Spend the summer with us to stay on top of latest Delaware dining and drink news

Patricia Talorico
Delaware News Journal

Let's get real: Even really good cooks are tired of home cooking. 

While each week we share coverage of the First State's eats scene through our Delaware Eats newsletter, this summer, as state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions have finally been lifted, we plan to double-down on our local dining/drink coverage.

This list, updated as often as possible, will focus on the dining scene as it rebounds including restaurant closings, new openings and continued changes.

We'll take you into kitchens, dining rooms and behind bars up and down the state to share the latest and greatest trends or dishes that are heating up the season. 

Stay tuned and check back as we add more information.

Patricia Talorico

Striper Bites in Lewes has dishes like seafood pappardelle. The restaurant was sold to the Big Fish Restaurant Group.

A touch of Delaware

Delaware couple buys California olive farm online, plan to bottle gourmet olive oil: The Delaware owners of Bouchaine Vineyards in California have bought an olive farm nearby their winery and now are producing high-end extra virgin olive oil. It's called Tsarina, a nod to owner Tatiana Copeland's Russian heritage.

Where to go 

Hockessin cafe owner keeps dream going after partner injured in a serious car accident: Brunch and More had to readjust its hours as one of the owners recovers, but the operation is still going steady.

Taking it to the street: Sidewalk dining and alfresco pop-up restaurants on tap: One good thing that came out of the pandemic was the abundance of outdoor dining options. In 2020 and 2021, BYOB – bring your own blanket – had a whole new meaning

Take the cannoli: St. Anthony's Italian Festival returns in June for takeout only: The Italian Fest was awash in 2020. It's back this year, well, kind of. You gotta take your panzarotti to-go, but, at least, this year, there's panzarotti.

Beach bars, restaurants ready for season: Jam session. At the Bottle & Cork. It's a Delaware summer tradition. Need we say more?

New Haunt: Kennett Square tavern serves food, drink and ghosts: How about a cup of mushroom soup, a lobster roll and a side of scary? Is a ghost really haunting Letty's or are things that go bump in the night just tipsy guests?

Al fresco wine tastings have been held in the parking lot of Frank's Wine off Union Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilmington for about a year.

Frank's Wine hosts parking lot tastings, food trucks: Frank Pagliaro solved one dilemma: How to still host tastings while social distancing. He set up tables in his parking lot, brought in bands and food trucks and now has a thriving party setting.

Don't turn up your snout: Scrapple Trail celebrates love-it or loathe-it breakfast meat: Don't yuck on this regional yum. People who love scrapple, really love scrapple. This group celebrates the meat made with everything but the oink.

Splurge is the word: Hashbrowns, doughnuts are hot at Wilmington diner: Don't count calories at Goober's Diner in Wilmington. Enjoy the potatoes and the fried dough. 

Playa Bowls to open Dewey Beach takeout location: Popular acai bowls will be sold in the old T-Shirt shop off the end of the popular Bottle & Cork concert venue. Seriously.

10 great places to score a cheesesteak in Delaware: We compiled a list of 10 places you can score a cheesesteak in Delaware, with at least one in each county.

Grotto Pizza in Millsboro features a "backyard" concept.

Grotto Pizza Millsboro opens with 'backyard' dining area: The new restaurant features a "backyard" concept, where patrons can dine outdoors around a fire pit.

First State Brewing Co., sleek brewery and brewpub, opens in Middletown: Paul Hester's 11,088-square-foot production brewery and brewpub in Middletown is one of the biggest in the state.

Dunkin' opens drive-thru only store near New Castle in line with pandemic trends: Dunkin' says this "next generation design" follows an industry shift toward convenience-focused formats like curbside pickup.

Coming to Delaware

Three dining concepts part of boutique hotel proposal: The site at 519 N. Market St. will have a rooftop lounge and event venue, a ground-floor restaurant and a lower-level cocktail lounge.

New Burger King, Popeyes planned near Elsmere: The Burger King at 300 S. Maryland Ave. will be replaced by a Burger King about 80% the size of the existing building. 

Stand-alone restaurant coming to Walmart in Camden:  McDonald's inside the Camden Walmart closed March 31, with the intention to build a modernized stand-alone restaurant later this year.

Another Matt's Fish Camp opening this summer on Fenwick Island:  The seafood restaurant from the SoDel Concepts group will open at the site of the former Ropewalk Fenwick Island at 700 Coastal Highway (Route 1).

A rendering of the new Matt's Fish Camp coming to Fenwick Island.

Big Fish buys two iconic Lewes restaurants, opening new sites in Wilmington and South Bethany Beach: Big Fish Restaurant Group has acquired 2nd Street Tavern and Striper Bites in Lewes, has a Tex-Mex restaurant coming to Wilmington Riverfront and a Jewish deli in South Bethany.

SoDel Concepts plans brewpub for 2022: Ocean View Brewing Co. will be built at Route 26 and Woodland Avenue in Ocean View.

Chick-fil-A planning another new location, 2 others opening this year: New sites include the old Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder facility on Ogletown Road, the Prices Corner shopping center on Kirkwood Highway and on Route 40 near New Castle.

Popeyes to take place of Melt Shop in Christiana Mall food court: Step aside grilled cheese, crunchy fried chicken is taking your place.

From car lot to coffeehouse: Starbucks to build Smyrna location: The business will have an entrance at 1350 S. Du Pont Blvd. and an entrance and exit on Jimmy Drive in the Simon's Corner shopping center near Hardee's.

Other drink & dining news 

Dolle's, unofficial candy of Biden White House, hopes for sweet season in new location: Want to know what's happening with the famous Dolle's sign and the business? Keep reading.

Kristen Jackson Bowen, who owned the now-closed Wilmington vegan restaurant V-Trap, made about 50 version of this plant-based cheesesteak for actress Kate Winslet to eat in the HBO series "Mare of Easttown." Bowen used vegan cheese, Impossible Burger meat and Amoroso rolls.

Outdoor dining, to-go booze among things we want to hang onto post-pandemic: Takeout booze will be with us until at least March 31, 2022. But it could be extended or become the norm in time if there's enough support? 

As rules relax, are crowded Delaware beach bars back? Popular spots like The Starboard in Dewey Beach already are starting to see lines wrap around the building on weekends.

Philly-style cheesesteak wit Wiz on HBO is a vegan jawn made in Delaware: Do you think Mare is pairing this sandwich with a glass of wooder?

Chicken sandwich wars, COVID-19 key factors in wing shortage: It's not your imagination. Wings are costing more than ever before. Here's why.

The sign outside of Casapulla's Subs & Steaks in Elsmere.

Here's a sneak peek at Dogfish Miami: Will Smith called Miami "the city that keeps the roof blazin.': and Delaware's own Dogfish Head is blazing new territory with this joint.

New bourbon brand has Wilmington roots, preacher's son is behind it: after a career as a chef, Daniel Bullock, son of the Rev. Christopher Bullock, has now launched his own bourbon brand, Bull Young Bourbon.

Casapulla's Subs started in the 1950s, and family has worked there the whole time: The flagship Elsmere location started a lasting Delaware sandwich empire.

Contact Patricia Talorico at (302) 324-2861 or ptalorico@delawareonline.com and on Twitter @pattytalorico