Roughing it in the Western Hinterlands
The growing culture of dining here in the Cape Region has raised the bar for restaurants in nearby Delaware towns. So if you find yourself waxing peckish west of the water (and we all know how painful that can be), who y’gonna call?
Baywood Greens’ new head chef Ryan Cunningham (formerly of Bonz Steakhouse) is working his magic at the golf resort’s open-to-the-public Clubhouse on Rt. 24. Keep driving west and you’ll end up in Millsboro where Josh and Jess Wiggins dish up reasonably priced sandwiches, nicely prepared entrees, seafood, pastas, burgers, ribs and steamed shellfish at Blue Water Grill. Cross the street to Plate & Palette, serving Millsboro-friendly prices on kicked-up noshes that span from the kettle to the garden, from the wood-fired oven to handheld delights. And it all encircles the massive vault of the old Delaware Trust bank.
Dogfish Head’s landmark brewery kick-started an influx of culinary talent into Milton. Do not miss Mike Clampitt’s Po’Boys Creole & Fresh Catch! Mike’s New Orleans-flavored eatery is always crowded for lunch and dinner - and well worth the wait. Downtown at the corner of Federal and Union is Cantina Ultima, a carnivore’s haven if there ever was one. Next door is Kristin Latham’s Suburban Farmhouse where you can buy freshly baked cookies, those magic cruffins, pizza and crocheted pillows - all in one place. Just around the corner is the upbeat Milton location of Irish Eyes. Live music, friendly faces and fun events keep this place hoppin’.
Three gems in the Sussex County Seat of Georgetown are the Counting House restaurant in the historic Brick Hotel on the Circle, Patty’s carryout and JD Shuckers. Chef Bill Clifton and business partner Miguel Kaltreider keep the Counting House casual with live entertainment – on the roof, yet! - and a particularly cozy bar. Drive down S. Bedford St. past what will soon reopen as Revelation Craft Brewery and you’ll see Patty Jacobs’ tiny carryout. Cool salads are paired with breakfast and lunch sandwiches and what might be the best cookies – and lemon squares - this side of Rt. 113. Just west of that very same Rt. 113 on 404/9 is the westernmost location of JD Shuckers. Juicy steaks, fried seafood (including some of the best fried oysters around those parts) and big, cool and crispy salads keep this popular spot brightly lit.
Milford is only 20 minutes north, where you’ll find the wonderfully reliable Arena’s - ground-zero for delectable sandwiches, while over in the next block sits the dangerously delicious Dolce Bakery and coffee shop (hope they have the Philly Buttercake when you arrive!). Out on the highway, the Milford edition of La Tonalteca is consistently good – I love plopping at the huge bar. And yes, I WILL have another sangria, thank you. Zach King from Old Bay and Delaware Distilling has landed in Milford as EasySpeak. House-made spirits and consistent bar fare are the order of the day – and night.
Keep an eye on my upcoming columns here and in Cape Gazette where I will soon reveal a brand new addition to Milford’s eating scene! That should keep you busy and hungry for a while. Feel free to explore the western hinterlands for favorites of your own.