Dining in Downtown Delaware

December 15, 2020

Like, many places we love to visit, Delaware presents us with a familiar dilemma: do we try new places this time or return to our old favorites?

Well, we had the opportunity to do both last weekend when Destination Delaware invited us up for a little holiday dining and local shopping on a warm Friday night.

We’ve always loved Delaware’s downtown, with its collection of well-preserved historic buildings and shops, bars, restaurants, a movie theatre, and more. And of course these small downtowns look all the more warm and welcoming with holiday lights.

We collected a couple small meals for carryout, either to take home or eat on a patio. Delaware features a nice mix of long-running restaurants like Bun’s Restaurant or the Hamburger Inn Diner, as well as newer ones like Greek dishes (and a huge whiskey selection!) at Opa Grill & Tavern, pub fare at Restoration Brew Worx, pizza at Amato’s.

First stop was Old Dog Dog Alehouse & Brewery, a relatively newer addition to the neighborhood. We ordered up a charcuterie board, giant soft pretzel, and tempura buffalo cauliflower to go. When I stepped up to the bar to pick up our food, I noticed a cooler with a half dozen house beers, so I grabbed bottles of Snake Eater amber ale and Rosa’s Haze IPA.

I was craving a burger, too, so we stepped across the street to Son of Thuman, a branch of the popular Thurman Cafe in German Village. The pub has the same heavily-decorated feel of the original; I walked out with a classic Thurman Burger, corn dogs, and fries.

We took our carryout to the patio of Staas Brewing, our favorite brewery in central Ohio. It’s a family-owned corner pub that brews in small, all-grain batches. Liz and Donald nail every style they brew. They built out a back patio and added heaters to accommodate guests during COVID-times.

The Thurman Burger is as big as I remember it. And it’s barely half the size of their famous Thurminator.

We ordered up pints of Staas’ Flying Fat Man Christmas ale and Evangelist Belgian quad while we dug into dinner. The Sons of Dekker helped take on the Son of Thuman.

After dinner we strolled the streets, admiring the many patios (some of which have enclosures for warm, safe dining) and poking our heads in a few shops like our favorite Beanbag Books. We also spotted Santa on a motorized bike.

For a sweet treat, we stopped into Coffeeology, a spacious coffee shop, gallery, and handmade goods store. We left with their Instagram-worthy toasted marshmallow mocha.

But just one dessert won’t do! We also snuck into Ciao Cafe, a corner store lined with windows that features coffee, pastries, donuts, smoothies, paninis, and – the main event – homemade gelato. We tasted gelato flavors like tiramisu, buckeye, birthday cake, and peppermint.

On the way out of town, we stopped by two favorites, 1808 American Bistro and Speck Italian Eatery. The two are owned by Josh Dalton, who also runs Veritas in downtown Columbus. (Veritas actually started in the Speck space, and Speck was just announced to be moving to downtown Columbus as well.)

Speck features modern Italian dishes. We had a fantastic meal there pre-COVID. This time around we opted for corn fritters and the speck + burrata.

Likewise, 1808 is offering dine-in and carryout, and has a few enclosed tables for safe outdoor dining. We’ve never had a bad dish from 1808. Their offerings include sophisticated but approachable takes on classic pub dishes: think the best versions of wings, brussels sprouts, burgers, risotto, pasta.

And there you have it! This time we managed to try both new places and old favorites. And like any good trip, we left with a long list of places to try when we return. Thanks to Destination Delaware for hosting us!

BONUS STOP!

As we left Delaware, we detoured just a little ways east off Route 23 to the Lights of Glenross, a collection of 250+ homes in a subdivision with massive amounts of Christmas lights all coordinated to music. It’s free and a fun diversion with the family, especially if you’re a fan of Christmas lights like me.

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Destination Delaware. Photos and opinions are our one.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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