November 2021 - NO PLANet B

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Green Teams Looking for You

Historic New Castle Broadens Its Palate

In Defense of Yacht Rock

No Planet B Young local environmental activists are demanding to be heard














Christiana Fashion Center

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Wilmington - 5603 Concord Pike | 302 529 8888 *First Wax Free offer: First-time guests only. Valid only for select services. Additional terms may apply. Participation may vary; please visit for general terms and conditions. European Wax Center locations are individually owned and operated. © 2021 EWC Franchise, LLC. All rights reserved. European Wax Center® is a registered trademark.


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Vic DiBitetto FRI | NOV 12 | 8PM | $34-$39

Kris Allen SAT | NOV 13 | 8PM | $30

He prowls the stage like a tiger and holds no hostages.

American Idol season 8 winner brings new country music to the stage

An Evening with Storm Large THU | NOV 18 | 8PM | $30


Justin Willman: Magic For Humans In Person! THU | NOV 18 | 8PM | $30-$38 Justin Willman wants to melt your brain while making you laugh.

Musician, Actor, Playwright, Awesome. Semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent.

Come relive your days as the “Dancing Queen” with the ultimate ABBA tribute.

FRI | NOV 19 | 8PM | $30-$40

George Thorogood and the Destroyers Good To Be Bad Tour WED | DEC 1 | 8PM | $47-$52

Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas! FRI | DEC 3 | 8PM | $31-$46

December ‘63

The Wizards of Winter

FRI | DEC 10 | 8PM | $34-$40

FRI | DEC 17 | 8PM | $35-$45 Fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra will love this rocking way to celebrate the holidays

Jane Lynch (Glee) brings Kate Flannery (The Office) and more to celebrate the holidays.

The music of FRANKIE VALLI AND THE FOUR SEASONS comes to life

New Year’s Eve


December 31, 2021

Delaware’s favorite son returns to The Grand.


Delaware Symphony Orchestra Music Director David Amado

Guest Artists from OperaDelaware

Honorary Chair: Mrs. Tatiana

Broadway’s Tony®-Award Winner

Brian Stokes Mitchell 302.652.5577 | 302.888.0200

818 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on





Masks Required Indoors Regardless of Vaccination Status

All tickets subject to box office service charges. Artists, dates, times and programs are subject to change.





Out & About Magazine Vol. 34 | No. 9

START 9 War on Words 13 FYI


FOCUS 18 Voicing Their Concern 21 The Green Team

EAT 24 Historic New Castle Broadens Palate 29 Joe Van Horn Earned His Stripes 35 Jim Pappas Steaks His Claim

Published each month by TSN Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Wilmington, DE 19801 Publisher Gerald duPhily • Director of Publications Jim Miller • Contributing Editor Bob Yearick • Creative Director & Production Manager Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Digital Services Director Michael O’Brian Contributing Designer Allanna Peck, Catalyst Visuals, LLC, Contributing Writers Jill Althouse-Wood, Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Adriana Camacho-Church, JulieAnne Cross, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Lauren Golt, Jordan Howell, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Ken Mammarella, Matt Morrissette, John Murray, Larry Nagengast, Kevin Noonan, Leeann Wallett

Contributing Photographers Jim Coarse, Justin Heyes and Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography, Butch Comegys, Lindsay duPhily, Matthew Loeb, Matt Urban Special Projects John Holton, Bev Zimmermann


LISTEN 39 In Defense of Yacht Rock

DRINK 43 Steel Blu Vodka Lighting a Fire 46 Wines for Thanksgiving



47 Dune: All Style No Substance

WILMINGTON 50 In the City 52 On the Riverfront Cover design by Matthew Loeb


All new coming this month.

All new coming this month.

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Editorial & advertising info: 302.655.6483 • Fax 302.654.0569 • NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


DTC MDQ Out and About.pdf



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DECEMBER 1–19, 2021 DELAWARETHEATRE.ORG / 302.594.1100 For DTC’s health and safety policies, please visit our website or call the box office.



A writer/editor’s slightly snarky and relentless crusade to eliminate grammatical gaffes from our everyday communications

Compiled from the popular column in Out & About Magazine

THE WAR ON WORDS A monthly column in which we attempt, however futilely, to defend the English language against misuse and abuse

PET PEEVES This month, we asked area writers, editors, and winners of multiple “War on Words” contests for their pet peeves. Here are the responses: Mark Nardone, communications manager at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library I'm sure I'm not the only one to name “between you and I” as a peeve. That one drives me nuts. [Between you and me is correct.] Also, ending sentences with unnecessary prepositions, such as “Where are you at?” I am of the school that ending a sentence with a preposition is often perfectly OK, especially if the attempt to avoid it leads to an awkward, convoluted sentence. “That is the one I spoke of” sounds better to me than “That is the one of which I spoke.” Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware and author of several books, including When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/ or Worse The only usages that really bother me, for some reason, are pronunciations: off-ten for often, ne-go-see-ate for negotiate, divissive for divisive. It also bothers me when people complain about saying “reach out to” instead of “contact,” not realizing that 60 years ago, people were complaining about “contact” as a verb. And when they complain about “graduated high school” instead of “graduated from high school,” not realizing that 60 years ago, people were complaining about “graduated from high school” instead of “was graduated from high school.” Larry Kerchner, winner of multiple “War on Words” contests 1a. Use of the objective me as a subject. E.g., “Me and Bob are going to the store.” “Me and my mom like ice cream.” 1b. Use of the subjective I as an object. E.g., “Thank you from Annette and I.” “Between you and I.” 2. Use of the singular there’s when referring to plurals. E.g., “There’s a hundred ways to do it.” “There’s lots of illiterate people in this country.” 3. Incessant use and misuse of literally. E.g., “I literally moved mountains to get this done.” (Just heard on TV as I was writing this.) Luann Haney, owner of Haney & Associates advertising agency and winner of multiple “War on Words” contests • For all intensive purposes [all intents and purposes is correct]. • doggy-dog [dog-eat-dog is correct].

By Bob Yearick

• And do I need to remind you of pacific vs. specific? Also, there’s the ever-popular failure to use possessive: “Somebody hit my sisters boyfriend car” instead of “my sister’s boyfriend’s car.” Matt Sullivan, chief operating officer at Short Order Production House and O&A contributor “More than” for comparing amounts. Not “over,” which is for spatial relationships, and not “greater,” which is for relative size. This is the hill I’ve chosen to die on. I don’t care what those panderers over at the Associated Press say. There are rules. Pam George, freelance writer and frequent contributor to O&A My pet peeve is something akin to pan seared salmon instead of pan-seared — compound adjective. And I dislike when corporate clients want to uppercase Company or Bank, or if they capitalize their titles after their name. Maria Hess, former Delaware Today editor-in-chief and Delaware Press Assn. Communicator of Achievement The maddening abuse of exclamation points and the strange obsession with capitalizing every word that sounds important. And finally, our own Jerry duPhily, publisher of Out & About Exclamation points: Almost always unnecessary unless part of a direct quote. Let your prose create the excitement, not your punctuation. Also, the unnecessary use of the word that. Sometimes “that” is essential, but generally the word can be removed and the meaning of the sentence doesn’t change. It stuns me how often writers fail to do the simple exercise of searching for that before submitting copy. DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCIES DEPT. (in which we keep up with the Joneses)

• Mike Jones, USA TODAY: “At the very least, Smith has to be able to get his guys to at least challenge Tampa Bay.” • Mike Jones again: “But thus far, Watt has yet to look anything like the impact pass rusher . . .” • New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, responding to a question from Dan on The Dan Patrick Show: “Initially I didn’t, at first.”

Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords

Word of the Month

bruit Pronounced broot, it can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it means rumor, report, noise. As a verb, it means to report, to repeat or to spread a rumor.

NOTE: To acquire Greer Firestone’s new book, Alexei and Rasputin, go to The second r was missing from last month’s FYI listing.

Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf ( or call me at 302-482-3737.


Time for Holiday Shopping! Wilmington is full of hidden treasures, and we are uncovering them one by one and adding them to our WilmingtonMADE list of businesses. The best part of shopping small and supporting our Wilmington restaurants and business owners is that YOU are helping to strengthen the economy as we all rebound and rebuild from a tough year. SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY is November 27th, let's get out and suppport our local business owners! You can view our local business directory by scanning here.

WILMINGTONMADE is powered by Wilmington Alliance


Helping Surgeons Keep Their COOL! Wilmington-based Desikant Technologies’ “smart garments” beat the heat. It is a classic scene from a TV medical drama. As a surgeon stands over the operating table, a nurse reaches up to dab the doctor’s damp brow. By the time the life-or-death procedure is over, the surgeon is soaked with sweat. For many physicians, the depiction is all too real. For hours at a time, they wear scrubs, sterile gowns, masks, gloves, hats and other gear that trap warm, humid air against their bodies. Overheating can affect concentration and cause dehydration. Wilmington-based Desikant Technologies has a solution. Founded in 2019, the startup creates thermoregulation “smart garments,” including a cooling vest that prevents heat exhaustion. The innovation has received encouragement. In April, Desikant Technologies received the top $75,000 prize in the Delaware Innovation Award Category at Startup 302, a funding competition organized by Delaware Prosperity Partnership. The Delaware Division of Small Business provided the funds for the award. In August, the company received an Encouraging Development, Growth and Expansion (EDGE) Grant from the division. The company is the dream of Kwaku Temeng, a former DuPont Co. employee turned entrepreneur. "Since my days at DuPont, there was something in me that wanted to start a company to solve an important problem,” he says. “I knew that one day I would start a venture.”

high-performance garments for Olympic athletes and electronicintegrated apparel. She agreed to be the vice president of technical design. Joel Melnick, an electrical engineer who had built flightcontrol systems for Boeing and designed devices for surgeons, became the chief technical officer. The first product is a vest for the surgical market. Worn over scrubs and under the gown, the vest has sensors that detect when the body overheats. Sophisticated electronics in the apparel actively replace the warm, humid air around the body with cool, dry air. The Army bought the initial prototype; the second will be tested in operating rooms. The team will then tackle applications for outdoor activities, such as hiking and running. With the grants, Desikant is looking for office space. “Delaware’s position along the East Coast is ideal,” Temeng says. “It’s near New York’s fashion industry and Baltimore, where there is a community experienced in building high-performance products. There are a bunch of potential partners that make electronics.” Consider the DuPont Co., which has an electronic materials business. While at DuPont, Temeng once spent up to 80 hours a week on an internet-based project. He remembers the sense of satisfaction, a sentiment he hopes to experience next year when, hopefully, Desikant Technologies’ vest will be available. “When you bring a solution to market and see people adapt it — it’s a wonderful feeling,” he says.

Born in Ghana, Temeng came to the United States to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His career with the DuPont Co. brought him to Delaware in the early 1990s. “I haven’t moved away from the state since,” he says. Indeed, Temeng remained a Delaware resident after becoming the director of innovation for Baltimore-based Under Armour. He continued living in Delaware after joining Dropel Fabrics in New York, an early-stage startup that develops and manufactures performance garments using sustainable natural fabrics, not synthetics. Commuting by train gave Temeng time to think about how heat stress affects athletes. “Stamina drops quite a bit, and the ability to focus on the activity suffers,” he explains. "When the body can’t cool itself down, there’s the risk of dehydration.”

Have a suggestion for our spotlight? Email us at

In mid-2020, Temeng founded Desikant Technologies’ startup. He reached out to Alisa Esposito, an Under Armour colleague who built 12 NOVEMBER XX NOVEMBER2021 2021| |OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



he fifth annual Delaware KIDS Fund Camping Out for Coats is full steam ahead and is closing in on a significant achievement. With funding for more than 120 new coats already in hand, the fundraiser is hoping to receive donations to purchase 1,400 coats this year. If that goal is met, Camping Out for Coats would have donated 10,000 coats since 2017. Per tradition, Camping Out for Coats will host an actual camping excursion on Nov. 19 at Operation Warm Newport headquarters (10 S. James St., Newport). However, prior to the overnight camping, a kick-off party is set for 5-9pm. For a $10 donation, attendees receive drinks, appetizers, live music, bonfire and can take part in a silent auction. All coats donated to local children by the Delaware KIDS Fund are new. For more or to donate, visit



ity Theater Company has formed a new partnership with The Delaware Contemporary (TDC) and will now present its Mainstage and Fearless Improv performances at the art museum’s Riverfront location (200 S. Madison St.). Using a COVID-19 relief grant, TDC’s Wings Foundation Auditorium has been transformed into black box performance space, enhanced by upgraded lighting and audio. The new space will be available to all arts and culture organizations in need of performance or special event space. "The values and vision of The Delaware Contemporary are very much in line with those of City Theater Company, and we are thrilled to be partnering with this iconic institution in 2021 and beyond,” says CTC Artistic Director Kerry Kristine McElrone. The 27-year-old CTC, which has been entertaining audiences virtually during the pandemic with online content (including music videos and new play readings) plans to return to live performances beginning this December with a presentation of the musical Once. Visit



rban Bike Project’s sixth annual Crisp Classic is set for Sun., Nov. 7 (12:30pm ride start). The family-friendly bike ride offers 8- and 12.5-mile ride options and is followed by an after party at Bellevue State Park sponsored You can sponsor a youth rider for $20. by Dogfish Head Brewery. Registration is $30 and includes food, two beer tickets and s'mores around the campfire. Those who register by Oct. 30 receive a souvenir T-shirt. Proceeds support UBP’s efforts to increase bicycling in all Wilmington communities. For those not interesting in riding, you can sponsor an Urban Bike Project rider for just $20. Visit



Camping Out for Coats is hoping to donate more than 1,000 new coats from this year's fundrasier.


ingswood Community Center, a service partner of The WRK Group, (The Warehouse, REACH Riverside, and Kingswood Community Center), is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Created in 1946, the Kingswood United Methodist Church opened its doors to local youth and laid the foundation for today’s Kingswood Community Center (KCC). Originally, KCC served white members of the community, but that changed under the leadership of then-Executive Director Francis Norton and Recreation Director of Youth Ernest Webster, a black community resident. Through their combined guidance, KCC extended it services to include the first community day care center for black children. Today’s KCC serves as an educational sanctuary for Wilmington’s children as well as a place to build lasting community at the Jimmy Jenkins Senior Center. KCC provides an Early Learning Academy, serving children ages 12 months to five years and provides academic support and enrichment activities for school-aged children, ages five through 12. The Jimmy Jenkins Senior Center, located within KCC, addresses the needs and interests of seniors in our community by providing them with support that focuses on maximizing independence. KCC also provides community and family services that deliver support and information through referrals to local services for individuals and families. NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 13

Things worth knowing

The Playhouse used the COVID-19 shutdown to completely freshen up the place. Photo by Matt Urban



fter a 20-month shutdown because of COVID-19, The Playhouse on Rodney Square returns to action Nov 18-21 with the presentation of the Broadway musical Waitress. The Playhouse used nine months of the shutdown to completely refurbish the historic theater, including new seats, carpeting, draperies and curtains, improved lighting and a freshening of the ceiling cloud mural. Waitress will feature five performances, including matinees on Sat. and Sun., Nov. 20-21. Visit



oming soon to Little Italy is Cool World Vintage, a new venture from Matt Morrissette, an Out & About contributing writer and creator of 1984 Arcade Bar, a colorful and popular nightspot that closed during the pandemic. The shop will be located at the corner of 5th and Lincoln streets in the former Foschi Photography building. Cool World will sell records, cassettes, books, turntables and other home stereo components, musical equipment, pro audio gear, clothing and accessories, furniture and knickknacks, art, original T-shirts, and other ephemera. In homage to 1984, the store will have a small arcade of six stand-up games from 1984 Arcade Bar available for play. Live music is also planned several times per month. Follow Cool World Vintage on Facebook and Instagram @coolworldvintage



n the final day of the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, late-season callup Joan Adon was on the mound for the Washington Nationals. While the game was an insignificant game for the Nationals (they had been eliminated from playoff contention weeks earlier), Adon’s appearance was a milestone for the Wilmington Blue Rocks as he became their 200th player to reach the MLB level. Adon joins MLB stars such as Johnny Damon, Jon Lieber, Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney, Jacoby Ellsbury, Zack Greinke, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Kelvin Herrera as former Blue Rocks to make “The Show.” The Blue Rocks’ 2009 team was especially rich with talent as 11 players from that team reached the Major League level and five of them were on the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals. Ironically, though heavily favored, that Blue Rocks team did not win the Carolina League championship. They were defeated in the playoff semifinals by the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Blue Rocks open the 2022 season at Frawley Stadium Apr. 8 against Brooklyn. For the 2022 schedule and ticket information, visit

Is Back! Friday, Dec. 3



This exhibition was organized by the Delaware Art Museum and Aesthetic Dynamics, Inc. Afro-American Images 1971: The Vision of Percy Ricks and its related programming is made possible by a grant from PNC Arts Alive. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund. This exhibition is made possible by Corteva Agriscience. This exhibition is made possible by the Johannes R. and Betty P. Krahmer American Art Exhibition Fund and the Emily DuPont Exhibition Fund. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on Image, left to right: Bonfire, 1962. Norman Lewis (1909–1979). Oil on canvas, 64 × 49 7/8 inches. The Studio Museum in Harlem, gift of the Estate of Norman Lewis, 1981.1.2. Photo: Marc Bernier. © The Estate of Norman W. Lewis; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY. Guardian of the Image Makers, c. 1975. Percy Eugene Ricks (1923–2008). Screen print, composition: 23 3/8 × 17 3/8 inches, sheet: 35 × 23 inches. Courtesy of JENN and Associates. © Estate of Percy Eugene Ricks.


2301 Kentmere Pkwy | Wilmington, DE | 302.571.9590 |





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g n i c Voi Their

CONCERN Young local environmental activists are demanding to be heard By Ken Mammarella

A coalition of environmental activists take their message to President Joe Biden's neighborhood. Photo by Butch Comegys


y foot and stroller, by bicycle and hybrid and even by gas-powered vehicle, they reached Joe Biden’s neighborhood for a rush-hour rally to bring attention to what they call a climate crisis. About 75 people used vibrant banners, impassioned speeches and a six-mile walk from downtown Wilmington to Route 141 and Barley Mill Road to promote their call for significant changes. Now. “I want to give my peers and my eventual children and grandchildren the same quality of life that I have,” Salesianum student Jack Thompson said in an interview before the rally. “And that is not guaranteed, with the burning of fossil fuels, the logging of forests and climate change.” Climate change — associated with burning fossil fuels, eating meat and other behaviors generating greenhouse gases — is controversial. Some deny it exists. Others believe the term is too mild and want all who share the Earth to consider it a crisis, evinced by scorching summers, devastating wildfires, dangerous storms, rising seas and lifethreatening droughts. “We are at the end of our rope,” Karen Igou, rally emcee and founder of the Delaware chapter of Extinction Rebellion, said in an interview. “None of my three children want children. They are worried about a safe future.”



The future, of course, is for the young, and so far, local calls to action to young people appears to generate the strongest response among private and charter school students. The rally’s student speakers were from the Charter School of Wilmington, Odyssey Charter, Salesianum and Wilmington Friends. Odyssey itself has a Green Teams initiative calling for “sustainable development” and training students to be “environmental stewards of our planet.” “I’m sick of feeling helpless,” said Kanmani Duraikkannan, a 17-year-old Odyssey student active with the Youth Environmental Summit, a statewide group and event begun in 2019, with the youth leaders deciding its agenda. “My passion started with voter registration and civic engagement. We live in a time of apathy. A lot of young people think their voices don’t matter.” She wants to convince them that their voices do. “And if you don’t address the environment, nothing else can be addressed.” The 300 students at the recent virtual Youth Environmental Summit got that message. “Adults will listen,” Neha Veeragandham,

a 17-year-old Charter student also active in the summit, told the crowd. “If they don’t, make them.” Although those rallying united behind a chant of “Save our youth, teach

Anthony Chan (center), co-founder of the Newark chapter of Sunrise Movement, at a rally in Washington, D.C.

the truth,” multiple agendas were at play. Banners, posters and speakers referred to construction of a regional natural gas pipeline, America’s largest trash incinerator, the water table and voting rights.

Climate change functions as a big tent. At the University of Delaware, for instance, there are at least four registered student organizations focused on some part of the issue: a chapter of the Climate Reality Project, an advocacy group founded by Al Gore in 2006; the Environmental Justice Project; Students for the Environment; and a chapter of the Sunrise Movement, which calls itself “a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.” “Real change has to be systemic,” said Carl Nelson-Poteet, who last year co-founded the Sunrise chapter, explaining that it works with other progressive groups. Among its first efforts was endorsing candidates in the 2020 election and supporting rankedchoice voting. Nelson-Poteet said that his double major in environmental studies and engineering has shown him “how things are going wrong,” and he “gets a certain amount of inspiration by organizing for bigger change.” (Personally, one of his changes to help the environment is avoiding meat before 6 p.m.) ► NOVEMBER 2021


VOICING THEIR CONCERN continued from previous page


Bringing you fresh, local, seasonal produce, honey, artisanal foods and handicraft. Live music weekly.



free holiday fun fun for the whole family holiday open house

at rockwood park & museum december 3 & 4, 5-9 p.m. lights, santa, music, holiday museum tours

holiday celebration & market

at glasgow park december 10 & 11, 5-9 p.m. lights, santa, music, holiday market NEW CASTLE COUNTY EXECUTIVE MATT MEYER DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICES DIVISION OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES


Karen Igou, founder of the Delaware chapter of Extinction Rebellion, addresses her fellow activists during a rally off Barley Mill Road. Photo by Butch Comegys

At St. Georges Technical, junior Ira Washington last year founded the Lyfe Club to share environmental information and encourage change. “We put what we learn to use,” he said, noting that the club is planning to increase the number of plantings around the high school and install solar-powered phone-charging stations in the outdoor section of the cafeteria. (Personally, one of his environmentally friendly changes is eating seaweed — and adding it to the diet of other family members.) Thompson, who lives in Camden-Wyoming, is the founder of the Delaware chapter of Fridays4Future, which calls itself “a youth-led-andorganized global climate strike movement” started in 2018 by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. “I want to amplify the voices that cannot speak for themselves, such as lower-income people and those impacted by heat islands,” he said, adding that he’s given up parties, sports events and other teen activities to devote time to pushing what he so strongly believes in. The rally echoes this summer’s Grandparents Walk for Our Grandchildren and Mother Earth, a march from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Biden was born, to Delaware, the president’s home. Some rally participants continued their walk to Biden’s home to deliver their message. “I hope he fights for his grandchildren,” Veeragandham said. Both events included a stop at Chase Bank, which contributes more money toward fossil fuel industries than any other bank, a Banking on Climate Change report concluded. In response, Chase told Forbes it is committed to “help address climate change and promote more sustainable development.” “The political needle has moved, but not enough,” said Anthony Chan, another co-founder of the Newark chapter of the Sunrise Movement. “This is the time to make the transition so that people come out better on the other side,” he said. Although Biden has made some moves they like — such as blocking drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and calling for half of new vehicles to be battery electric, fuel-cell electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030 — they feel he’s not going far enough. One dividing point for the activists is how far they will go. “Activism in Delaware refuses to be associated with civil disobedience, but that’s the only way to move the needle, in my opinion,” Igou said, referring to the tipping points for suffrage and civil rights. “All of our problems will be exacerbated by climate … health, food, crime, poverty, everything,” she wrote in an email. “The fact that [Delaware] is the lowest state for mean elevation makes us particularly vulnerable as well.” The rally drew some supportive honking by those driving by and one more young activist: Nicholas Nonnemaker, who was heading home. “I’ve viewed climate change as a problem my whole life,” and the University of Delaware student hopes to use skills he’s learning as an entrepreneurship major to “stop stuff from being ignored.”

Caption needed. Photo by Butch Comegys Students from a variety of Greater Wilmington schools were on hand at last month's Wilmington rally. Photo by Butch Comegys

The Green Team

Looking to get involved? Here are more than a dozen options.


ooking to do more than just read about climate change? Ready to dig deeper than simply making an online donation or applying your signature to a petition? Here are some organizations looking for you:

• Citizens Climate Lobby — A nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy climate change organization focused on national policies to address climate change, whose approach to climate education is designed to create a broad, sustainable foundation for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations. Delaware Chapter at St. Andrew’s School, Middletown.; • Eco Health Alliance — Is a global environmental health nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease.; NOVEMBER 2021









• Extinction Rebellion Delaware — Declares non-violent rebellion against the U.S. government for its criminal inaction on the ecological crisis.; • EQOT (Earth Quaker Action Team), Philly — Grassroots, nonviolent action group including Quakers and people of diverse beliefs, who join with millions of people around the world fighting for a just and sustainable economy. Their Power Local Green Jobs Campaign uses nonviolent, direct action to demand that PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest utility company, make a major shift to locally generated solar power that benefits low-income communities and communities of color. New online volunteer interest session on Nov. 8 at 7pm.; • Fridays For Future (FFF) — is part of a hopeful new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis, started by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg in Sweden. Updates on Twitter @FridaysForFuture or subscribe to their monthly online newsletter.; • Green Team Worldwide Environmental — Specializes in recycling clothing by ensuring the vending and selling of hundreds of tons of donated clothing monthly at their brightly colored bins, which are thoroughly cleaned after each pickup. • Interfaith Power and Light — Working through faith communities and community partners to provide a religious response to the causes and impacts of climate change. Signature initiative: Green Empowerment Program aimed at low-income neighborhoods. • Keep Delaware Beautiful — Was formed in 2016 with the purpose of fostering and promoting Keep America Beautiful programs focused on litter prevention, community beautification and minimizing the impact of solid waste in the State of Delaware. Look for their Household Hazardous Waste Collection events monthly on their website for each county.; • Plastic Free Delaware — Aims to eliminate the scourge of plastic pollution and build a culture of zero waste in Delaware through educational programs, awareness building, and policy initiatives. Learn more at 3rd Thursdays Lunch & Learn from 121:15 pm via Zoom or join in at the Green Drinks Virtual BYOB on Mon. Nov. 15 from 6:30-8pm.; • Sierra Club — Founded by John Muir in 1892 to protect the environment with chapters in all 50 states. General info: Legislative office: 202-547-1141 Click on “Take Action” page on or visit sierraclub. org/Delaware or

Claire Andreasen, a senior at Charter School of Wilmington lets her sign do the talking during a recent event calling for more action on climate change. Photo by Butch Comegys

• Students for the Environment — Is a student-led club at High Tech High Media Arts where students come together to discuss interesting topics involving world/nationwide environmental issues, ways to be eco-friendly in our daily lives, and how we can make an impact in our community. • Sunrise Movement Mission — Stop climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process. Signature initiative launched in 2017, The Green New Deal: a congressional resolution to mobilize every aspect of American Society to 100% clean and renewable energy in the next 10 years.; • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Justice — Believes that everyone, regardless of race, color, national origin or income is entitled to equal protection from environmental harms and risks. The EPA in Delaware is in Rehoboth Beach but managed out of the regional Philadelphia office.; • Walk for Our Grandchildren & Mother Earth — Driven by the question ‘What kind of ancestors will we be?’ a group of grandparents and elders took bold action and risked arrest in the fight against climate change and for a renewable energy future.; Steven Norris:



Broadening The Pa Venerable Jessop’s Tavern has company as Historic New Castle’s restaurant scene grows By Adriana Camacho-Church



"We want to provide food and drinks {customers} would not be able to get anywhere in Delaware and in some cases nowhere in the country," says Jessop's Tavern owner Justin Day. Photo by Butch Comegys



ounded before the Revolutionary War, Historic New Castle combines the comforts of modern life in a colonial setting steeped in history. The charm and beauty of this 1650s colonial-era river town is highlighted in the careful preservation of cobblestone streets, 17th- and 18th-century brick buildings and stately residential homes and gardens. Delaware Street is where most of the town’s retail and restaurant fare can be found, and until recently there haven’t been many options for those looking for more upscale dining after exploring this idyllic place. Jessop’s Tavern and Colonial Restaurant has been the staple, operating since 1996 in a building nearly 350 years old. Jessop’s colonial décor recaptures the building's storied past and the feeling of what it would have been like in a colonial tavern. Its theme is reinforced by the staff’s period attire and the colonial music that plays in the background. The menu is also influenced by those who first settled here — the Dutch, English, Swedish and Belgian. A winner of several Delaware awards for its food and world-wide Belgian beers, Jessop’s dishes include the New Sweden meatloaf with vodka cream and lingonberry preserves, its award-winning fish and chips, and the shepherd’s pie, a 2.5-pound meal with layers of seasoned beef, root vegetables, and house-made mashed potatoes and rich beef gravy. “The shepherd’s pie remains our most unique and popular item,” says owner Justin Day, whose mother and father opened Jessop’s a quartercentury ago. “We want to provide foods and drinks that [customers] would not be able to get anywhere in Delaware and in some cases nowhere else in the country.” Open seven days a week, Jessop’s offers food and alcohol take-out. Customers can also order lunch or dinner all day. During the height of Covid-19, Day combined both menus to give customers the option of ordering every item. “Take out really got us through,” he says. “Customers couldn’t come in and sit down, but they could still order they’re favorite meal, beer, or cocktail.” Yes, Jessop’s is a full liquor store as well. Day explains that the business has a grandfathered dual liquor license, a rarity in Delaware. ►



BROADENING THE PALATTE continued from previous page


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“We offer gift packs, growlers, and all bottles to go, and some wine and liquor,” says Day, who adds that Jessop’s carries more than 250 Belgian beers and has 30 beers on tap. Local patron Erick Hoxter says Jessop’s amazing staff, cool colonial ambiance, and large selection of Belgian beer makes it one of the best places to play chess. “It's tough to imagine a time where I wouldn't have a beer while pushing pawns,” Hoxter says. Prior to Covid, Hoxter and other members of New Castle Chess Club met at Jessop’s Tuesday nights. For four consecutive years, they met to play, have dinner, drinks, and to catch up on each other’s lives. They hope to reunite soon.

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Bartender Benny Lopez serves up a cold one. Jessop's has won awards for its worldwide Belgian beer selection. Photo by Butch Comegys

Day says the restaurant’s success stems from loyal customers like Hoxter as well as the creative collaboration between him and chef Lee Ward and sous chef Raul Alday. He adds that he’s also learned how to handle challenges and learn from past mistakes. “Stick to your guns and do what you set out to do,” Day says. “Take a deep breath and don’t panic, how you react makes a difference.” What’s a new challenge for Jessop’s today? The restaurant is having a hard time finding a host/hostess along with two popular menu items — duck and pretzel rolls. 26 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


"We love it here," says Zollies owners Marc-Antony Williams and Suzette Singh. Photo by Butch Comegys

Zollies Jazz Cucina

A block from Jessop's sits the recently opened Zollies Jazz Cucina. A significant contrast from Jessop’s colonial theme, Zollies offers South American and Caribbean fusion cuisine. Inside, freshly painted cream-and-soft-blue walls give the place a relaxing feel. Its new bar made of wood and iron sits against exposed brick walls. “When we visited [the location], I really liked it and so did my partner Suzette Singh, said co-owner Marc-Antony Williams, a restaurant industry veteran who previously owned and operated Celebrations in Wilmington. “She was sold the minute we walked through the door. We looked at 10 different sites and settled here. We love it here.” Café New Castle previously operated where Zollies now resides. Built in the late 18th or early 19th century, the building has housed several businesses. According to New Castle Historic Society executive director Mike Connolly, the longest running one was a butcher shop named Tobin’s Meat Market during the 1920s. Besides meat dishes, Zollies brunch includes Caribbean stewed mussels, jerked or curried chicken, vegan curry, low-country shrimp with red rice or grits, southern fried smelts, and grilled chicken and avocado. Zollies also has expanded the restaurant’s back patio and to accommodate those who arrive by bike (Historic New Castle is just five miles from the Wilmington Riverfront via the Markell Trail), cyclists will have the use of bike racks and grab-and–go or sit-anddine meal packages. “The meal package would be a light one offering electrolyte replacement along with some carbs and protein,” Williams says. The restaurant is currently open for brunch only – Friday-Sunday from 11-3. Once the liquor license is approved, Zollies will serve dinner as well. With a smile, Williams says brunch is working out just fine since he’s not one to open for early-morning coffee. “If I can’t deal with myself in the morning, I can’t deal with anyone else.” Zollies is named after Williams’ grandmother Zolly, and for his love of live music and being in the kitchen. His culinary influence stems from his North Carolina roots as well as his travels in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Florida. Williams says his love of cooking comes from his grandmother, his mother Ethel May, and Rehoboth Beach restaurateur John Orlando. At home, his large family ate, laughed, and cooked together, he adds. “Every chef wants people to like their food, but more than anything I want people to come together through my food,” says Williams. “I want to be that restaurant where people come to feel good, to meet up with each other, to meet new people, or just to have a drink alone after a long day. I want to be that place for people.” ►


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Booth House Tavern

BROADENING THE PALATTE continued from previous page

Cheryl Carey, of New Castle, has been to Zollies for Sunday brunch and welcomes its addition to the town’s dining scene. Carey is an innkeeper and administrator at the David Finney Inn, a three-story, 338-years-old building located between Jessop’s and Zollies at 222 Delaware Street. On the third floor, the inn offers two Airbnbs with modern amenities. Carey says that guests come from all over the country, adding that she’s already booked for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Booth House Tavern, which opened in Nov. 2020, is conveniently located on the building’s first floor. There is also a café on the first floor that offers cyclists, locals, and Airbnb guests coffee, pastries, and grab-and-go sandwiches. Booth House’s cuisine is the creation of chef Samuel K. Wall, a graduate of the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University says Mia deMarteleire, Booth House’s director of operations and hospitality. On the menu expect to find rack of lamb (rosemary mustard crusted lollipop with port wine reduction and choice of potato and vegetable), sea bass (pan-seared with poblano sauce over roasted yellow pepper grits) and filet mignon (with shallot horseradish butter, choice of potato and vegetable). For the freshest of herbs, tomatoes, and edible flowers, Wall grows microgreens in a hydroponic area near the kitchen. Produce is purchased from local farms. And The patio at historic Booth House Tavern. if things stay on Photo courtesy Joe Hoddinott Photography schedule, an on-site brewery — HammerGod Brewing Company — will be open this month. Booth House offers outdoor dining near the rock fountain or inside at one of its wine-barrel tables. The building’s second floor has private dining rooms that can be booked for special events. Named after attorney David Finney who bought the inn in 1757, the building is located directly across the street from the New Castle Courthouse. Here, in 1776, Delaware declared its independence from Great Britain. The Booth family purchased the building in 1794. Chief Justice James Booth Jr. was born here. Throughout the centuries, a slew of businesses and owners have occupied the property. Now, current property owner Richard Marcozzi II, a resident of New Castle, is reviving the Booth House Tavern name.


Chelsea Tavern has become a gathering spot for a diverse range of clientele. Owner Joe Van Horn (with glasses) and staff take pride in that. Photo by Joe del Tufo

Earning His Stripes Restaurant veteran Joe Van Horn doesn't shy away from a battle — and he has the scars to prove it By Pam George


hen it comes to Delaware’s restaurant’s scene, Joe Van Horn has seen it all — the good, the bad, the risky and the ridiculous. And like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps going. Since 2010, he’s been plugging along at Chelsea Tavern, located across from the Grand Opera House on Market Street. Van Horn’s pub has lasted much longer than the tony 821 that occupied the space during MBNA’s heyday. Sean McNeice, the opening chef at Chelsea Tavern, credits his former partner’s smarts. “He’s a pragmatic guy,” McNeice says. “He’s a wise-ass, too, so he’s my kind of people.” Van Horn likely has more restaurant experience than many people in New Castle County, McNeice adds. “Joe is a survivor,” agrees Xavier Teixido, who worked with Van Horn at 1492 Hospitality Group in the 1980s. “He’s been able to survive an amazing amount of diverse experiences.” Even the worst experience has left Van Horn with a great story to tell. ► NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM 29

Life Lessons

EARNING HIS STRIPES continued from previous page

The “Delco” native is no stranger to raising eyebrows. Growing up in Prospect Park, he was the fifth of six children. Only three students came from a divorced family in his entire Catholic school: Van Horn and his two brothers. Van Horn began washing dishes to pay for tuition at St. James Catholic High School for Boys in Chester. He continued juggling fulltime restaurant jobs while attending West Chester University. His on-the-job lessons came with some hard knocks. At one venue, Van Horn wheeled the wedding cake onto the dance floor to an explosion of guest applause. When Van Horn pulled up short, the cake kept going. The sweet splatter on the dance floor — and Van Horn — made it into the wedding album. Then there was the time he cleared the plates around a crowded table of 12. “I’m trying to get in there, and I literally pour cold mussels marinara down a woman’s back,” he says. “She screams, and I run out of the dining room.” The woman, who was celebrating her birthday, was wearing her birthday gift: a red silk dress. She went home and changed, and every time Van Horn entered the room, all the guests backed away from the table in jest. “They wound up requesting me for the next two years,” he said. The fun in West Chester stopped in 1989, when Van Horn got a DUI and lost his license. His father offered the 20-year-old a place to stay in Wilmington. He also helped him get a job at a nearby restaurant: the Columbus Inn.

Setting Sail Initially, Van Horn waited tables in the iconic Wilmington restaurant. Because he had banquet experience, he started overseeing the second-floor private rooms. “It was the ’80s and the early ’90s, and pharmaceutical companies spent a ton of money, which meant I was making really good money,” he recalls. Van Horn had no trouble carrying heavy trays up two flights of steps. In fact, he was known for it. “I fell on the steps once and didn’t drop a plate,” he says proudly. “Two guys from the party had to come and lift the tray so I could get up.” At that time, the Columbus Inn was a smoker’s paradise — the line cook puffed away while watching his saucepans. Bar patrons could buy fine cigars. “We sold about $15,000 worth of tobacco products a year,” says Van Horn, who became the restaurant’s general manager in the mid1990s. “ So, in 2002, when Delaware prohibited smoking tobacco in most indoor public places, the Columbus Inn staff was nervous and upset. On Nov. 26, the day before the law took effect, the restaurant hosted “Smokin’ Joe’s Last Hurrah: Party to the Last Gasp!” The bartender, Bill Walker, wore a gas mask from the Korean War, and there was a cardboard cutout of then Gov. Ruth Ann Minner with a hole for a mouth so people could insert cigars and cigarettes. The eye-stinging smoke blanketed the room. “You could barely see across the bar, and we filled every seat — upstairs, downstairs, the dining room — everywhere,” says Van Horn. Major Philadelphia news reporters gathered in the parking lot to make reports on the activity. It did not go unnoticed. Afterward, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner sent a letter vowing that “no state employee would ever dine at the Columbus Inn again,” Van Horn said. 30 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

Moving on Main Street Van Horn, who also managed Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House and Saloon, was not afraid to voice his opinion. He told owner Davis Sezna to nix the liver entrée. “We buy 10 pounds, and I eat six,” he recalled telling his boss. “We’re not selling enough.” Van Horn and Columbus Inn’s chef, David Peterson, were in talks with Sezna to open a restaurant. But the timing was never right. However, restaurateur David Dietz was ready to make a move on a property in the Galleria on Main Street in Newark. The three men became partners, and Van Horn and Peterson gutted the Newark restaurant by day and worked at the Columbus Inn at night. On Nov. 4, at 4 p.m., Columbus Inn served the men their walking papers. It was Van Horn’s birthday, and his wife, Kerry, planned to meet him for dinner at the restaurant. They wound up at Grotto Pizza, where they exchanged anxious looks while their daughter ate. On his way home, Van Horn swung by Kid Shelleen’s; locksmiths were already changing the locks. Van Horn worked as a server at Harry’s Savoy Grill until Shaggy’s on Main opened on May 13, 2005. It was an inauspicious date considering the space had been home to Brickyard Tavern & Grill and at least four other failed restaurants. However, the partners had given it a fresh look. The $800,000 in renovations combined multiple spaces and added a new kitchen with a steamer for seafood. Van Horn would have been happy paying two electric bills for the separate areas, but the city demanded one system, a project that cost more than $17,000. Along with the new kitchen, the seafood restaurant boasted an accomplished chef and an impressive menu. At the time, any Newark establishment that served alcohol for consumption on premises had to be a restaurant, and a large portion of

Joe Van Horn with partner Elvis Rosales in front of Chelsea Tavern. Photo by Joe del Tufo




continued from previous page revenue — at least 60% — had to come from food sales. Shaggy’s proximity to the campus made it a popular spot for students — and, therefore, a target for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s endorsement arm. Van Horn reduced the hours and entertainment schedule to discourage the perception that Shaggy’s was a watering hole. Sales dropped, and Shaggy’s closed on New Year’s Eve 2007. “We weren’t doing anything that anybody else wasn’t doing,” Van Horn says now. “We were the ones that got singled out.” He will never open a business in Newark again, he vows. ‘I have trouble dropping my daughter off at college. But I’ve made peace with it. It took me a while.”

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Van Horn had been the face and the voice of Shaggy’s in the press. After it closed, the chance of landing a new position looked slim, despite his storied experience. Then came an interview at Conley Ward’s, an ambitious steak house on the still-developing Wilmington Riverfront. The business had moved into the old Backstage Café, one of the first restaurants in that area, and completed a reported $1.5 million in renovations. There was a 9-foot-high glass wine room with 1,800plus bottles, booths and a granite-topped bar. The appeal, however, was not the steak. It was the operation’s expansive Penelope’s on the Deck overlooking the riverfront. The entire operation was later rebranded C.W. Harborside Restaurant Bar & Patio. Either way, “it was the most dysfunctional place I’ve ever worked in my life,” says Van Horn, who became general manager. “The giant outdoor nightclub had nothing but problems.” Thanks to Shaggy’s, Van Horn had experience in crowd control and booking entertainment. On a good night, the restaurant pulled in $50,000 in sales. But it wasn’t enough to appease the financial backer. When Philadelphia-based Public House moved into 900 N. Market St. in October 2009, the chain agreed to manage C.W. Harborside. Regardless, C.W. Harborside closed in 2010. In recent years, Docklands Riverfront has run a separate hospitality business in the space.

Taking a Chance Downtown Meanwhile, the Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) was consuming Wilmington real estate, and new residents needed activities. The developer contacted Scott Morrison, a wellknown Main Line restaurateur. While touring

potential sites, Morrison dined at Mikimotos Asian Grill and met chef Sean McNeice, who had worked with Van Horn at the Columbus Inn. Morrison liked the old 821 space on Market Street, and McNeice reached out to Van Horn. Although skeptical, Van Horn agreed to tour the site and meet Morrison, a Cornell University graduate who was “welleducated, cutting-edge — very flamboyant,” Van Horn says. The three partners signed the lease in December 2009, but then Morrison was unavailable for 30 days. Van Horn and McNeice cleaned the space, which still had glasses on the bar, and met with vendors. When Morrison came back to the restaurant, the trio turned it into Chelsea Tavern in six weeks. They opened in March 2010. Chelsea Tavern, a craft beer destination, was primarily the vision of McNeice, who’d overseen the Washington Street Ale House’s menu. Beer was an ingredient in many of the dishes. Van Horn was happy with a Budweiser. Suffice it to say, all three partners were dealing with demons, and it was “a fire waiting to happen,” says Van Horn. In fall 2011, McNeice left to help open Ulysses American Gastropub in North Wilmington. Morrison turned his attention to opening Ernest & Scott Taproom in the old Public House location. Shortly afterward, Van Horn stopped drinking and lost 60 pounds. (He keeps a photograph of his overweight self in his office to curb his appetite.) He concentrated on Chelsea Tavern until Morrison opened a Wayne restaurant and asked Van Horn to watch Ernest & Scott. The pair planned to open 3 Doors Brewing Co. on Market Street, whose social scene was expanding. Things looked promising.

Dodging Curveballs Then, on Valentine’s Day 2016, Van Horn got a phone call. At age 54, Morrison had died in his sleep from a massive coronary. “It was Sunday

brunch, and there was a dance competition at the Grand Opera House,” Van Horn recalls. “We were beyond mobbed. For the next eight hours, I had to work.” Van Horn did not want Ernest & Scott, but Morrison’s estate insisted on the package deal. Later, Van Horn told Rob Buccini that he would “run,” not just walk away if they made a clean break. On Dec. 31, 2019, BPG let him out of the Ernest & Scott lease, but Van Horn wanted to honor a January commitment to a bride and groom. “I couldn’t say no to that lady, so we ended up doing taxes that year because we stayed open for 12 days,” he says. Van Horn moved his best people at Ernest & Scott to Chelsea Tavern, including Elvis Rosales, now a partner. When the pandemic hit, the staff dwindled to Van Horn, Rosales and the chef, who worked open to close, seven days a week, filling takeout orders. When restaurants could open, Chelsea Tavern went back to its regular hours, including Saturday and Sunday brunch. “We stayed open until 1 a.m. every morning, and we became the only place that stayed open until 1 a.m.,” he says. “On some days, our busiest time is 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.” In addition to serving Grand customers, the tavern is now a neighborhood gathering place for a diverse clientele. It also has a diverse staff. When Black Lives Matter protestors marched down Market Street, the team stood out front. “We weren’t going to let people go through our windows; it wasn’t going to happen,” Van Horn says. “We had some pushback, and we had other people in the crowd saying, ‘Leave them alone. They’re a great spot.’” He knows that Chelsea Tavern would likely make more money in a suburban setting. But like his sobriety, he’s invested too much time in the city location to let it go. However, he’s not ruling out a second Chelsea Tavern in the future. According to Van Horn: “My wife says I thrive on stress.”



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EAT Jim Pappas is on a quest to find the ultimate cheesesteak. Photo by Jim Miller

Steaking His Claim On an adventure to eat 1,000 different cheesesteaks, Jim Pappas tells how he got started on his culinary journey and what he looks for in every bite By Jim Miller


egend has it that Spanish explorer Ponce de León voyaged across the Atlantic Ocean in search of the Fountain of Youth — to no avail. It was worse for Col. Percy Fawcett, who ventured up the Amazon looking for the Lost City of Z and was never heard from again. El Dorado, one of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold, was what England’s Sir Walter Raleigh was seeking. Instead, he ended up with his head on a chopping block after members of his expedition broke a peace treaty with Spain. Probably not what he was banking on. One the other hand, food blogger Jim Pappas knows exactly what he’s looking for, and it’s only a matter of time (and calories) before he gets there. Pappas may not be as geographically ambitious as any of the beforementioned explorers, but in three and a half years he’s traveled to more than 940 regional restaurants and take-out joints in pursuit of his goal of eating and reviewing 1,000 different cheesesteaks. Most of the venues Pappas has patronized operate within 100 miles of Philadelphia. All of them have been rated on his blog, “Philadelphia Cheesesteak Adventure,” where he states that he is on a “quest for the ultimate cheesesteak.” ► NOVEMBER 2021



continued from previous page You may say Pappas’ cheesesteak adventure has become his personal fountain of youth — or at least an original and rejuvenating mid-life crisis. “I had done the corporate world thing,” Pappas says, going back six years ago. “I was married, my kids were college-aged and I’d had done 25 years in financial services. “My wife wanted to go back to work; I hated my career. So, I’m like, ‘Perfect, let’s do something fun and different. We’re still young and active.’ And she didn’t like that plan. So, we split up.” Pappas left his wife and his home in New Jersey six years ago and moved back to Wilmington, where he’d lived in his teens. “I went to Concord High School, so Claymont Steak Shop was always our go-to place for a cheesesteak,” Pappas says. Back in his old stomping grounds, Pappas began driving for Uber and Lyft to “make some money and figure out what to do next.” For a man on his way to having sampled 1,000 cheesesteaks, he is surprisingly fit. “I’ve actually lost weight since I started,” Pappas says. His secret? He only eats half the cheesesteak, usually giving the other half to a side-of-the-road homeless person on his driving routes. Or if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, he saves it for his brother-in-law who lives nearby. He also eats a lot of grapes at night, which he says fills him up without packing on additional pounds. During this interview at Wilmington Brew Works, Pappas brings his latest subject for review: a cheesesteak purchased 10 minutes earlier at Maryland Avenue Sub Shop. (He will later give the sandwich a solid rating of 90 out of 100.) In between bites and sips of beers, he tells the story of how past and present circumstances came together to lead him to his cheesesteak adventure.

O&A: Let’s start with the obvious question: Why are you doing this? What do you hope to accomplish eating and reviewing 1000 cheesesteaks?


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Pappas: I hoped to impress girls. [laughs] Actually, I’d just become single and ran into a woman who I now call my “ex-new best friend.” Claymont Steak Shop had a special place in each of our hearts. We didn’t want to do traditional dating. We didn’t want to just go sit in a movie theater. We didn’t want to sit at dinner. So, we went there. That was May 16, 2018. My first officially reviewed cheesesteak. From there we decided to go ask family and friends where their favorite cheesesteak shops were, and then we’d go try them. When I asked my riders about it, it became a two-fold thing because Lyft and Uber tell us that we have to get to know the areas so we can give recommendations to riders. I’m like, “Hmm, I’m in their neighborhood — because 95% of my riders are local — so maybe they could tell me where the best cheesesteak places are.” So, I started asking my riders and the passions for cheesesteaks came out. We were off and running.

O&A: When you say ex-new best friend, are you saying you are no longer friends with the woman who also loved Claymont Steak Shop — and that you decided to continue the quest without her? Pappas: Yes, we are no longer friends. When I met her, she was my “new best friend.” We wanted to do things together. So, we started sampling cheesesteaks. And now, she’s decided she doesn’t want to be my best friend anymore. [laughs] This all started as a way to impress this one particular woman. But to take it a step further, it’s also something to do that’s fun, different and creative. You know, I was 25 years corporate. I was a helicopter parent. I made sure my kids got good grades, and they both ended up going to the federal academy. I let them know, “Hey, my goal is to get you set up to have a nice steady, stable career. But now that you’re here, you don’t always have to draw inside the lines.” The deep thought is that we do get into bubbles. We all get into our little bubbles, in our little worlds. And I tell people all the time that there are places that I used to drive by, lock my doors and never consider going in. Now, I go in and have a great cheesesteak. I got caught up in the passion of cheesesteaks. When I ask someone about their favorite cheesesteak, I don't hear about “seeded roll” or “sliced ribeye with provolone cheese.” I hear about “my dad’s favorite place” or “where we went after practice” or “where I went on my first date.” It’s very personal. O&A: Talk us through the process. What is your ritual when you review a cheesesteak? Pappas: I usually don’t call ahead. Because I’m an Uber [and Lyft] driver, I drive in the mornings and when it gets to be lunchtime and I get hungry, I ask my rider where to go for a cheesesteak or stop in someplace that is close to wherever I’m at around that time. I usually don’t introduce myself when I’m in there. But I may be wearing my shirt, which has my [blog] logo on it. The scoring system is five categories of a possible 20 points each: roll, meat, cheese, extras and overall [taste]. When I first started doing it, my ordering was very strict: American cheese, fried onions, mushrooms, lettuce and tomato. I got a lot of grief for lettuce and tomato, but I did that for freshness. You can toast a roll and you can flavor old meat, but when it comes to the freshness of lettuce and tomato, you can’t hide that. … But got a lot of grief for it. So, I don’t do the lettuce and tomato anymore. But I also got a lot of grief for the mushrooms. I still come across a lot of people that don’t like mushrooms. You get the “traditionalists.” If someone comes at you with a comment, it’s always, “Well, I [like the] traditional style. You know, meat and cheese.” All traditionalists. And I’m always like, “Well, if you go to a good steak house, you generally get a side of caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Adds a little flavor.” Yeah, so if you do have good mushrooms, that’s your thing. Some people say, “Oh, they’re always canned.” I’m like, “Well, that’s kind of the point: Let’s see who does the good mushrooms; who goes that extra step.” So that’s all under the [scoring category of] extras. ► NOVEMBER 2021


O&A: Ok, so you have the five categories. That makes sense. But is there one category that you feel is more important than the others when it comes to the ultimate cheesesteak?

Sat, Nov 6

O&A: Can you give us some of your favorite Delaware cheesesteaks?

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Pappas: Well, Wilmington’s got a very good cheesesteak scene, a good sandwich

— For more reviews of the 940 places Pappas has visited, see

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scene. Probably continued from previous page right now, Zach’s Grill in New Castle. They’ve been there nine months. Zach’s is probably my top-quality cheesesteak in Delaware. TenderBones Rib Shack in Bear, which I reviewed in August, is also very good. Scalessa’s Old School Italian Kitchen [in 40 Acres]. Donnie [Scalessa] makes a nice cheesesteak. He loves his meatballs, too. Gaudiello’s in Trolley. God, I love Gaudiello’s… Ioannoni’s makes a good one. And Little Vinnie’s has a garlic bread special and a Little Vinnie’s special. I asked him if he could combine the two, and he did. That was really tasty. Went to Casapulla’s in Elsmere. Saw Lou [Casapulla] when I was there. Good cheesesteak. It was solid. There are plenty of cheesesteaks in Philadelphia that are overrated. Some of the best Philly cheesesteaks aren’t even in Philly. What I like about Delaware is we have a nice, above-average cheesesteak scene.

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Pappas: People always ask me, “Do you get tired of eating cheesesteaks?” I get tired of eating the same old “pizza shop cheesesteak,” where you got some 19-year-old kid on the grill. You’ll find that it’s not really that different from a cheesesteak at the pizza shop next door. So sometimes, I’ll be going along and keep getting that same “pizza shop cheesesteak.” And I’ll say to myself, “Okay, the roll makes a difference, the cheese makes a difference, the amount of cheese makes a difference.” Then you come across the cheesesteak that’s made with good meat, and you’re like, “Holy shit!” [wide-eyed expression] The cheesesteak is mostly about the meat.

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In Defense of…YACHT ROCK How an obscure comedy web series helped re-popularize the music it made fun of, relaunching the careers of musicians in their sunset By Jim Miller


mooth. That is the operative word when talking about Yacht Rock. While you may not be familiar with the term “Yacht Rock,” you most certainly have heard songs from the genre. Comprising dozens of Top Ten hits, the category is mostly composed of easygoing music written and recorded in the Los Angeles area from the mid-‘70s through the early ‘80s. During that time, this music was most likely referred to as AM Gold, Adult-Oriented Rock or Soft Rock. But, by a humorous twist of fate, it would be rebranded decades later as Yacht Rock. Music that, in a word, could be universally defined as “smooth.” Think breezy melodies, jazz chord progressions played on a Fender Rhodes, and slick studio productions. Songs like “What A Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers, “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan and Toto’s “Africa.” The prototypical Yacht Rock song incorporates elements of other genres, but it does not clearly belong to any of them. Instead, it drifts luxuriously between the ports of other styles. It’s smooth, but more sophisticated in structure than straight-ahead pop. Usually upbeat, but nowhere nearly as rowdy as hard rock. Soulful, but typically not as emotionally intense as R&B. At its best, Yacht Rock conjures imagery of a boat party off the coast of Catalina Island during the sunset of the ‘70s. Tunes that, like the Brie at the party’s charcuterie table, are nearly impossible to resist — wonderfully cheesy and possibly addictive.

At its worst, Yacht Rock can get lost in the Bermuda Triangle of elevator music with songs that stray off course into sappy sentimentalism and/or moanfully bad cliches. In that respect, critics of the genre present a point worth noting. Regardless of good or bad, these attributes make the genre — and most importantly the artists who performed the songs — a perfect target for parody. Which is exactly what happened in 2005, when the comedy series that coined the term “Yacht Rock,” debuted on the internet.

This Is It: Yacht Rock

Launched in 2002 in Los Angeles, Channel 101 began as a monthly short-film festival where audience members voted on their favorite shorts, all of which had to be a length of five minutes or less. After the votes were tabulated, the top-five selections would win “prime-time” spots on the Channel 101 website. Series that continued to get voted into the top five would earn another month on the website and another chance to submit a new entry the following month. Those falling short of the top-five would be “canceled.” Three years into the Channel 101 experiment, a short called Yacht Rock cruised into the competition. After sailing off in the first-place position that night, it went on to break all Channel 101 records by continuing to be a top-five finisher for nine consecutive months. Ten episodes were created from 2005 to 2006. At the time, no other series had previously lasted that long. ▶




IN DEFENSE OF... A hybrid of documentary and music continued from previous page video, the first episode reimagines how a chipper Kenny Loggins and a down-onhis-luck Michael McDonald first meet on the way to becoming Yacht Rock superstars. An interaction with a drunk Jim Messina sees the new duo inspired to write “What A Fool Believes.” The episode ends on a comedic cliffhanging confrontation with Darryl Hall and John Oates, who are portrayed largely like bullies in an Afterschool Special. If high-production values are a Released this summer, Yacht hallmark of the Yacht Rock genre, the Soul shows how much Black opposite could be said of Yacht Rock music influenced the White the web series, with purposefully stale artists of the Yacht Rock genre, and vice versa. acting, bad costumes, and scenes filmed in back yards and alleyways. None of that really mattered, though. In fact, it merely added to the charm. Conceptually, Yacht Rock echoed the humor of MAD Magazine and Airplane! Following episodes would go on to cleverly poke fun at other artists of the era like Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Toto, the Eagles, Peter Cetera, James Ingram, The Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson — and even Van Halen, Willie Nelson and Warren G. (in a flash-forward episode). McDonald is perhaps the artist who gets piled on the most with running jokes of him worrying about being “irrelevant.” Despite the digs, the musician said that he found the show “hilarious,” adding in 2008 that “those things always have a little bit of truth to them.” As years went by, McDonald and other Yacht Rockers would have the last laugh. After the series landed on YouTube in 2007, it began building a much wider audience. So much so that an eleventh episode was filmed in 2007 and a twelfth in 2010. Inevitably, the show’s building popularity helped lead a Yacht Rock music resurgence. For some less-known acts, like Ambrosia and Player, it would bring life back to their faded careers. Even bigger acts, like Hall & Oates credit the Yacht Rock phenom for recharging things. “I think Yacht Rock was the beginning of this whole Hall & Oates resurrection,” said John Oates in a 2007 interview.

Yesterday’s Rock, Today’s Yacht Today that first episode of Yacht Rock has amassed more than 46,000 views on the Channel 101 website and a whopping 1.2 million views on YouTube with another 280,000 via the channel’s HD version. As Channel 101 creators have written on their site: “Yacht Rock enjoyed success on levels and in ways previously unattained by 101 shows, its title becoming a household phrase at radio stations, a bin at your local record story, and a category on iTunes.” From the trend has emerged a devoted SiriusXM station, multiple Spotify playlists, popular podcasts, and scores of Yacht Rock cover bands such as Yacht Rock Revue. Starting in a small bar in Atlanta in 2007, Yacht Rock Revue now draws thousands of fans when playing more than 100 shows across the country each year. The band’s annual gala has attracted guest-stars like Bobby Kimball of Toto, Elliot Lurie of Looking Glass, and Robbie Dupree. “There were four, five years I couldn’t get arrested,” Dupree said of this career after his 1980 hit, “Steal Away,” in a Wall Street Journal interview. But with the rise in Yacht Rock’s popularity, Dupree saw a 2015 tour with similar acts draw thousands of fans — more than he had seen in decades. Six years later, the ship shows little signs of slowing. Yacht Rock Revue closed out this year’s tour at the end of October and is already 40 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

promoting its five February dates in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. In Delaware, this year has also seen the local rise of 3 Hour Tour, a Yacht Rock composed some of the area’s most seasoned musicians. In June, Rolling Stone published “Yacht Rock: An Album Guide,” which covers the must-haves and deep-dives of the genre. July saw the release of Yacht Soul, a twoalbum compilation of Yacht Rock favorites covered by soul and R&B artists and features the likes of Aretha Franklin covering “What A Fool Believes,” Chaka Khan doing Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere,” and Quincy Jones on The Doobies’ “Taking It to the Streets.” The album proves just how much Black music influenced the primarily White artists who originally wrote the material — while underscoring the extent to which many of those musicians were involved in that L.A. music scene during that era. Jones was certainly a mover and shaker at the time and, in addition to leaning on members of Toto for his recording productions, he also relied heavily on Brothers Johnson and Greg Phillinganes, popular studio musicians who have original recordings on Yacht Soul (written by members of Toto and Steely Dan, respectively). Not by pure coincidence, Phillinganes plays keyboards on John Mayer’s summer hit, “Last Train Home,” which easily could have been called “Last Yacht Home.” The opening synth lines echo those of Toto’s “Africa”— a band Phillinganes played with from 2003 to 2008. “Killer new track John,” Toto’s Steve Lukather wrote on Mayer’s Instagram post, when he released the song on June 9. It would peak at #13 on the U.S. Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. In an interview with the Blackbird Spyplane newsletter, Mayer explained the ‘80s vibe “Last Train Home” and other songs on his new album Sob Music. “I think if you’re wise enough and care enough about the thing you’re doing, you can go back to another time and reanimate it… find a way not to reproduce something but continue to produce it from the original loom.” Smooth. Yes, that’s the operative word when discussing Yacht Rock music. But in terms of a genre of music, the word is “perennial.” Many songs and styles go in and out of fashion, again and again, like the tides. In similar fashion, Yacht Rocks’s key elements continue to resurface and be rediscovered — today, 45 years after they first became popular. Yes, the Yacht sails on… And, to think: It all started with a few laughs. NOVEMBER 2021







A Fire

Delaware-based Steel Blu Vodka strives to build its reputation in a crowded field

By Jill Althouse-Wood Photos by Butch Comegys

Special accounts representative Joe Ross (pictured above) says Steel Blu's goal is to develop a product that people ask for by name.


hink alcoholic beverage production in Delaware and minds immediately leap to Dogfish Head Brewery — not quite ground zero of the craft brew revolution but not far off. Dogfish Head’s exponential expansion from a kitchen table experiment involving cherries to the behemoth it is today is the stuff of legend. DFH’s success can also be measured in the dozens of breweries now scattered over Delaware today. But beer isn’t the only game in the state. In 2013, Painted Stave brought a similar craftsman’s approach to the distilling of fine spirits in Delaware. Being the first in the first state, they had to help rewrite local laws, paving the way not only for their success but for future liquor distilleries within the state. Taking advantage of this opening, a new spirits company out of Bear has been quietly producing vodka for the last two years and gaining traction in the local market. Though their beginnings have been small and unceremonious — much like Dogfish Head before them — Steel Blu Vodka also has its sights set on a national marketplace. People whisper about the origin story of Steel Blu Vodka as if it is a secret, but the truth is as unsurprising as a local restaurateur who loved vodka-soaked cherries (a fruit that is making its refrain known in local lore) and dreamed of funding a vodka distillery. For Domenico Procope, it was a dream come true. ► NOVEMBER 2021



LIGHTING A FIRE Vodka is a clean spirit, with continued from previous page the kind of versatility that makes it the most popular spirit in the world. It is created by converting any foodstuff that contains sugar or starch into alcohol through fermenting and distilling. During Prohibition, resourceful folks wishing to skirt legality, concocted recipes using what was on hand — mostly grains in this region. To test the quality of the moonshine, bootleggers would take a flame to their product. If the batch was of superior quality, it would produce a light blue flame. From this story Steel Blu Vodka took its name, and if one thing defines the brand, it is that goal of superiority. Like Tito’s, the top-selling vodka in the U.S., Steel Blu makes its vodka from corn. They employ a hand-crafted process, distilling the vodka six times to produce a signature smoothness. Now, two years into their business plan, Steel Blu Vodka is available in Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The last market came into realization specifically because Delaware’s legislators to the U.S. Congress wanted a product made from their own state available to them in the D.C. market.

Steel Blu is now available in Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Those markets are just the beginning of a dream to go national. Steel Blu is working to expand into New Jersey next. They are growing slowly, making sure they have the capacity to support each market as they go. It is still a handcrafted process, from start to finish. The company recently automated the labeling process. Previously, they were putting every label on every bottle by hand. Steel Blu is also looking to expand its line to include its first flavored vodka — no, not the sentimental favorite cherry — but orange, a choice reached through careful analysis of the marketplace. Joe Ross, a special accounts manager who has been at Steel Blu since its inception, explains the methodical growth. “We want to be sure of our footprint,” Ross says. “That we are well-placed. That our in-Delaware market is strong. 44 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

Our whole approach is to develop and supporting other local a brand that people are asking for businesses with their endeavors. [by name]. When the pandemic hit, Steel “Before we ever bottle the Blue was still in its first year of current Steel Blu Vodka, we do production, but the company blind taste testing with an excess of switched production from vodka 2,000 people with six vodkas before to hand sanitizer — a scarce them — our vodka and five of our commodity at that time. They competitors. We’ve done extremely could have charged a premium well in side-by-side comparison. for their product, but instead Our vodka has been quite favorably delivered their sanitizer free of rated by our panels.” charge to local hospitals, police Kelly Minemier, an on-thestations, fire stations, restaurants, ground sales development rep for and liquor stores. Steel Blu, attests to the enthusiasm “Steel Blu is a small, for the product when she gets it in family-run business,” says Biagio Procope, an apprentice distiller for Steel Blu, works the labeling front of potential customers. Minemier. “It was important machine at the company's Bear distillery. “People describe our vodka to us, right from the start, that as ‘clean and smooth’ when they we implement a culture of service, taste it,” Minemier says. “And when they hopes of increasing brand awareness in family, and community.” find out it is locally made, they make it existing markets and forging new paths to consumers in future markets. a point to support us.” — You can find Steel Blu at many However, though the company has local restaurants and bars and at area With such a positive reception from those who have tried it, the national aspirations, Steel Blu strives liquor stores. Try it in your holiday themed success of the brand will come down to to be a community business: partnering cocktails or give it as a gift. (Out-of-state marketing. This month, the company in efforts for a vibrant local restaurant relatives will be impressed.) For more info, hired a new marketing director with scene, participating in charity events go to




Enhancing The Feast Wine suggestions to accompany your Thanksgiving celebration


hanksgiving is meant to be a celebration of harvest with family. And since wine always seems to be on the table, here are some of my favorite suggestions. Each of these wines will accompany your meal and some of them I will be pouring at my Thanksgiving table. By the way, bubbles are always a great way to begin. • Mumm’s Napa Valley Brut Prestige A clean, crisp delicate dry sparkling made with chardonnay and pinot noir. • Mumm’s Brut Rose This sparking is made mostly with pinot noir. It has rich creamy berry component that also finishes with delicate bubbles.

REDS • J Lohr Valdiguie Stainless steel fermentation creates this Monterey fruit that is also known as Napa gamay. This varietal has wonderful brambly fruit flavors with good acidity. Pomegranate and blueberry leads to a touch of spice on the finish. • Sheldrake Gamay Noir Sheldrake Point Winery is located on the western bank of Lake Cayuga, N.Y. Lots of red fruit, violets, herbs and cloves dissolved into tart cherries and soft silky earthiness. • Red Tail Ridge Estate Blaufrankisch This winery is located just west of Lake Seneca, N.Y.. Blaufrankisch is more well known in Austria and grows well in this cool climate. The wines show aromas of ripe plum and cedar while star anise lends itself to wonderful cocoa powder and peppercorn finish. • Helioterra Winery Whoa Nelly Pinot Noir 2019 This small production of pinot noir hails from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This wine shows flavors of cherry, raspberry and gooseberry and surrounds itself with plum, cola and earthy baking spices. • Moshin Westside Crossing Pinot Noir Medium ruby in color with a bright edge. Aromas of cherry, dried flowers, and orange zest explode in your glass. Lingering flavors of strawberries, black cherries and baking spice gives credibility to the Russian River fruit. 46 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM |

• Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone The Pedroncelli family are dear friends of mine. It is always nice to visit this family-owned estate winery, which has been in business since 1927. The Mother Clone Vineyard was first planted in 1904 and replanted in 1980. It is always a benchmark for vintages in the Dry Creek American Viticultural Area (AVA). This wine features ripe blackberry fruit coupled with brambly spice fruit flavors.

WHITES • Ribbon Ridge Ridgecrest In the small appellation of the Willamette Valley, Ridgecrest is located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Harry Peterson-Nedry, an early pioneer of the Willamette Valley, and daughter Wynn have teamed to make incredible wines. The 2019 Gruner Veltliner is a mediumbodied dry white wine. Bright aromas of oyster shells, white flower and jalapeño with a clean finish. It has flavors of lemon curd, yellow apple and white pepper. The 2019 Pinot Gris exhibits hints of honeydew melon, flint and slate. Flavors of peach and star fruit fill the mouth and finish with clean, creamy minerality. • Hermann J. Wiemer New York Finger Lakes Dry Riesling Selected blocks in this estate allows extended hang time. This develops structure and complexity, showing hints of minerality and a floral nose and flavors. • Gundlach Bundschu Winery Gewurtztraminer This historic winery was established in 1858 and is located in Sonoma Valley. Gundlach Bundschu’s Gewurtztraminer is tremendous. It’s fermented dry with no residual sugar and exhibits aroma of lychee fruit, roses and honeysuckle. It’s clean, bright and has a nice spicy finish. — John Murray is co-owner of State Line Liquors in Elkton, Md. He has written about wine for this magazine for many years.



STARS µµµµµ

Great Expectations New Dune film beautiful but nearly devoid of life By Mark Fields


really, really wanted to like Dune. Oh, believe me, I did. But unfortunately, I cannot say that, and I am sorry. The newest adaptation of the epic Frank Herbert novel (incidentally, the bestselling sci-fi book in the world) features striking images that evoke some of the immensity and otherness of Herbert’s universe. As directed by the accomplished Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), Dune embodies much of the lyric mysticism of the story of Paul Atreides and his transformative experience on the desert planet of Arrakis. And, it is well cast, especially with the ethereal Timothée Chalamet in the central role. But despite these strengths, Dune ultimately disappoints because it feels like it was made primarily for fangirls and boys, putting their fevered imaginings onto screen without providing a compelling human story to accompany them. Like Arrakis itself, Dune is starkly beautiful but nearly devoid of life. First published in 1965, Dune and the five Herbert books that followed it were devoured and loved by dreamy adolescents (including me). Much like another all-encompassing story of the era, The Lord of the Rings, Herbert created an incredibly complex and unfamiliar world, filled with political intrigue, strange people and cultures, personal and societal conflicts, and layers upon layers of secret agendas. The intricacy of the story arc and the philosophical musings that undergird it are

much of the reason that Dune has defied previous attempts of adaptation into a movie. In fact, Villeneuve’s new version is the first of two parts that will only cover events in the first book. Even a rough synopsis for this review seems futile, but for some context, Dune involves a mysterious substance called spice that has both practical and metaphysical uses, and whose production on Arrakis rewards some characters and threatens others. Into this scenario comes young Paul Atreides, whose lifepath get altered by his experiences with the planet and its native inhabitants, the Fremen. So why then, given the vastness of the Dune mythology and the myriad complications of its story, does director Villeneuve spend so much of the ponderously long film focused on the ►

Above: Timothée Chalamet plays the lead role of Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve's long-awaited adaption of Frank Herbert's Dune. NOVEMBER 2021



WATCH continued from previous page

Villeneuve opts to have a star-studded cast play second fiddle to an array of visual effects.





take-offs and landings of strange spacecraft, the purposeful striding of small groups of people through large, odd-looking places, and languorous sweeps across the alien landscapes? It seems that his primary intent was to depict the exotic beauty of Dune rather than tell its tales. Yes, there are attempts, even serious ones, to try to capture the narrative throughline of the novel, as well as the spiritual undertone. But for me, who had read the book and watched earlier iterations of the story on film, it was still confusing, opaque, and unsatisfying. My viewing partner, who was not a particular devotee, was often completely lost in the arcane plot machinations. Although well cast, the actors — which include not only Chalamet but also Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, and Rebecca Ferguson — struggled to create fully formed characters with such cryptic narrative and a director thoroughly distracted by the visuals. Many times, they felt like smaller, organic versions of the fascinating machines and architecture in the background: lovely to look at but difficult to feel connected to. That’s disappointing because Villeneuve would have seemed to have been the ideal director for this project. After all, his haunting Arrival transcended the tropes of its alien-invasion genre to be a touching and grounded experience. On the other hand, his valiant but disappointing fantasy sequel, Blade Runner 2049, suffered from a similar substitution of stunning imagery for satisfying cinematic story. There are some, perhaps many, filmgoers who will find this adaptation to be a thrilling evocation of their mental images of the Dune story. But for me, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune fails to deliver because it never really dips below the surface of the saga to explore in depth the human drama underneath. It serves more like a pretty picture book rather than a satisfying moving picture.



FIND IT ALL HERE: Torbert Street Social

Photo by Joe del Tufo



ayor Purzycki helped welcome four new homeowners to the City’s East Side at a recent dedication ceremony — sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of New Castle Co. — on the 800 block of Bennett St. “This was a long time coming, but it was always the City’s goal to see the Bennett Street project completed as quickly as possible and made available to families for homeownership,” said the Mayor. “Thanks to Kevin Smith and everyone at Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County who stepped in and took this project on. This block is now on the cusp of coming back to life as we continue to work together to strengthen and revive the entire neighborhood.”

Mayor Purzycki welcomes new homeowners to the East Side.



ormer Wilmington Mayor James H. Sills, Jr. celebrated his 90th birthday on Oct. 8, 2021. A native South Carolinian, Jim moved to Wilmington in 1959 and had an immediate impact on his new hometown, among other things serving as president of the Wilmington NAACP, founding director of the Urban Agent Program, and later founder of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council. He successfully supervised the desegregation of the City’s schools in 1978, taught at UD, served on City Council, and from 1984-1992 represented the 3rd District in the Delaware House of Representatives. In 1992 he became Wilmington’s first African American mayor, serving in that capacity until 2001. Former Wilmington mayors James Baker and Jim Sills and Mayor Purzycki meet to celebrate Sills’ 90th birthday.





ilmington’s Dept. of Public Works is again offering a Citywide leaf collection program, which began on Monday, October 18 and continues through Tues., December 21. City sweeper or vacuum trucks collect leaves from the street in designated areas. Residents must sweep all leaves into the street, next to the curb, for collection. The collection schedule can be accessed at: Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams said because not all streets can accommodate the City’s leaf vacuum vehicles, residents in those areas should put their leaves in brown paper bags and place the bags at the curb for pick up. Residents who use a private contractor for leaf removal should have the contractor coordinate leaf removal in accordance with this schedule, or else have the contractor bag the leaves in brown paper bags and place them at the curb. Public Works crews will pick up the leaves along with any other yard waste on Wednesdays. For more info. about the City’s Leaf Collection Program, please dial 3-1-1, or visit



ayor Purzycki was honored by the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation at its annual King Neptune Gala on Sept. 18. The Mayor received the King Neptune Award for his visionary leadership for the City as well as being “a strong and enthusiastic champion” of the Foundation and its mission. Her Excellency Karin Olofsdotter, Ambassador of Sweden to the U.S., was also in attendance.

Mayor Purzycki attends the annual Sixers’ Blue x White Scrimmage at the Chase Field House in October. Photo courtesy of Saquan Stimpson

Mayor Purzycki, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Brian and Megan McGlinchy at the 14th Annual King Neptune Gala.

Mayor Purzycki joined 4th District Council Member Michelle Harlee (far left) and Ulysses James (center) and family to officially open LOMA’s latest eatery, Amity Bistro, on Oct. 13.





Get out, enjoy nature, and dine from some of your favorite restaurants! The Riverfront is a perfect venue to enjoy the outdoors and walk our 1.75 mile Riverwalk along the beautiful Christina River! Additionally, the DuPont Environmental Education Center is now open to the public. DEEC’s nature trails, including the eight-mile Jack A. Markell Trail continues to be fully operational! Get out and enjoy some quality time in nature!

DCM is open on the Riverfront Tuesday-Thursday: 10am-3pm Friday: 10am-8pm ($5 admission from 5-8pm) Saturday-Sunday: 10am-5pm Admission: $12

Membership for the entire family is just $119 for the year

More Info:

(302) 654-2340 52 NOVEMBER 2021 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

25th Anniversary In 1995, the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware was created to oversee the growth and restoration of the public and private land surrounding the Christina River. Formally home to shipbuilding and industrial centers, the land had become deserted and largely unusable. Thus, RDC began the process of rehabbing the landscape and working with local and regional developers to revitalize the area. Now, celebrating our 25th anniversary, Riverfront Wilmington has become one of the area’s most vibrant and exciting destinations to live, play, and work. Once a largely abandoned shipyard, the riverfront is now teeming with residences, hotels, restaurants and indoor and outdoor attractions. As we enter our 26th year — and look beyond — the Riverfront Development Corporation is thrilled to continue the expansion of the Riverfront area as we move to the east side of the river. We can’t wait to celebrate everything Riverfront Wilmington has to offer with you all year long!


MON-FRI: 9AM-6PM SAT: 9AM-4PM Stop in and enjoy fresh produce, salads, sandwiches, coffee, pizza, sushi, Mexican,Thai cuisine and much more!

The Riverfront Market


for in-house indoor and outdoor dining

Banks’ Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar Big Fish Grill

Riverfront Bakery

Ciro Food & Drink

River Rock Kitchen



Del Pez

Taco Grande - NEW!

at the Riverfront Market!


The Juice Joint

Pachamama Peruvian Rotisserie Serena’s Soulfood

Drop Squad Kitchen

Timothy’s on the Riverfront

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Ubon Thai

Dine-in or carry out NOW OPEN



Enjoy Beautiful Fall Weather on the Riverfront ! Walk, run, or bike the 7.9 mile JAM Trail from Historic New Castle. Experience Nature and enjoy the outdoors along our beautiful Riverwalk.



Join the team at Two Stones Pub!