Leigh Ann, I Don’t Give a Fork’s founder, prides herself in one-upping the institution of flatware. An innovative entrepreneur who has immersed herself in the restaurant world since the age of 17, she whips up tasty bites and folds them into hoagie rolls that require no utensils and mostly just accurate hand-eye coordination. She doles her fluffy white rolls out of the I Don’t Give a Fork truck, greeting hungry customers with scrambled eggs and philly steak, grilled zucchini cakes, or mac and cheeseburgers all day. When she isn’t acting as the face of her business, Leigh Ann is crafting catering trays of sandwiches with sides of mac and cheese, homemade apple slaw, or BLT nachos.
Owners Eric and Sasha Aber stock their kitchen at Home Grown Café with locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients when they can. That palate of fresh greens, house-made sauces, and Black Angus beef pairs with eclectic recipes, which have nabbed a slew of awards from Delaware Today, including Best Healthy Fare four of the last five years. Many plates, such as the pad thai with shrimp or shredded chicken tamale turnover, can be converted into filling vegan meals with faux shrimp or seitan. A full gluten-free menu provides options for patrons who have wheat allergies or recently had a tearful falling out with a gingerbread man. The chefs craft sandwiches with proteins including hangar steak or tofu and toppings such as bacon, creole mustard, brie, and chilled duxelle, a rich, buttery sauce of mushrooms.
Beside supporting local farms, the Abers throw their support toward the arts, displaying a rotating cast of local craftspeople on the walls and hosting live music performances four nights a week, including Jazz sets on Sunday.
Because Matilda's shares a menu with Mad-Macs, patrons have unfettered access to more than a dozen varieties of mac 'n cheese in addition to the bar's craft beers, wines, and cocktails. Reaffirming that this comfort food deserves a place in the adult diet, chefs recommend pairing the cajun-shrimp-and-crab mac with a glass of sauvignon blanc or the buffalo-chicken mac with a water balloon of pinot noir. The menu also showcases hand-patted burgers and hearty hot sandwiches, in addition to seafood entrees, steaks, and chicken. Live music and DJs keep things lively in the evenings, and karaoke nights provide the opportunity to flex vocal chords after prolonged vows of silence.
Within local favorite Matilda's Pub lies mad-macs, a comfort fare haven dedicated to the chefs' gooey mastery of mac 'n' cheese with a family-friendly vibe. Among rich espresso wood fixtures, overstuffed bench seats, and chalkboard walls covered in doodles, mac masters dish out decadent lobster mac with mascarpone cheese, philly cheesesteak mac, and Cajun shrimp and crab mac, among their many rich combinations. Around the eatery, abstract macaroni art tempts hungry eyes while kids are given supplies to craft their own masterpieces or a new set of edible parents before they go up on a special display wall. Behind the bar, bartenders mix adults-only milk shakes, and in the kitchen the chefs plate their culinary works of art as customers order fresh hand-formed burgers, Aussie-style crab cakes, and steaks.
The fiery flavors at Santa Fe Mexican Grill send taste buds on an all-inclusive south-of-the-border vacation. A house specialty here is the molcajete, a bowl of lava rock filled with steak and chicken and heated to 150 degrees. Twenty-five ingredients go into its piping-hot pepper sauce, which can be soaked up by corn tortillas or poured onto medieval knights laying siege to your corner booth. Bartenders also mix margaritas and mojitos with fresh lime juice, and they concoct bloody marys and mimosas during Sunday brunches.