Steps away from the University of Delaware campus, 16 Mile Taphouse sources its frosty, barley-based nectars from the 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown. Gourmet tavern grub pairs with the popular local brews, such as the Old Court Ale, full of citrusy zing and hints of caramel, or limited-edition batches such as the English Heraldry Series, flavored with notes of foggy weather and a respect for monarchy.
Diners sip wine and ale under lofty ceilings in the tiered dining space, surrounded by rugged brick walls and antique maps. These nostalgic touches pay tribute to the restaurant site's 255-year history; formerly known as The Stone Balloon, this locale was once home to colonial bureaucrats, a world-class 19th-century hotel and restaurant, a dingy 20th-century flophouse, and a 1970s rock ‘n’ roll joint that drew the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar, and Metallica.
The 2010 Delaware Today Best of Delaware Critics Choice Award winner for Best Pub and Tavern Upstate, and the 2009 winner of the Best Late Night Food Award, James Street Tavern offers an affordable menu of cuisine. The spacious and inviting bistro's warm amber lighting, wood tables, and hints of rustic décor give it a friendly neighborhood vibe without the hassle of summoning Cheers cast apparitions. The eclectic menu ups the elegance with dishes like hoisin steak spring roll ($7), crab cake salad ($12), a bison burger ($10), and yellowfin tuna tacos ($8.50). Wash your gourmet grub down with its perfect pairing from the bar's vast selection of beer and wines while attempting to tell the bartender someone else’s life story.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtle's philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.