When the original Philly Soft Pretzel Factory location had a line out the door, its founders knew they had a hit on their hands. That was in 1998; today, over 100 franchise locations serve their special-recipe soft pretzels. Each chewy treat is hand twisted, baked fresh, and served hot from the oven into the customer's waiting hands, or mouth if they're really hungry. Pretzels can be topped with traditional salt, or spiced up with garlic or sesame seeds, while a selection of dipping sauces ranging from cheddar cheese to sweet chocolate provide layers of dunking flavor. And for those who prefer their baked goods meaty, dough-wrapped dogs and cheesesteak-filled pretzels are available.
Marco Rizzo regularly strolls local markets, handpicking ingredients for Ristorante Marco's kitchen. He learned to cherish fresh food as a child, when growing up in a small Italian fishing village meant his family had to grow and harvest much of what they ate on a small farm plot. He also learned from his mother, a chef herself, how good food can bring people together—Marco's house regularly erupted into activity at dinnertime, with conversations and Xbox tournaments carrying well into the night.
Now, at Ristorante Marco, the Italian native draws upon these memories as he crafts the dishes he grew up with, from housemade pastas to seafood. Valuing entertaining as much as he does cooking, Marco relishes chatting with guests and recommending a drink from the restaurant's list of more than 100 wines, including a selection from his hometown, Santa Maria di Castellabate. Such touches earned Ristorante Marco the 2010 Critics' Choice award for Best Upstate Italian Restaurant in Delaware Today.
Voted Critics' Choice for Best Burgers in Delaware by Delaware Today three years in a row, Jake's Wayback Burgers is a treasure trove of handmade burgers, house-cut potato chips, and throwback milkshakes. From a single location on Route 273, Jake's exploded across the nation, getting pickles and lettuce all over America's most important monuments. The eatery's hand-dipped shakes and monthly burger specials—such as the Texas Jake burger—can be enjoyed in 10 different states, alongside a menu of 100% beef hot dogs and triceratops-friendly veggie burgers.
At Masala Kitchen, potato and chickpeas replace lamb and goat in authentic Indian curries. That’s because the Indian eatery serves exclusively vegetarian dishes, each made with a combination of seasonal ingredients and exotic spice blends. Besides stirring fixings into curry, Masala Kitchen’s cooks stuff paneer into whole-wheat bread and fill puffed puri with potatoes and mint-cilantro chutney. The culinary team whips up even more options for catered meals, from veggie biryani to rice and lentil cakes dusted with red-chili powder.
Thurston's Pub's burgers and sandwiches owe their distinctive flavors to the restaurant's housemade sauces. Without the spicy chipotle dressing that blankets the baja burger or the barbecue sauce that drenches the wings, guests might pay far more attention to the dartboards and flat-screen televisions that line the pub's walls. The reality is that sometimes they must pry their eyes away from their plates if they hope to pay attention to the live sports broadcasts or the waiters politely reminding them to eat their Guinness stews with forks.
Each day, fishermen along the Atlantic coast ship the contents of their freshly opened crab cages to the Celtic Crab House. Upon arrival, cooks quickly prepare the crabs for patrons' mallets and mouths with a thorough steaming and seasoning. Glasses of domestic and imported draft beers leave cool rings on tables after washing down plates of sunset-orange dungeness crabs, massive king crabs, and lobster tails. In the kitchen, chefs slice open flounder to stuff them with crabmeat, and battered oysters in hot oil crackle merrily like pamphlets on how to overcome pyromania.