I have a request, dear readers in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen, can we decide to stop writing the same article about Delaware, Ohio, that we have been writing for years?
I’m growing quite unfond of how surprised a writer is by “cool” things there. Are we really still surprised? There’s Staas Brewing, the not even two-year-old microbrewery that can barely keep up with demand for its brews. Vito’s Wine Bar has a great selection of bottles and wines to taste, and an equally excellent whiskey bar in the back where you can have the owner mix a Manhattan. This past September, 1808 American Bistro not only got me to eat half of an enormous roasted head of cauliflower as an appetizer, they actually got me to enjoy it. Like really, really enjoy it. From now on, can we stop with the notion that Delaware is some quaint bucolic village, and it’s so cute when they play around with cocktails and food? Delaware has been cool for quite some time.
So, I present you this map, a fun guide to our Extra Short North to the North, which bursts with potential more and more every month.
Liz and Donald Staas have a simple mission for their neighborhood brewery: classic styles, true to form. While that seems pretty straightforward, coaxing the perfect balance of raisony, caramely, malty flavor and sometimes double-digit ABV from a Belgian-style quad can be a pretty tall order. This husband and wife team have tamed that beast and many more. Stop in and try a beer flight, or take a pull from their newly installed cask beer engines. While the conversation with the locals around the bar is engaging enough for most, if you’re the type for bar games, the shuffleboard table will definitely keep you satisfied.
Chef Joshua Dalton and bar director Nicole Hollerman’s combined efforts create a veritable powerhouse of modernist excellence in the glass and on the plate. Incorporating techniques that can be found in the kitchen at Chicago’s Alinea and behind the bar at New York’s Booker & Dax may not seem like a good fit for a small Ohio town, but the hundreds who flock to this tiny space each week tell a different story. Just sit down and point anywhere on the menu. You wont be disappointed.
1808 American Bistro
With a huge list of draft beer, barrel-aged and seasonal cocktails, a great wine list, and an impeccable menu of inspired takes on classic dishes, it is pretty tough to go wrong. Make sure to try the 4 Way Beets salad, sous vide pork tenderloin or short ribs, or their constantly changing pierogies. I would suggest all three at once, but there’s plenty more treasure to find as your night continues.
You want to grab a six pack? Go here. You want to sit down and have a pint? Go here. You’d rather brew your own? Go here. If it has to do with beer, this is the stop you want to make. Part carryout, part bar, and part brewing supply store, Barley Hopsters has
pretty much got you covered. Grab a seat at the bottle cap-encrusted bar and try out some selections from the draft menu, then pick up a growler of your favorite to take home. The only thing they don’t do here is brew the beer for you—for that you’ll need to head to the next stop.
Vito’s Wine Bar
While there is no question that this is the place to go for a glass or a bottle of wine, for my money, the real winner here is the tiny whiskey bar in back. I’m not sure there’s a better way to spend a night than chatting with Brad as he mixes you a perfect Manhattan or Old Fashioned under the dim lights of this tucked away whiskey den. Brad is seemingly living the dream as a retiree who moonlights as one of the best bartenders in town. He will tell you all about his son, a jazz musician, while mixing you the best Irish coffee you’ve ever had, and you will like it. Dear God, will you like it.