A New Harvest of Healthy Eateries in Downtown Wilmington

Harvest House Delaware - photo by Jill Althouse-Wood

Note to vegans and clean-eaters: two new, healthy dining options opened in July and are bookending downtown Wilmington with their vibrant, eat-your-colors menus.

You can find Harvest House, a fresh fare café operated under the Big Fish Grill Group, at 1204 Washington Street. Around the corner from Central YMCA, it is a choice post-workout breakfast spot. They also have online ordering and a parking lot behind their building for time-crunched individuals on their morning commute or workday lunch hour. Harvest House opens at 6:30am with an all-day breakfast menu that features smoothies, smoothie bowls, avocado toast, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Try the kale-fueled Green Power Smoothie or The Energizer with its double shot of espresso. Boost any smoothie with protein powder (vegan option available). Coffee lovers will rhapsodize (or tweet) about the organic, fare-traded, single origin coffees, roasted in nearby King of Prussia by Valerio Coffee Roasters.

I stopped by in the afternoon hours to sample some of the menu. Manager, Brittany Downes, helped me navigate the large selection of unique sandwiches, bowls, wraps, and salads. The Spicy Tuna Bowl with avocado, rice, vegetables, and the welcome crunch of wasabi peas was as beautiful to look at as it was fun to eat. I also sampled a bit of the vegan Harvest bowl, quinoa and crisp vegetables dressed lightly in a honey-lime jalapeno vinaigrette. Harvest House’s chef prides himself in the salad dressings. Unique flavors imbue classics such as in Smoked Tomato Ranch or Sweet Miso. All dressings are made fresh on the premises.

The menu holds some surprises. The Chicken Salad, featured in either sandwich or salad, delights with apples and toffee pecans. The Impossible Burger is a plant-based weapon of deceit—if ever you wanted to fool a carnivorous brother-in-law. But topped with avocado, tomato, and pickled onion, the burger treats the vegan diner to licit indulgence. And then there is the Peanut Butter & Jelly Grilled Cheese, but I will have to sneak back to try that one when I’m not as concerned with healthy choices—perhaps after a monster workout at the Y. Sandwiches and avocado toast are available on gluten-free bread with a 25-cent up-charge.

For the LOMA and Del Tech George Campus crowds, head to Eat Clean, full-service juice bar, at 225 N. Market Street. Owner Kamil Bass has a passion for clean eating and juicing after changing his diet ten years ago. This juice bar is his labor of love. Juices are made fresh on the premises and bottled. With all their colors, the bottles look more like the crown jewels sitting on display in the refrigerated case at the rear of the shop. Their taste and nutritional pedigree are just as impressive. I tried the Drink Carrots with the warming notes of ginger and turmeric. It was the perfect accompaniment to the Thai Chicken Salad, drizzled with a sweet Peanut, Ginger Dressing. EatClean serves breakfast starting at 7am and features smoothies. Matcha Green is a proven winner, though I opted for The Smooth Chocolate—which was decadent. I drank it as my dessert, but it would make a great, study-group pick-me-up. All smoothies are vegan with a base of almond milk and the option of vanilla or chocolate, plant-based protein or a host of other super-food add-ins, such as hemp seeds or goji berries. The Acai Bowl is also a favorite for the breakfast crowd.

Lunch brings wholesome salads and wraps to the forefront. In addition to the Thai chicken, choose from QuinoaShrimp, or The Chicken Fiesta—each available in salad or wrap form. Or dream up your own creation from the healthy ingredient options. Kamil has plans to launch a selection of soups for the fall, including vegan chili, and I, chili aficionado, have plans to come back to EatClean to have some.