The big update: Soffritto Italian Grill in Newark, nominated as the most popular Italian restaurant in North America to bear the Ospitalità Italiana seal—the very seal that officially recognizes Soffritto as an authentic Italian restaurant away from Italy by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce—is the best in the world. Soffritto beat finalists La Ciccia in San Francisco and Zambri’s of Victoria in Vancouver for top honors in North America, then traveled to Rome June 12 to find out how it fared against other restaurants from around the world. The competition: Ristorante Riviera in Quito, Ecuador; Italian Pantry in North Hobart, near Melbourne, Australia; Il Piccolo of Pontevedra, near Madrid, Spain; and Certo of Dubai. And it won. Soffritto is now the Premio Ospitalita Italiana, Best Italian Restaurant in the World, for 2013. This from Giovanni Panza, owner, with his wife, Stefania, the chef: I never imagined I would receive an award from my motherland or President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy, but I knew that our work and passion for the restaurant would take us to be one of the best of the area. But no area in the United States would be the same than the guests we have in Newark and northern Delaware. So thank you for your continued support, kind words and smiling faces each time you dined at the No. 1 Italian restaurant in the world outside of Italy.” Giovanni, Stefania, well done. Our congratulations to you. 455-1101, soffritto.com
Classics are classics because they’ve stood the test of time. Cromwell’s Tavern certainly qualifies as a classic in Northern Delaware, partly because of its tavern menu, partly because of its relaxed atmosphere, partly because of its legions of devoted fans. So this is big: Cromwell’s Tavern has undergone a name and format change. It is now Cromwell’s American Tavern & Taqueria. That’s right. For the first time in the 22 years since it opened, the Greenville favorite has changed its menu and concept in a big way. Owner Pat Nilon, recognizing the popularity of Cromwell’s weekly Authentic Mexican night, has expanded the menu to include 18 Mexican dishes, including burritos, tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, enchiladas, fajitas and more, and pork green chili joins Guinness beef stew and crab and corn chowder as an everyday soup. “Sometimes you want enchiladas and a top shelf margarita, and your better half wants a world-class burger and a robust Malbec, and you both want spicy buffalo chicken winglets. Now, you don’t have to compromise,” Nilon says. “We like to think of menu changes as evolution rather than revolution.” It’s an evolution we like. 571-0561, cromwellstavern.com
Goodbye Del Rose Café, hello Satsuma Asian Kitchen. Chef Michael DiBianca, owner of the outstanding Moro in Trolley Square, is renovating the Del Rose, a landmark since the early 1960s, with the idea of creating a place that offers innovative modern cuisine, as well as sushi. Look for contemporary decor, as well as a late summer-fall opening. More to come.
Get your best beer recipe together. The Delaware Homebrew is coming Oct. 20, as part of the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival at Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village in Dover. The event, organized by Kent County Tourism, is an American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned competition, which means the winning brew will be selected by Beer Judge Certified Program judges. Festival-goers who purchase VIP tickets will select the semi-finalists in five categories. The certified judges will pick the champion from among them. The five categories will include: IPA (American/Imperial); American Ale (Pale, Amber, and Brown); Delaware-Grown Fruit Beer; Belgian/French Ale; and Specialty. “The festival is the perfect opportunity to attract home brewers from Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region,” said Charles Gray, competition coordinator. “It will blend seasoned brewmasters with novices in one fantastic atmosphere.” The Delaware Wine and Beer Festival features all of Delaware’s wineries, breweries and distilleries. This year’s theme is Drink Local, Eat Local and Buy Local, so it will feature Delaware restaurants serving seafood, barbecue and gourmet sandwiches. A great time just got greater. Be there. 800-233-5368, delawarewineandbeerfestival.com