103 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington, 429-2587; Catering orders: 527 Vandever Ave., Wilmington, 658-1803, waltschickende.com
Thirty-six years into the story, Walt’s continues to write the book on Delaware soul food.
From its origins as a Vandever Avenue ice cream parlor called Idett’s—opened in 1973 by founders Harry Sheppard and Walter Samuels—to the development of its world-conquering, pressure-fried chicken recipe, Walt’s gained legions of devoted customers and legendary status in the region. Walt’s is as synonymous with chicken as Grotto is with pizza.
Larry Fletcher, who joined the Walt’s team in 1990 and opened the Lincoln Street location in 2003, says it all comes back to the quality and consistency of Walt’s food. The chicken recipe is held under tight lock and key, though Fletcher does concede it includes a critical marinating process. Famous for its creamy mac and cheese and smoky collard greens, Walt’s recently added chicken and waffles and chicken and dumplings to its repertoire.