Bryan Sikora, the chef/owner of the La Fia and Cocina Lolo in Wilmington, saw a need for a place in the neighborhood where diners could go before or after dinner. “We always wanted a bigger bar in La Fia,” he says. “But there wasn’t room.”
Now, he and his wife, Andrea, are opening The Merchant Bar across the street from their bistro on Market Street. They’re hoping to unveil their newest venture the week after Christmas. “It’s such a fun time,” Sikora says. “Families are home. People are back from school.” He is hoping to throw a party there on New Year’s Eve, too.
While there will be beers and even wines on tap and a full bar with craft cocktails, there will also be food. “It’s not light fare,” Sikora stresses. “You will also be able to get a meal.” The global fusion menu plays on the city’s days as a center for merchants with access to the Christina River. “It was a global time to travel,” Sikora says. While he is still formulating the menu, he envisions a section of small plates marked according to prices like $5, $8, etc.
He also will have an à la carte section with larger plates that will feature items like a filet mignon sandwich with a lobster tail on it, fries with dipping sauces and a cheese fondue with pickles and other condiments. He’s really excited about the purchase of a steam-injected smoker—not like a smoker at a barbecue shack, he says—to create new dishes.
Diners will also find house-made salamis and sausages and cheeses on the menu. The restaurant will seat 50 at tables and 25 at the bar. Says Sikora: “It’s designed to be a little bit more social and festive.”