The Quoin. Photo by Matthew Williams.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden recently enjoyed a bite at The Quoin, Wilmington’s new boutique hotel and restaurant.
The Bidens haven’t been strangers to Delaware since taking office in January 2021. The family has continued to enjoy stays at their Greenville and Rehoboth Beach homes, and has been seen at Catholic parishes and the Fieldstone Golf Club. They rarely, however, enjoy a meal at a Delaware restaurant. The last time was for New Year’s Eve 2021, at Bank’s Seafood Kitchen in Wilmington.
On Saturday, March 18, the Bidens enjoyed another Delaware meal, this time at The Quoin, a trendy new eatery with upscale fare and Delaware’s only rooftop lounge.
The staff at The Quoin got a call late in the afternoon about the president’s planned visit, a welcome surprise for the Market Street newcomer.
“Having the president and his entourage dine with us on a Saturday night at the height of service did require some juggling within just a few hours, but we pulled it off nicely,” Tom Austin, general manager of food and beverage at The Quoin, told Delaware Business Times.
As always, the Bidens were “congenial upon arrival,” taking a few moments to mingle throughout the busy dining room and stopping to shake some hands and take selfies, Austin added.
With a menu that melds Southern French and Northern Italian influences with a modern flare, The Quoin was the perfect place for the Bidens to enjoy what was reportedly a light meal.
They tried popovers to start. The Quoin’s menu boasts five savory popover options: duxelle, steak tartare, pan-seared foie gras, ossetra caviar and prosciutto. The buttery, eggy pastries are a popular choice for diners at The Quoin.
Along with the popovers, the Bidens enjoyed Hamachi crudo and beet salad. To finish their meal, the couple sampled the Quoin’s Meyer lemon tart with blueberry jam, basil sorbet and toasted meringue.
“It created quite the buzz for our Saturday night diners,” Austin notes of the first couple’s outing at the Wilmington restaurant.
After dinner, they took a quick tour of the hotel, including visiting the Simmer Down cocktail bar in the Quoin’s basement. The cocktail bar is in what was once “The Money Room.” Now, bartenders mix up classic cocktails in a high-class atmosphere. On the wall, a mural by Philadelphia-based artist Reverend Michael Alan includes a tiny Joe Biden sporting his signature aviator sunglasses.
“President Biden was able to see his portrait on the mural and got quite a kick out of the likeness and had a nice chat in front of it with those around,” Austin adds.
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Before their departure, the couple had to make a quick trip to Delaware’s only rooftop bar and lounge, where they again surprised guests, took pictures and greeted the staff.
“We are beyond honored to have the Bidens join us in the dining room. It was a treat for our guests, our chef and kitchen team to cook for them, and our service staff to do their job so well in their presence. It certainly created a buzz for those present that evening and gives our team a feather in their cap that not many can say. It was a wonderful experience that went extremely smoothly thanks to teamwork by all,” Austin says.
Randall Cook, CEO and co-founder of Method Co., says he was happy that their property could give the first couple a bit of a respite.
“One of the great joys of a long and happy marriage is a date night out on the town. This was definitely one of the ideas we had in mind when we developed the concept for The Quoin. It was truly wonderful to see the president and first lady enjoying a Saturday night out together, and we hope it was a nice relaxing night out for them,” he says.
The Bidens may have only enjoyed a couple of meals in Delaware since taking office, but the appearance may be a good sign for other Delaware eateries.
“Although Delaware restaurants are already known to treat diners with gracious hospitality, it is exciting to see the president and first lady stepping out to explore what is new and hip in Wilmington. Delaware’s dining scene is every bit as dynamic as most larger cities, and no doubt the couple had a fantastic experience at the Quoin last weekend,” says Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association.