The Riff: Jimmy’s Grille
We were on a quest for a couch.
Not just any couch. It had to be a sectional sofa with loaded recliners, optional cup-holders and pet-hair deflection capabilities. And at a good price, gosh darn it. Unsatisfied with the selection at our local furniture outlets, my wife and I hit the road last weekend and pointed our compass toward Johnny Janosik in Laurel.
We pierced through Rt. 13 past Dover, Felton, Harrington, Greenwood, Farmington, Bridgeville, and so forth. (It was also the morning after the Hold Steady invaded Mojo 13, and suffice it to say, I wasn’t in the greatest of shape.)
As we made our way through Kent and central Sussex, we spotted many a Hardee’s, sketchy motels, and a billboard for, um, Jesus. But one landmark stood out, one promising crispy fried chicken and lemon pies as big as satellite dishes.
This was Jimmy’s Grille in Bridgeville. We made a pit stop.
This was also 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday. We thought we’d miss the lunch crowd. We were wrong. Jimmy’s was packed; line-outside-the-door packed. “Church crowd,” our waitress said later. While we waited, we took a moment to admire the Cupcake Wall of Fame.
Still can’t believe Pete’s Vanilla Swirl made the Wall. Everybody knows that cupcake was juicing. At any rate, we finally sat down and ordered some of Jimmy’s famous home-cookin’.
If you’re a regular patron of Jimmy’s Grille, I might have some concerns about your gravy levels. The kitchen’s version of country-fried chicken came smothered in classic white-pepper gravy, as did the accompanying smashed potatoes. The coleslaw received a thumbs up from my wife—a coleslaw connoisseur. We also got a combo dish of Jimmy’s famous fried chicken and slow-cooked ribs, which sadly didn’t last long enough to be photographed. The chicken lived up to its billing: amazingly crisp and salty in all the right places with tender, juicy meat. Ribs were marshmallow-soft (maybe a little too soft—I like mine with a bit more bite) and coated in a light and tangy barbecue sauce.
Two things that Jimmy’s certainly does right are portion size and price. We ate a lot. We took home a lot. But we couldn’t pass up Jimmy’s homemade dessert, even if it meant taking it to-go. After staring and drooling at the tantalizing dessert case, we settled on some pumpkin pie for the road. It made for a nice reward after the long drive home.
Free beer: Here at the Dining Insider, we believe in sharing. The fine folks at Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant have provided us with some $10 gift cards, which we will be passing along to some brainy beerheads (or good Google-rs) who can answer a little Iron Hill trivia.
Winning is simple. The first person that emails me the correct answer will receive a $10 Iron Hill gift card, redeemable at any of its eight locations, and expiring at the end of the year.
We’ll kick off this week with an easy one.
Q: Name the five Iron Hill house beers.
Send your answer to email@example.com, and keep checking back for more chances to win. Do not leave your answer in the comments section.
We have a winner! Nicole Zapert of Bear was the first person to buzz in with the correct answer. Here’s a raspberry wheat beer on me, Nicole.
Many thanks to all who emailed in. Check back next week for another chance to win.
Tuesday, October 19: Soffritto Italian Grill, recent Best of Delaware winners and purveyors of fine coastal Italian cuisine, welcomes a special guest into its kitchen this week.
Sergio Grasso is a renowned food anthropologist, writer and TV chef, famous in his native Italy. Expect some fine wines and authentico Italian cuisine when the expert does his thing.
Grasso will perform a cooking demonstration followed by a wine and food tasting.
Here’s a gander at the menu:
Crostini di polenta.
Bruschette di Pistoccu.
Pane Carasatu Guttiau.
Insalata di mare con olio aromatizzato al limone
Cappesante in mantello alla Sambuca Romana
Gamberoni con polpa di granchio e crema di burro al limone
Ravioli sardi al formaggio con burro e salvia
Strozzapreti Latini alla carbonara
Fileja al ragu bolognese
Cuore morbido di cioccolato
Modigliantica (dolce tradizionale Romagnolo)
Assortimento di dolci tradizionali di Sardegna
And your wines for the evening include:
Cantina Catabbo: Tintilia (Molise)
Cantina Catabbo: Molise Rosso (Molise)
Sella & Mosca: Vermentino Terre Bianche (Sardegna)
Moscato di Asti (Piemonte)
Cantina Braschi Tenuta del Gelso: Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore “Il Gelso” (Emilia-Romagna)
Cost for the dinner is $65 (inclusive), and start time is set for 6 p.m. Call 455-1101 to reserve your spot.
A taste: Surely you’ve heard by now, but the stately Columbus Inn is back in business and better than ever. I reviewed the restaurant, whose kitchen is under the leadership of chef Chris D’Ambro, for the November issue of Delaware Today.
D’Ambro is a young, talented and thoroughly modern chef. I was curious how he, along with owners Louis Capano and Associates, and their team of designers and managers, would reconcile the look and traditions of “old” Columbus Inn with this new incarnation. Here’s what I wrote:
“Perhaps miraculously, after all that, the Columbus Inn still feels special, still feels important. The new owners shot for a compromise between Old Columbus Inn and New Columbus Inn, and it works. At its best, Columbus Inn strikes a remarkable balance between classic and modern. This is the Columbus Inn of the 21st century: contemporary and sleek with all of its signature brawn intact. The U-shaped bar remains untouched, and even some of the new features—a stone entrance, the (slightly brighter) dark wooden walls, the expensive whiskeys—have a stoic feel. Need more proof? There’s Old School Onion Soup on the lunch menu, and New School Onion Soup on the dinner menu.”
Read the rest here.