Everything served at the new restaurant in Independence Mall has a story.
Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar, located at 1601 Concord Pike in Wilmington, opened its doors officially on July 20. The 28-seat restaurant offers an intimate dining experience with locally sourced, thoughtful fare. Guests can also pick up local meats and cheeses to prepare at home from the butcher case.
Operated by Bill Irvin, Chef Robert Lhulier and David and Joanne Govatos, the quartet wanted to bring a micro farm-to-table eatery to Wilmington.
The Independence Mall space was previously home to De La Coeur Café et Pâtisserie and Chefs’ Haven Cafe. After the latter left, Irvin saw an opportunity to bring this restaurant concept to life. Recruiting Lhulier, a well-known Wilmington chef, and the Govatos, owners of Swigg Real Wine Craft Beer & Spirits, they created a team ready for success.
Lhulier says he never expected to be opening a restaurant now, especially after everything fine dining went through with the COVID-19 pandemic. But this team and the concept felt right.
“Now that we’re sort of over that hump, we kind of feel like we’re doubling down [on fine dining]. We’re going to make something really unique,” he says.
The food menu focuses on seasonal fare sourced locally. Lhulier follows the classic cooking style of making each dish component intentional and leaving off the unnecessary.
Current dishes include burrata and summer stone fruits, Green Circle Farms chicken breast and Berkshire Pork Porterhouse. The menu also includes a variety of steak options, fresh salads, charcuterie boards and a dessert menu.
The wine and beverage list is curated by David Govatos. He is also the owner of Swigg, which is now across from the restaurant in Independence Mall and was also a previous tenant of the Snuff Mill space. David says he wants the menu to work in tandem with the food menu, spotlighting “farm-to-glass” wineries.
There is also a specialty cocktails menu and an entire dessert cocktails menu dedicated to amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, and after-dinner wines.
“[Chef Lhulier] creates all the music, I put the lyrics,” David says.
Within its first week, the Snuff Mill team is already hearing positive praises about its concept. Irvin credits that to the intimate experience and offering a unique menu.
“It’s not going out to eat dinner, you’re going here because you want the experience,” Irvin says.
After cooking for a private club and then his own catering company, Lhulier is excited to bring his food back to the city of Wilmington for all.
“It feels good to be able to have people that I haven’t cooked for in a while or even the ones that I did cook for come in and sit down and be taken care of. It’s just really exciting,” Lhulier says.
Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar
1601 Concord Pike, Wilmington; 691-7149