Robert Ashby already owned three restaurants in Newark when he opened McGlynn’s Pub in Dover last October.
“With the state offices, businesses and four colleges in Kent County as well as leisure travelers going to and from the beach and New Castle County, and, of course, the local residents, U.S. 13 is always packed with potential customers,” Ashby says. “Dover combines the high activity level of a state capital with the feeling of a small town where the locals appreciate and support good businesses in their community.”
Dennis Forbes, the Delaware Restaurant Association’s 2009 chairman, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant in Dover. He attributes part of his restaurant’s success to the cultural and recreational activities that are attracting a growing number of leisure travelers to the county.
Forbes mentioned the slots at Dover Downs as well as the performances and activities offered by the Schwartz Center for the Arts.
DRA president and CEO Carrie Leishman agrees that Kent County offers great opportunity for independent restaurants, from casual to white tablecloth, as well as for regional and national brands.
Even established destinations such as Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino have launched new upscale on-site dining offerings. At Dover Downs, there’s the classic oyster house-themed Doc Magrogan’s. Harrington opened an intimate steak and seafood restaurant called Bonz.
“Research shows that dining in restaurants has become an increasingly important part of the travel experience for most people,” Leishman says.
Dony Singh, owner of Dover’s Flavor of India for the past four years, believes diners looking for interesting foods at value prices are turning to ethnic eateries. Kent County offers plenty of opportunities for internationally inclined diners to savor authentic flavors representing the cuisines of India, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Vietnam.
Page 2: Kent Country Restaurants | The following list of dining spots features a combination of local standards and new kids on the block.
The following list of dining spots features a combination of local standards and new kids on the block.
(Price ranges are for dinner entrées, unless otherwise noted.)
Bonz Restaurant & Lounge
U.S. 13, Harrington, 398-5348
Sizzling steaks, from bone-in filet to Wagyu strip, are showcased at this upscale dinner-only spot at Harrington Raceway & Casino. $22-$45
1570 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 678-0100
Steak is the specialty at this intimate restaurant located inside the Dover Sheraton. Choose your cut and they’ll cook it just the way you like it. Lunch and breakfast, too. Check average is $50.
Cool Springs Fish Bar & Restaurant
2463 S. State St., Dover, 678-1955
If you’re a shrimp lover, you can get it in a wide variety of ways, including grilled, roasted, perched on pasta, beer-battered, coconut-rolled and blackened. Craving beef? Go for the prime rib. Dinner only. $15-$22
Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
1131 Dupont Hwy., Dover, 857-3223
Part of Dover Down’s recently completed $50-plus million expansion, this Roaring ’20s-style eatery’s fresh raw-steamer seafood bar has already gained a loyal local following. “Buck-a-Shuck Mondays” are a real bargain. Sunday brunch, too. The check average is $20.
556 S. Dupont Hwy., Milford, 422-7530
Potato skins go upscale when topped with crab, scallops and shrimp. Coffee and other unusual rubs spice up Delmonico steaks and the new “Bail-Out” menu offers comfort classics such as meatloaf and country-fried steak for less than $10. Lunch, too. $8-$20
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
1131 Dupont Hwy., Dover, (800) 711- 5882
On the rocks has a whole different meaning at Michele’s, home of no-fat cooking over hot volcanic stones. Entrées range from meatloaf to surf and turf. Sunday Brunch, too.
Roma Italian Ristorante
3 President Drive, Dover, 678-1041
This is a Dover classic. Hand-pulled mozzarella, house-made ravioli, other specialty pastas and gelato set this family-owned establishment apart. If you’re in the mood for classic Italian, try any of the veal dishes. Lunch, too. $11-$24
825 Lighthouse Road, Smyrna, 653-6962
Using your trusty mallet to get at the sweet meat is part of the fun at this traditional crab house. Bring a friend and share a famous seafood, wing and sides “Pig Out” and wash it down with some Swampwater (a green rum-based drink). Lunch, too. Call for winter hours. $7.50-$20
Corner Eatery@33 West
33 W. Loockerman St., Dover, 735-9822
Breakfast and lunch weekdays, dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Regulars go for the no-filler crab cakes. $16.95-$20.95
Hall’s Family Restaurant
108 N. Railroad Ave., Wyoming, 697-7448
When was the last time you had a good salmon croquette or a heaping helping of chicken and dumplings or pork and sauerkraut? Homey fare equals happiness here. Lunch is under $10.
Iron Gate Restaurant
1151 Bay Road, Dover, 678-9666
Owner James LeBeau Sr. describes himself as a lifelong “seafood man” (find out why by ordering the big Broiled Shore Dinner), but his prime rib, available on weekends, has turned a lot of first-time customers into regulars. $20
9 E. Loockerman St., Dover, 741-2420
Every course has a signature dish from the creamy crab soup (or dip) to the Patriot Steak, a rib-eye topped with sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms finished with a brandy demi-glace. $11-$20
800 N. State St., Dover, 674-0144
Opened in October, this Cheers-like Irish pub on Silver Lake boasts 18 beers on tap, a big burger selection, including bison, ahi tuna and gourmet Kobe, corned beef and cabbage, Black and Bleu Steak and cedar-planked salmon. Lunch, too. $11-$17.95
Meding and Son Seafood
3697 Bay Road, Milford, 335-3944
You can’t miss the giant golden propeller (it’s from an aircraft carrier that saw action in World War II and Vietnam) that marks the spot for mom Anne Meding’s cream of she-crab soup, more than 10 preparations of crab and spicy Cajun-style jambalaya. Lunch, too. $15-$27
Front Street next to the Leipsic River
Newspapers replace tablecloths at this 50-plus-year-old Kent County dockside crabhouse, which is open April through November. The provided mallet and big roll of paper towels are all you need for a deliciously messy meal. Lunch, too. $10-$25
Shucker’s Pier 13
889 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 674-1190
Can’t choose between surf and turf? This colorful seafood-centric spot lets you design the duo of your dreams. $10-$25
99 S. Cory Lane, Smyrna, 653-9980
New location, same great food such as the popular homemade chicken and dumplings, soups and breakfast all day. Check average for lunch is $5-$7; $7-$10 for dinner. Weekend breakfast buffet is $7.99, dinner is $12.99.
W.T. Smithers Tavern
140 State St., Dover, 674-8875
Build your own burger or let the staff take your favorite sandwich fixings over the top. Prime rib is on the menu Friday and Saturday, premium steaks every day. $8 -$10 for burgers, $13.95-$26.95 for entrées
103 N. Dupont Hwy., Smyrna, 653-8047
Open since 1925, the inn’s signature Chicken Wayside is topped with mushrooms, peppers and provolone. Menu standards include the Chicken Crisfield stuffed with crab imperial, red and wine clam chowders, and 12 8-ounce burger varieties. $12.95-$18.95; $5 for lunch specials, $10 for dinner specials
Where Pigs Fly
617 Loockerman St., Dover, 678-0586
Southern-style, hickory-smoked baby back ribs and pulled pork can be ordered separately or in combinations with such whimsical names as “Hog Heaven” or a larger portion meal named for the restaurant. Don’t forget to include a side of Memphis fries. Lunch, too. $9.95-$15.95
Flavor of India
348 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 677-1021
Northern Indian cooking emphasizes flavor over fire. So don’t worry about tongue-singeing spices (unless you request them) when ordering specialties such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Chilly Chicken and any of the array of veggie dishes. $10.95-$12.95; $7.95 for lunch buffet, $10.95 for Tuesday and Sunday dinner buffet.
Hibachi Japanese Steak House
691 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 734-5900
Applause is appreciated as the chef turns Asian cooking into art and entertainment. The sushi is a major draw as well. Lunch, too. $16-$25
La Ortolana Ristorante
233 Old Camden Road, Camden, 698-1334
Everything’s made in-house here, from the pasta, sauces and soups to the pizza and stromboli crusts. Breakfast, too. $7.95-$10.95
528 S. Bay Road, Dover, 734-4575
245 S. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 735-1572
1000 Midway Drive, Harrington, 398-7644
Milford Plaza, Dupont Hwy., (Coming later this year)
Authentically Mexican, from the burritos, enchiladas and tortillas to the signature La Tolteca Parrillada (a sampler feast for two). Creative vegetarian offerings, too. $7.99-$27.99; $5.99 lunch specials
45 Greentree Drive, Dover, 678-1328
No canned vegetables or cornstarch-thickened sauces here. Just fresh versions of Japanese and Chinese delicacies. Sushi selections range from the spicy Hot Lover Roll with wasabi-spiked mustard sauce to the sweet Golden Roll with mango.
53 Glenwood Ave., Smyrna, 653-6800
Wood-fired brick oven pizza creations, many named for Italian celebs past and present. Think Sinatra and Pavarotti. If you’re feeling artistic, design your own. Lunch and dinner. $9.99-$13.99; sandwiches and platters $4.99-$8.99
510 Jeffrey Blvd., Dover, 744-9300
One of the most popular items is Banh Xeo, but you can call them Asian crepes wrapped around a filling of shrimp, bean sprouts, green onion and chicken or pork. The rice paper-wrapped spring rolls are fresh, not fried. Lunch, too. $9-$17