Worth Trying: Winter 2024

Take the chill off by getting out and about to experience these staff suggestions.

Snow Geese Sighting at Prime Hook Refuge

One of my favorite winter activities is to track down migrating snow geese as they make their way through Delaware. Recent years have had as many as 50,000 snow geese who often visit Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge farther to the north. The sight of snow geese in such large groups is breathtaking. Picture a vast, snowy landscape filled with graceful, white wings. The sound they create is even more mesmerizing — a rumbling symphony of honks echoing through the air as they move in unison. It’s nature’s own winter spectacle.

— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer

Tasting Menu at Bardea Steak

Bardea Steak in Wilmington recently unveiled a new Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring the flavors of the Market Street restaurant and its sibling, Bardea Food & Drink. Mini lobster tacos, venison, an oyster with lychee foam and Holstein steak with smoked red cabbage and guava bearnaise sauce were a few things on the menu when we visited. The price is $150 per person. Add $75 for a wine tasting.

 — Pam George, Contributing Writer

Sweet Treats in Greenville

Nothing brightens the winter blahs like a sweet treat — especially when it’s made locally and with passion. You’ll get a fresh dose of sweetness at Cupkates Bakery, a one-of-a kind eat-in bakery and boutique in Greenville. Owner/operator Kate Singley creates and bakes all of her delicious cupcake and cookie creations and sells them right alongside a bustling array of fun bags, tees, sweatshirts, hair accessories, and whimsical home decor. (Note: The color pink is a prevalent theme.) In addition to cupcakes, Kate also creates cleverly designed and artfully executed cookies and cakes, available on the spot or for special order. She’ll collaborate with you to create anything you need for a custom one-of-a-kind birthday cake or custom dessert for a special event.

— Mary Ellen Mitchell, Contributing Writer

New BBQ (and More) in Brandywine Hundred

If you’re looking for sweet and savory, 322 BBQ and Butcher might be the place for you. The three-store chain recently opened its first restaurant in Delaware, located in the Plaza III shopping center off Marsh Road in Brandywine Hundred — it also has locations in New Jersey, in Mullica Hill and Swedesboro. The barbecue includes familiar standards such as brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, smoked sausage and smoked salmon, sold as individual meals or in combos. The butcher has all cuts of steak, as well as chicken breast, ground beef and smoked bacon. And even though the barbecue and butcher shop are the main attractions, 322 BBQ also serves a slamming breakfast, including eclectic omelets and tasty twists on pancakes and French toast, as well as various breakfast sandwiches. It also sells an assortment of donuts that go well beyond the typical glazed and powdered varieties, such as strawberries and cream, blueberry streusel, banana brule’ and Fruity Pebbles.

— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer

Bar Reverie Hand & Soap

The newest Greenville hotspot boasts an impressive cocktail menu, energetic vibe, and funky chic decor (have you seen the bathrooms?) — but also a captivating signature scent that diffuses throughout the space. And now, you can have it at home! Grab your very own bottle of Bar Reverie Hand & Body Lotion or Hand Soap — made exclusively for them by nearby Houppette — now available at the restaurant for $36. I can’t quite put my finger on the combination of scents, but they’re delightful.

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

Pro Hoops in Wilmington

There is a lot to be said for experiencing a Philadelphia 76ers game in person. But attending a game is expensive and the logistics challenges (I-95 traffic, parking, concession costs) can be daunting. So, why not give their G league affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, a try? A night at the Blue Coats offers an affordable alternative and I’m confident you’ll be impressed with the talent on display (current Sixers Paul Reed and Jaden Springer were hooping it up at the Chase Fieldhouse not so many months ago). Parking is free and you can get a good seat for $16.

— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Fresh, Delicious Takeout in N. Wilmington

Taking the stress and mess out of meal planning since 2007, GoodEase Take and Bake offers an extensive menu of freshly prepared meals, sandwiches, wraps, salads, appetizers, sides, and delectable desserts.

Located in the Talleyville Center, 3619 Silverside Rd., GoodEase is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Seating is limited, but it’s a popular lunch spot. Catering is available with 24 hours’ notice.

— Bob Yearick, Associate Editor

The Cozy Vibes of Scout Café

 If you love coffee, historic restorations, and amazing food, you have to give Scout Cafe in Wilmington a try. Opened in 2022, this former office building got a monochromatic makeover and is now the new neighborhood staple at the corner of Baynard Boulevard and N. Van Buren Street. Much like your coolest college friend’s new apartment, it is sophisticated but in the most welcoming way, instantly becoming your favorite place to hang out. Bring your laptop, a good book, or a great friend and spend some time in their corner window seat, unwinding with some artisanal coffee and a delicious dish. My personal favorite is the haloumi cheese sandwich … truly next level!

— Catherine Kempista, Contributing Writer

Don’t Teeter in ’24

What’s the hardest part about staying healthy for me? Staying consistent and finding the right facility to meet my style and needs. If you’ve tried everything (or everywhere), I recommend a local family-owned- and-operated gym right here in Wilmington. Balance Strength and Fitness Center makes me feel right at home every time I walk through the doors. From cardio machines, heavy iron, circuit machines, power racks and 50 feet of grass turf — I’m never waiting and I always leave satisfied and sweaty.

— Matt Loeb, Art Director

Three Delicious Veggie Sandwiches

Known for their plant-based dishes, Green Box Kitchen, on 4th and Market in Wilmington, has hit it out of the park with their flavorful Protein Veggie Wrap ($13), stuffed with quinoa, kale, roasted chickpeas and mushrooms, plus other naturally good stuff. 

Just five blocks up Market, Stitch House Brewery offers a Wild Mushroom Cheese Steak ($16), which comes with beer onions, Cooper sharp, and parsley aioli on a hoagie roll. Healthy, yet somehow feels naughty. 

Lastly, on the Riverfront, is the Vsteak Sandwich ($15), which you (hopefully) will find at Drop Squad Kitchen. In December, they were hosting a GoFundMe campaign to stay open. Their homemade and heavenly Vsteak is something even the most devout Philly cheesesteak should try at least once — and reason enough for the Squad to have another chance this year.

— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Tasty Stop at Hell’s Belles Bake Shop

Looking for a delish and a bit off-the-beaten-path spot for quick lunch and coffee? I’ve got one for you. Hell’s Belles Bake Shop on Union Street is a bright cozy spot where they not only offer a bevy of bagels, cookies, pastries, and babka (of the chocolate and cinnamon variety), they also offer flaky, warm, delicious hand pies that are light, crunchy, savory bites of flavors like ham & cheese. They change ingredients daily, so there’s always something new to try. But they’re perfect for a brief lunch stop or midday snack.

— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer

The Brandywine Offers a Creative Twist

Wilmington’s fine dining renaissance continues with a new effort from the creative team behind North Wilmington’s acclaimed Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar. Located beside Santa Fe below the luxury apartments at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, The Brandywine Restaurant brings its own twist to classic Continental fare with ambiance that’s both glamorous and cozy. 

If the full brassiere experience delivered by Chef Andrew Cini is beyond your budget (but bear it in mind for a special occasion), the elegant bar has a cocktail list to die for with drinks both classic and innovative. Pairing “The Fog” (a delicious concoction featuring Lady Grey-infused Pinhook Bourbon, Italicus liqueur, and lavender-vanilla foam) with the melt-in-your-mouth Parker House Rolls will make you feel like you broke the bank without doing so. 

— Matt Morrissette, Contributing Writer