Dining with History
5812 Kennett Pk., Wilmington
302-656-9776 / BuckleysTavern.com
Dating back to 1817, the building on historic Route 52 once housed a taproom and an ice cream store. Later, as a tavern, Buckley’s hosted local gentry—du Ponts, Frolic Weymouth and friends from local Chateau Country. In 2012, Chef Tom Hannum, former executive chef at the Hotel DuPont, along with Vance V. Kershner and Coley du Pont took on this legacy restaurant. Despite its heritage, Buckley’s is a relaxed, friendly place, serving comfort cuisine. Try the mac ‘n’ cheese, tobacco onions, burger, crab cakes, or meatloaf—in two dining rooms, bars and outdoor grill. We look forward to the return of their pajama brunch and other signs of more normal times.
2216 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington
302-571-1492 / ColumbusInn.net
The Columbus Inn began as a bakery in 1798, then became a tavern in 1812. A bar through the 1950s—basically a dive bar with notable visitors (Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley)—its fare became more elegant in the ‘50s when Wally Senza, a famous golfer, took it over. Under current owner, Chef Ross Essner, the Inn has thrived and became a landmark. It’s brunch are favorites—Philly Omelette or Eggs Chesapeake. Its Shellfish Cobb, off the regular menu, is a feast. And the long list of beers, wines, liquors and cocktails will also make your heart warm, like the Christmas Eve cocktails to-go menu featuring Red Rudolf sangria and cranberry-ginger mules.
114 Delaware St., New Castle
302-322-6111 / Jessops-Tavern.com
Before Philadelphia, before Wilmington, there was a settlement called Fort Casmir, later renamed New Castle. In Historic New Castle, the building that today houses Jessop’s Tavern is over three centuries old, named after Abraham Jessop who ran a barrel-making business. In 1996, the Day Family, seeking to reproduce the colonial atmosphere, began a tavern featuring period fare—English, Dutch, Belgian and Swedish dishes. You can start with Halve Maen Mossels, continue with Fricken Chicassee, and finish with Oli Bolen Apple Cakes. And you might drown it with so many different kinds of Belgian, German or American beer—Nitro Hot Cocoa Imperial milk stout anyone? A step back in history with beers of today.
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