Chicken, scrapple and Dogfish Head beer. While we do lay claim to those staunchly Delawarean points of pride, what many (our own residents included) may not understand is that Delaware has more to offer the palate than just breakfast meat and booze.
Enter the newly released Delaware Culinary Trail, a gastronomic guide to the best and most iconic dining spots in each county that, for one reason or another, have been selected as an essential destination for hungry tourists and residents alike. From Charcoal Pit to Striper Bites and Sambo’s Tavern in between, these 24 eateries represent Delaware’s palate, history and culture through and through.
In a recent press release from the Delaware Tourism Office, tourism director Linda Parkowski says that the most challenging part of creating the trail was paring down the list to just 24 stops, but those that made the cut are not only local standouts, they also stand up to restaurants outside the state as well. “It’s real people making real food, from local favorites like crabs, scrapple and signature pizza to dishes at fine-dining establishments on par with those found in nearby big cities.”
While Delaware may be known as a corporate hub in New Castle County, the state’s small businesses comprise the real personality of Delaware, and the numbers don’t lie: According to the National restaurant Association, Delaware’s restaurants were projected to register $1.6 billion in sales in 2012. “Most restaurants are small businesses, and small businesses form the backbone of Delaware’s economy—a backbone that Gov. Jack Markell plans to strengthen during his second term,” says Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.
And with eight stellar spots in each county, there’s no shortage of three square meals (plus dessert) to enjoy. Unlike specific dining guides tailored to one atmosphere or another, this list runs the gamut from sandwiches, diners and pizza spots to the thoroughly sophisticated Green Room of the Hotel du Pont, Nage and other special-occasion destinations.
As a bonus, travelers who complete the Delaware Culinary Trail will receive the limited-edition cookbook First State Plates: Iconic Delaware Restaurants and Recipes, which features a collection of recipes from Delaware’s most well known restaurants like Walter’s Steakhouse, Abbott’s Grill and Big Fish Grill, to name just a few. For more information on the Delaware Culinary Trail and details about how to receive First State Plates, visit visitdelaware.com/culinary. For information on each restaurant, click here.