These Neighborhood Cafés Are Community Staples in Delaware

These spots boast more than tasty roasts and avocado toasts. They're all about community.

Delaware loves a good café. They hold a special place in our hearts and our communities. What other regions see in their bodegas, pubs or diners—small family businesses that hold up and reflect the neighborhoods they serve—we see in our cafés. Whether it’s arts advocacy, farmers markets or just a damn fine cup of coffee, here are just a few reasons why these are considered local favorites.

Amity Coffee Roasters & Café

8 W. Market St., Greenwood

Housed in the garage of a historic firehouse, community-minded Amity (Latin for a friendly relationship) offers a selection of boutique-y home items and accessories, as well as a spacious, couch-filled atmosphere to match its selection of freshly roasted coffee beans. Learn how to make some of the house-baked pastries yourself at an upcoming baking class. Or simply wait for one of the scrumptious weekend specials to roll around, like macarons or Long John doughnuts. amity-coffee.com

Bellefonte Café

804 Brandywine Blvd., Bellefonte

Few cafés reflect their neighborhood quite like artsy, funky, bohemian Bellefonte Café—the longtime local favorite for black bean soup and live music. Dave and Donna Farra have owned the café since 2014, aiming simply to maintain its status as a cherished downtown anchor, a place where local art sets the backdrop for mismatched tables and chairs and a mix of local and national touring musicians. “We’re not in this business to make a big profit,” Dave Farra says. “We really wanted to just have a place where people in the community could come enjoy some music, good food, that kind of thing.” thebellefontecafe.com

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Davelli’s Bagel Café

201 W. Stein Highway, Seaford

As far as earthly pleasures go, it’s hard to beat fresh bagels first thing in the morning. Davelli’s baker takes a unique approach by steaming the bagel dough instead of the standard technique of boiling it, resulting in a lighter, somewhat breadier finished product. Everything here is strictly old school, says owner Jeff Pruitt—“just how [my] customers like it.” Everything is from scratch, too—from the waffles to the whipped Boar’s Head cream cheese to the eggs in the breakfast sandwiches. “Nothing from the microwave,” Pruitt says. davellisbagelcafe.com

Drifting Grounds

117 Atlantic Ave., Ocean View

Thanks to coffee drinks anchored by beloved Homestead Coffee Roasters beans and pervasive DIY spirit, Drifting Grounds has emerged as a beach-area go-to for espresso drinks, rotating cold brews on tap and a pour-over of the day. The café co-hosts holiday flea markets with neighboring businesses Pearl’s Corner and Yesterday’s Fun for the vintage and handmade crowds—and also holds poetry nights and pop-up spots for local purveyors like Bagel Bums. driftinggrounds.com

The House of Coffi

14 W. Loockerman St., Dover

When customers flock to The House of Coffi in Dover, they’re not just supporting one local small business but four. Owner Kristin Stonesifer is a proud locavore, sourcing from such First State faves as Fifer Orchards (apple cider doughnuts and other seasonal products), Georgia Boys (bagels) and La Baguette French Bakery (pastries). “Those are relationships we’ve held for six years,” Stonesifer says. “That says something.” Espresso drinks, single-origin coffees and local artist spotlights get top billing at The House of Coffi, but don’t sleep on the merch: Stonesifer can’t keep it on the shelves. Dover teens rock the hoodies, while grandmas don the V-necks, she says. thehouseofcoffi.com

Little Goat Roasting Co.

16 Haines St., Newark

Over the course of eight years, Little Goat Coffee has struck a chord with Newark locals and inspired a new generation of coffee nerds, co-owner Olivia Brinton says. “Even just friends who had a regular Mr. Coffee, now they have a burr grinder and a scale and make themselves a pour-over. … Coffee is a very special thing. It shouldn’t be just treated like a Folgers experience.” An expertly crafted bean menu of blends and single origins are roasted onsite and devotees set their yearly calendars around Little Goat’s seasonal drinks. “They form committed relationships,” Brinton says. littlegoatcoffeeroasting.com

The Point Coffee House & Bake Shoppe

37140 Rehoboth Ave. Ext., Rehoboth

The chatty, fun, bustling vibe—buttressed by freshly roasted single-origins and a rotating menu of coffee blends—makes it like the Cheers of coffee shops, says owner Jennifer Zerby. “We’ll have the sandwich started for you before you walk in,” she jokes. Besides the four varieties of sticky buns (including one topped with bacon chunks), the crisp, made-to-order Belgian waffles are a must-try, as are the savory pocket breakfast sandwiches. thepointcoffee.com

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Jennifer Zerby calls The Point Coffee House & Bake Shoppe in Rehoboth, which she opened with husband Jeffrey Zerby Jr., the Cheers of coffee shops when it comes to customer service.
Jennifer Zerby calls The Point Coffee House & Bake Shoppe in Rehoboth, which she opened with husband Jeffrey Zerby Jr., the Cheers of coffee shops when it comes to customer service. Photo by Maria Deforrest.

River Lights Café

340 NE Front St., Milford

River Lights has supplied the growing city of Milford exactly with what it’s needed over the last six years: a friendly, lively café with great food and a pristine view of the area’s best natural feature. Overlooking the Mispillion River with a seasonal patio, the café is a popular spot to refuel by the water. “Springtime is especially serene here,” says owner Danny Perez. “Right before summer starts hitting are gorgeous days.” Diners take it all in over huevos rancheros with house-made tortillas, French toast and hot coffee. riverlightscafemilford.com

Scout Café

2316 Baynard Blvd., Wilmington

For years, untrimmed brush concealed the unique white-brick building that straddled Wilmington’s Triangle, Baynard Village and Ninth Ward neighborhoods. Many saw its potential. Nick Qaabar acted on it. After eight months of negotiating, Qaabar bought the property and transformed it into local-centric Scout Café. It became an immediate hot spot—a walkable, bikable, pet- and kid-friendly place for neighbors and folks commuting into the city. Neighbors love the weekly farmers markets co-hosted with Barking Dog Farm. Customers go crazy for The Scout breakfast sandwich, made with Maplewood bacon, eggs, havarti, sprouts, smoked pepper and a house-made coffee hot sauce. People come from everywhere just to try it, Qaabar says. scout-cafe.com

At Scout Café, owner Nick Qaabar focuses on more than just tasty food and beverages. An inventive lineup of events—from live music performances and artist markets to speed dating—brings patrons together.
At Scout Café, owner Nick Qaabar focuses on more than just tasty food and beverages. An inventive lineup of events—from live music performances and artist markets to speed dating—brings patrons together. Photo by Becca Mathias.

Sleeping Bird Coffee

3111 Miller Road, Wilmington

Even before their small-batch gourmet doughnuts became the stuff of viral legend, the team behind Sleeping Bird Coffee in Wilmington cast its spell overthe neighborhoods that surround Haynes Park and Miller Road Crossing. The creative drive of husband-and-wife owners Zach DeLong and Leigh Ann Tona—both former food truck operators—powers a menu that includes house-made latte flavors and delicious pastries like maple biscuits, pumpkin-hazelnut bread, or goat cheese and chive scones. “That’s what makes it fun, Tona says. “If we didn’t have the R&D and just got in frozen pastries or syrups…if it’s not fun, why do it?” sleepingbirdcoffee.com

Sleeping Bird Coffee’s married owners Leigh Ann Tona and Zach DeLong both have a background in food trucks. In addition to creative coffee drinks, their menu boasts gourmet-style sandwiches and weekend sticky buns that draw more than just the neighbors.
Sleeping Bird Coffee’s married owners Leigh Ann Tona and Zach DeLong both have a background in food trucks. In addition to creative coffee drinks, their menu boasts gourmet-style sandwiches and weekend sticky buns that draw more than just the neighbors. Photos by Becca Mathias.

Related: 10 Brunch Hotspots at the Delaware Beaches

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