts is other-wordly, with beautiful bald cypress trees spanning the park’s 3,653 swampy acres that used to be an expansive wetland. One of the First State’s first state parks, Trap Pond is home to the northernmost natural grove of these groovy coniferous trees.

33587 Baldcypress Lane, Laurel; 875-5153, destateparks.com/TrapPond


KNITTING CIRCLE

The Yarn Maker

A prime stop for both novices and knitting experts, the shop is a prime stop for all all types of yarn, from luxury hand-dyes to natural fibers, as well as a place where everyone is welcome to try their hand at the craft.

62 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, 508-5256, theyarnmaven.com


LANDSCAPING (COMMERCIAL)

Davey Tree

From environmental consulting to various residential and commercial landscaping services, Davey has deep roots in the community and a talent for “enhancing the value” of any landscape. They also provide irrigation installation, lawncare maintenance and snow removal.

515 Governor Printz Blvd., Wilmington; 610-810-2070; davey.com


MASSAGE

Spa at Montchanin

From the moment you slip into a luxe terry robe and slippers, this spa offers the ultimate relaxation experience. Sip fruit-infused water whilst you rest your eyes or read a magazine in the comfort of the quiet waiting den. Next, unwind on a cozy cot as a one of their expert’s massages away all your aches, pains and stresses, at your desired pressure.

528 Montchanin Road, Montchanin; 888-4205; montchanin.com/spa


NATURAL BEAUTY

Avenue Apothecary and Spa

Every day is Earth Day at Avenue Apothecary & Spa, a business so dedicated to being green that it only considers vendors of like mind and is fully committed to educating clients on embracing eco-friendly lifestyle. After drawing in the salty scent of sea air, rejuvenate and refresh just a stone’s throw from the grand Atlantic Ocean.

110 Rehoboth Ave. A, Rehoboth Beach; 227-5649; avenuedayspa.com


PARTY BAND

Jellyroll

Philly’s original horn party dance band also tops our list of best party bands serving Delaware! Their 12-member band has wowed crowds from New York City’s Madison Square Garden to the White House, consistently delivering good times and dancing till the sun comes up. For those looking for a high-energy, electric performance for their party of the year, look no further.

610-358-9010; facebook.com/jellyrollbvtlive


PHOTOGRAPHER (DOCUMENTARY)

Angie Gray Photography

Wilmington-based photographer Angie Gray has a background in commercial and editorial photography, with her work appearing in everything from apparel ads to national fashion magazines. More recently, she’s taken her passion for portraits from contrived to candid with documentary-style photographs that capture families at their most real and most beautiful moments, which earned her an Honorable Mention in the Documentary Family Awards.

graygirlphoto@gmail.com; angiegray.com


QUIRKY FINDS

Bloom

When you step into this boutique, all bets are off. Whether you’re covering a cute wine glass, trendy bag or statement jewelry, you’re bound to find something unique amid their whimsical displays.

1725 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 510-4990; 165 E. Main St., Newark, 454-7266, bloomfolly.com


RADIO AT WORK

WJBR-FM

Founded in 1956 by a father and son team of John B. Reynolds, Sr. and John B. Reynolds, WJBR enjoys the unique distinction of being one of the first stations to broadcast a 24-hour stereo format followed by the first to employ an all-CD format in the late 1980s. What began as “just beautiful radio” with program consisting of classical and light music, the popular station today adheres to its current slogan, “99.5 WJBR, The 80’s to Now.” Not surprisingly given its 2020 status as being voted Best Radio at Work, WJBR is also known to many listeners as “The Most Music For Your Workday.”

764-WJBR (9527); mix995wjbr.com


RUGS & CARPETS

Lang Carpet

Most experts agree that the first step in designing any room is finding a rug you love, then building around it. At Lang, find a beautiful selection of handmade Oriental and U.S.-made area rugs in an array of textures, colors and designs. They also offer full custom design and installation (including carpeting).

1001 N. Union St., Wilmington; 655-1533; langcarpet.com


Winterthur’s Enchanted Woods will show your little ones a magical time./Ashley Breeding

SUNDAY FUNDAY

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Adults may marvel at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library’s unrivaled collection of American decorative arts, but kids go crazy over the Enchanted Woods. Magic and imagination live in this fairy-tale wonderland, a 3-acre landscape for dreamers of all ages! Canopied by majestic oak trees, Enchanted Woods is home to woodland fairies who have transformed it into an enchanted escape. From Tulip Tree House to the Faerie Cottage, Enchanted Woods is a place the young and young-at-heart will love exploring.

5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur; 888-4600; winterthur.org


SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

Ashton Pools

Ashton knows that when it comes to swimming pools, one style doesn’t fit all. From plunge pools to custom freeform and geometric pools with adjacent spas and hot tubs, they’ll help you customize your perfect backyard bliss.

37458 Oyster House Road, Rehoboth Beach; 212-5570; ashtonpoolsbydesign.com


TRENDY ACCESSORIES

Bel Boutique

No outfit will go unaccessorized if Bel has anything to say about it. Whether you’re searching for the perfect hoop earrings or your current bag just isn’t cutting it anymore, this Dover staple has reliable brands and trendy pieces that fit any closet.

28 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 741-2340, belboutique.com


VINTAGE SHOP

The Vintage Underground

This hip basement shop in Historic Lewes features myriad vintage finds for those with an appreciation for the past—from vinyl records to retro wears and housewares.

205 2nd St, Lewes, 291-2984, undergroundlewes.com


WELLNESS THERAPY

Harmony Yoga Therapy

While most Western yoga places require a person to mold themselves to the physical practice, yoga therapy is shaped to fit the individual. Beyond backbends and downward dogs, you’ll exercise your mind and soul through breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and meditation during one-on-one sessions.

598-43678; harmonyyogatherapy.com


WORKOUT

RISE Fitness + Adventure

Come ready to work—and to play! With a climbing wall, a bouldering wall, a station for Olympic lifting, an eight-station fitness rig, sandbells, kettlebells, slam balls, wall balls, battle ropes and chains, a weighted sled—the options are endless, as are the opportunities to shake up your workout. Never subject yourself to the same boring routine again.

35770 Airport Road, Rehoboth Beach; 567-2112; trainatrise.com


YOGA

Serenity Yoga Studio

Open to yogis and yoginis of all levels and speeds, Serenity offers various yoga styles from heated Vinyasa Flow to nonheated Slow Flow and Yin yoga meditation. Feeling wild? Classes here  have been known to travel off the mat and onto an alpaca farm!

5244 Summit Bridge Road, Middletown; 373-7538; serenityogastudio.com

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