Nino’s Pizza The popular cheese steak pizza lets American and mozzarella cheese go all bubbly and crisp with olive oil and thin strips of steak. The homemade dough—proofed for two days—is especially nice. (Wilmington, New Castle, Middletown, Bear, Smyrna)
Valle Cucina Specialty pies are named after the staff’s friends and families. The Marcus has blackened chicken, roasted peppers, bacon, provolone and a honey-mustard sauce. (4752 Limestone Road, Wilmington, 998-9999)
Grotto The Legendary Taste’s slightly less-legendary Baker’s Choice pie blends a double helping of Wisconsin cheeses, pepperoni, mushrooms, sweet peppers, sausage, onions and garlic into one delicious slice. (Locations statewide)
Pizza By Elizabeths Mushroom duxelles sauce gives the regal Queen its panache. Owner Betsy LeRoy tops it with chunks of roasted chicken and fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (4019 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 654-4478)
Half Full Half Full goes all next level with wild boar sausage and an assortment of exotic mushrooms. (113 W. Market St., Lewes, 645-8877)
Trevi Ristorante The Sinatra is topped with prosciutto di Parma, sweet Italian sausage, broccoli raab, light tomato sauce and mozzarella. The cherry wood-fueled oven makes it crisp and flavorful. (53 E. Glenwood Ave., Smyrna, 653-6800)
Margherita’s Pizza Huge, foldable slices in the tradition of New York. The Meat Lover’s pizza is loaded with ham, pepperoni, sausage, and golf ball-sized meatballs. (134 E. Main St., Newark, 368-4611)
Peace A Pizza About his store’s unique menu: “The range is pretty, um, deranged,” says manager Kris Ciuffetelli. The honey-lime chicken pizza mixes Mandarin oranges, mozzarella and cranberries with breaded chicken and honey-lime chutney. (44 E. Main St., Newark, 737-6766)
Page 2: Classic Burgers | Hot, Juicy, sometimes cheesy–’nuff said.
Hot, juicy, sometimes cheesy—’nuff said.
Family owned, 300-strong franchise Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Lewes, Bethany Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Wilmington, Hockessin, Bear) is Zagat rated and praised by old-school burger joint purists. A “regular” burger is a juicy double. Don’t get lost amid the peanuts.
Burgers and milkshakes are very necessary at Delaware classic Charcoal Pit (Wilmington, Pike Creek). The Pit Special isn’t especially complicated, just fresh meat ground daily and a charcoal flame. Try it with the homemade burger relish.
Eating at Jake’s Hamburgers (Bear, Claymont, Dover, Wilmington, New Castle, Newark) doesn’t feel right unless you’ve downed multiple juicy burgers, or, save that, one Jake Burger (two patties, 6.6 ounces total) or the Big Jake (three patties, 9.9 ounces). Don’t skimp on the bacon.
Cheeseburger in Paradise (40 Geoffrey Drive, Newark, 368-9008), Jimmy Buffet’s island getaway near the horrible traffic of Churchmans Crossing, does its Cheeseburger in Paradise Burger with choice chuck, American cheese, pickles, lettuce, red onion and tomato.
The gents at 2 Fat Guys American Grill (701 Ace Memorial Drive, Hockessin, 235-0333) would have their Man Cards revoked if they messed up burgers. Luckily, owners Jeff Cook and Tom Craft excel here with the signature 2 Fat Guys burger: two half-pounders stacked on Kaiser rolls with lettuce, pickles, tomato, red onions, American and Jack cheeses.
Irish Eyes (Rehoboth Beach, Milton) need not apply fancy alterations to the classic cheeseburger, but the French Onion burger sees freshly ground meat meeting caramelized onions and fragrant rosemary. Get it for $5.99 on Wednesday nights.
The first weekend in March, burger hounds in Lewes get their due when the landmark Dairy Queen (107 Savannah Road, Lewes, 645-9284) opens for the season. The top-selling double cheeseburger is loosely packed and fried on a flat grill. Eaters pack on the embellishments.
Kid Sheleen’s (1310 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 658-4600) uses Angus beef in its gargantuan 10-ounce burgers. Or downsize, figuratively, to the Whimpy Burger sliders seasoned with Montreal steak seasoning and topped with American cheese, fried onions and Kid’s special sauce.
Page 3: Good Dogs | Smothered in chili or secret sauce, we love ’em.
Smothered in chili or secret sauce, we love ’em.
Johnny’s Dog House (3401 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 477-1440) has created perhaps the messiest food of all time: the Delaware Destroyer. It’s a delirious combo of two hot dogs, a heap of macaroni and cheese, chili, hot sauce and onions. It’ll destroy your nice work shirt.
Brenda Rogers has been operating Brenda’s Hot Dog Haven (524 Terminal Ave., New Castle, 652-7170), a 16-foot lunch truck near the Port of Wilmington, for 22 years. The one-woman operation serves its Poor Man’s special—two grilled dogs, chips and a soda—with love, Rogers says.
Dover Dog Grille (1156 S. Bay Road, Dover, 734-9282) employs the pork-beef hybrid Sabrett Snap Dog from New York. The titular Dover Dog is topped with coleslaw, chili and shredded cheddar cheese. Get it with a fried pickle on the side.
Like its fast-food McBrethren, Deerhead Hot Dogs (Wilmington, Newark, Dewey Beach) is tight-lipped about its thick and spicy sauce. The Deerhead Everything is a split and grilled dog—or two—with mustard, diced onions and secret sauce on a steamed bun.
The landmark Doghouse (1200 N. Dupont Hwy., New Castle, 328-5380) splits Dietz & Watson dogs for its house special, which get topped with ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, onions and a “salad” of cabbage and lettuce.
Old school all the way is Jimmy John’s (1507 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, Pa., 610-459-3083), still teeming with train sets and still prepping those snappy old-fashioned frankfurters—as it has since 1940.
Page 4: Submarine Warfare | Capriotti’s or Casapulla’s? It’s one or the other…
Capriotti’s or Casapulla’s? It’s one or the other…
When it comes to Italian subs in Delaware, you are either a Capriotti’s person or a Casapulla’s person. “It’s like a sports team. Our food evokes emotion,” says Capriotti’s CEO Ashley Morris. “Our customers are emotional about our product and loyal to our brand. When you have a fantastic product, it creates a sense of our product because you feel like a part of it.”
Both shops have the state canvassed. Capriotti’s has 12 locations in all three counties. Casapulla’s has seven.
Just how different are the actual sandwiches? Let’s break it down:
Capriotti’s Italian combines Genoa salami, capicolla and prosciutini. The idea, Morris says, is to get some of each ingredient in each bite. A layer of provolone at the base of the construction acts as a sealant and protects the roll. A solid mass of veggies, including sweet peppers (upon request) provide a perfect crunch.
A Casapulla’s Italian begins with a fresh, slightly softer roll, then oil, then salami, lettuce, tomato and onion, pickles and peppers, salt and pepper, oregano, provolone, capicola and pepper ham (in that order). Everything gets topped with slices of salty, delicious prosciutto. Casapulla’s likes to gather ingredients from local outfits like B&M Meat in Wilmington.