Out & About Magazine - February 2020

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The Benefits of Direct Primary Care

Claymont Transformation

Eye-Opening Visit to Guinness' Open Gate




For startups in Wilmington, the sky is the limit


Shout-out to all the local entrepreneurs—

and s ion at ul at r g on C s he is Best W ON CONTINUED SUCCESS! Wilmington is on the move— and we are so proud to know, work along, partner with and share in our city’s story! LEARN MORE:



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’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t know Rob Kalesse well. Certainly not like a family member. Or a longtime friend. That said, I did know Rob Kalesse as a journalist. And as a journalist myself, I saw a lot in Rob that I admired. So, in the fall of 2013, when he offered his talents to Out & About Magazine as a contributing writer, I was flattered and elated. For the better part of the past decade, Rob Kalesse made this magazine better. For that, I am eternally grateful. Late last month, Rob Kalesse passed after a battle with cancer. That wretched disease continues to humble us all. But one of the benefits of being a journalist is that you leave samples of yourself behind—in your interviews, your stories, your videos… Rob’s last piece for us was the December 2018 feature story he did announcing Scott Humphrey’s sound stage project, a possible gamechanger for Wilmington currently under construction on the Seventh Street Peninsula. Humphrey was gracious enough to let us break the story, a rare opportunity for


Photo Justin Heyes/Moonloop Photography

a monthly magazine. It didn’t take us long to decide who would be best for the assignment. It was Rob. So, I met with him over lunch at Capers & Lemons to plot our strategy. He took it from there: crafting the story and conducting the video interview that we posted on the Out & About website and shared with the community. Rob nailed it. Little did I know then, it would be his last piece for the magazine. We both had plenty of assignments planned; however, Rob’s deteriorating health changed all that. While composing this, I paused to re-read the article. Yep, he nailed it. And courtesy of our good friends at Moonloop Photography, the image you’re seeing here was pulled from the video interview. It all brings a smile to my face at a time when it’s not easy to smile. But that’s how I’m remembering Rob Kalesse. — Jerry duPhily


15 28

Out & About Magazine Vol. 32 | No. 12

Published each month by TSN Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing & business address: 307 A Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 Publisher Gerald duPhily • jduphily@tsnpub.com


Director of Publications Jim Hunter Miller • jmiller@tsnpub.com Contributing Editor Bob Yearick • ryearick@comcast.net


Production Manager Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Creative Director Tyler Mitchell, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Digital Services Director Michael O’Brian Contributing Designers David Hallberg, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Blair Lindley, Catalyst Visuals, LLC Contributing Writers Danielle Bouchat-Friedman Adriana Camacho-Church, Cindy Cavett, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Lauren Golt, Jordan Howell, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Dillon McLaughlin, Ken Mammarella, John Murray, Larry Nagengast, Kevin Noonan, Leeann Wallett

Contributing Photographers Jim Coarse, Justin Heyes and Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography, Butch Comegys, Lindsay duPhily, Anthony Santoro, Matt Urban Distribution David Hazardous Special Projects Sarah Green, Bev Zimmermann



7 From The Publisher 8 Worth Recognizing 9 War On Words 10 By The Numbers 11 FYI 12 Learn 15 Direct Primary Care

43 University & Whist Club 49 Bites

FOCUS 21 Innovation 22 Entrepreneurial City 28 Claymont Transformation

WILMINGTON 35 On The Riverfront 38 In The City 40 Art Loop

WATCH 51 Sweet on the Arts

FEATURES 15 Cutting Out The Middleman Direct Primary Care can improve health outcomes and save money. By Leeann Wallett

DRINK 55 Guinness’ Open Gate 59 Spirited

LISTEN 60 Shine A Light 61 Tuned In 63 Fiancé

22 Full Of Initiative Creative entrepreneurs are finding Wilmington the place to be. By Kevin Noonan & Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

28 Claymont Transformation Big developments are afoot in this quiet North Wilmington community. By Larry Nagengast

PLAY 67 Battle Axe

43 Adapting & Updating University & Whist Club honors history while expanding its appeal. By Jordan Howell

On the Cover: Source photo by Joe delTufo, Moonloop Photography. Design by Tyler Mitchell. Printed on recycled paper.

Editorial & advertising info: 302.655.6483 • Fax 302.654.0569 outandaboutnow.com • contact@tsnpub.com

55 Eye-Opening Trip to Open Gate Guinness’ new Baltimore brewery reveals company’s bold innovation. By Jim Miller



–– A not-for-profit arts organization ––

Demetri Martin: Wandering Mind Tour FRI | FEB 7 | 8PM | $35-$39

SUN | FEB 9 | 7PM | $37-$43

Jay and Silent Bob’s Reboot Roadshow with Kevin Smith FRI | FEB 14 | 8PM | $46-$53

Deadpan comedian delivers satire to the masses, Comedy Central favorite!

A Grand favorite returns with his sharp topical humor

Snoochie Boochies – come watch the new movie with Kevin Smith himself!




Valentine’s Day with The Manhattan Transfer FRI | FEB 14 | 8PM | $39-$47

The Rock Orchestra: An Evening of Jethro Tull SAT | FEB 15 | 8PM | $28

THUR | FEB 20 | 8PM | $32-$39

Fall in love with your partner all over again with this jazz vocal group

Rock out to songs like “Cross-Eyed Mary,” “Locomotive Breath,” and “Aqualung”

Powerhouse group celebrates over 20 years of your favorite Celtic rock

Gaelic Storm



March 12-15 | The Playhouse on Rodney Square

FRI | FEB 21 | 8PM

TheGrandWilmington.org | 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 www.DelawareScene.com.

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



From The Publisher



never thought I’d say this: My viewership of football Roman patricians is disturbing. The thought that I’m is wavering. patronizing this confederacy is personally unsettling. Oh, the game is as captivating as ever. The Xs and Os, Suck it up. What do you care? The players know what they’re teamwork, athleticism, crowd exuberance...second to none. In signing up for. Plus, they make millions. fact, I remain convinced that playing quarterback in the NFL Do they really know what they’re signing up for? is the most challenging task in pro sports. What 21-year-old pauses to consider repercussions decades But I’m watching with a wince nowadays. Maybe because down the road? What 21-year-old doesn’t feel invincible— I’m getting old; maybe because I’m growing soft. Maybe both especially one blessed with elite athletic ability? Consider are true. However, in this case neither is the reason. Like the for a moment that the motionless player lying on the turf—a saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I ritual that seems to occur every other play in today’s NFL— now know a lot more about what this game does to minds and is someone you know. Maybe even a family member. It’s all bodies. And I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with fun and games until someone you know gets hurt. how the stories end. By the way, does the spouse know what she’s signing That scene from Gladiator keeps resurfacing in up for—possibly decades of nursing duty for a man who’s a my mind. You know the one, where Maximus (Russell shell of himself by mid-40s? And who signed up the kids? Crowe) defiantly taunts Frankly, with all a bloodthirsty throng we now know about . . . I’m not sure why more fans aren’t after winning a fight to concussions, I’m not the death he wasn’t cast sure why more fans struggling with the contradiction to survive: Are you not aren’t struggling with the of cheering for a game that too entertained? ARE YOU contradiction of cheering NOT ENTERTAINED! for a game that too frequently turns young athletes Well, I am entertained. frequently turns young into middle-aged mush. Just feeling increasingly athletes into middle-aged guilty about it. I’m cheering mush. For me, I’m feeling guys being speared, like a rubbernecker at a clotheslined, flattened, blindsided, steamrolled, pancaked, car crash—and the crashes are coming weekly. trampled, leveled, concussed… all while throwing back So, bring on more rules, gear enhancements, expensive beer and tasty finger food. technological innovation—anything to make the game safer. A recent read of Mark Leibovich’s best-seller, Big Game: I want to enjoy the Xs and Os, teamwork, athleticism and The NFL in Dangerous Times, only enhanced my viewer’s crowd exuberance… but not at the expense of young men remorse. This searing look at the NFL oligarchy and the sacrificing their futures for my entertainment. enablers who encircle it is revealing and often pathetic. Give NFL owners white togas and their resemblance to — Jerry duPhily




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n October 2012, Anne Mathay had seven weeks to go before her baby was due. But during an ultrasound her doctor said, “I don’t see a heartbeat.” The next day, Oct. 16, 2012—a date she will never forget—Mathay had a C-section, and the baby was stillborn. In memory of her son, Henry Shaffer, Mathay founded Hank’s Hope in 2015. As executive director of the nonAnne Mathay profit, she gives women the help she had difficulty finding during her time of need. “I felt I had no resources when I came home from the hospital with empty arms,” says the Wilmington resident. “I knew there were others out there like me.” Hank’s Hope provides support to women and their families who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, promotes awareness of the physical and mental effects of these losses, and offers emotional support. Since its inception, the organization has helped about 1,000 women. “I grieve through doing,” says Mathay, 38, whose husband, Noah, is also active in the organization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stillbirth is far more common than sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and Down syndrome. Stillbirth occurs in about 1 in 100 pregnancies, meaning each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. It is more than 10 times as many deaths as the number that occur from SIDS. Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 700 babies. There is a stigma around infant loss, says Mathay. “People think, ‘oh, she must not have taken care of herself’ or ‘she must not have done something right.’” In 2015, thanks to Mathay’s efforts, March was proclaimed Pregnancy Loss Awareness month in Delaware. The proclamation raises awareness about pregnancy loss and the anxieties women face during a subsequent pregnancy. Mathay knows the feelings women live with during pregnancies following infant loss. Two years after she lost Henry, she gave birth to a daughter, and, in 2018, a son. “Not many people can say to bereaved parents, ‘I know what you are feeling right now.’ But Anne knew,” say Allison Kerr. Hank’s Hope helped Kerr and her husband after the loss of their six-day-old son, Alexander, in 2016. “One of the biggest benefits has been being able to openly grieve my son and not having any judgment passed on what I say, do or feel,” she says. “Anne also runs a support group, Pregnancy After Loss, which was extremely helpful when I was pregnant with our daughter, Genevieve, after the death of our son. I cannot say enough about Hank’s Hope and Anne.” Hank’s Hope, which last year received the Lt. Governor’s Wellness Leadership award, partners with Delaware Hospice in Camp New Hope—a grief camp for children aged 6-17 who have lost loved ones. Other partners include Delaware TEARS Foundation, Julia’s Light, Bayhealth Medical Center, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and Christiana Care Health System. Donations allow the nonprofit to also provide education to hospital staff on bereavement care under the Resolve Through Sharing program, and to purchase drawstring bags with such items as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste and comfy socks for hospitals to give to mothers. “Often mothers come in under emergency conditions to deliver a baby that they will lose, and they have nothing personal with them,” says Mathay. “Each bag has a handwritten note from one of our volunteers, letting them know that they’re braver than they think.” To volunteer or for more information on Hank’s Hope, visit hankshope.org or Facebook. — Adriana Camacho-Church


Photo courtesy of Anne Mathay



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

Faux Pas Once in a while, one must climb down from one’s grammar high horse to partake of a bit of humble pie. Such was the case when the January “War” hit the streets, and readers began deluging me with corrections to this sentence: “You pedal your bike and peddle your wears.” While the sentence correctly used the words in question—pedal and peddle—it misfired on the word wears, which should, of course, be wares (goods or articles offered for sale). Mea culpa. Media Watch • On Twitter, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex) commented thusly on the bombing of Baghdad: “No, the options are not (a) do nothing and (b) all-out war. There is a lot in between, i.e. striking a terrorist leader to re-establish deterrence.” We’re pretty sure Crenshaw meant e.g. (for instance), not i.e. (that is). And it should be followed by a comma. • Actress Sharon Stone, in a Tweet reported in USA TODAY: “I went on the bumble© sight and they closed my account.” Looks like Sharon’s basic instinct failed her here. That should be site. • Joe Juliano, in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The defense was rocksolid against the rush, although the secondary sprung some leaks at times.” Sprang is the past tense of spring. • I distinctly heard a reporter on NBC10 Philadelphia pronounce memento “MO-mento.” It’s pronounced like it’s spelled: mehmento. It means “something that serves to remind”—of a memory. • Reader Walt DelGiorno reports that, in a Wilmington News Journal article, Rebecca Morin wrote: “Each senator has their own unique challenge . . .” Walt points out that since each is singular, it should be his or her, not their, and unique is redundant. How Long, Oh Lord, How Long? (In which we point out the continued abuse of that most misused punctuation mark, the apostrophe) • An email from something called The Emerging Enterprise Center had this subject line: “New Year's Resolution's for Entrepreneurs?” • While most apostrophe mistakes are acts of commission, at the end of every year there are ads in which there is an omission. E.g., “Come to our New Years Eve party.”

Word of the Month

inchoate Pronounced in-koh-et, it’s an adjective meaning recently begun and thus not fully formed; incomplete and rudimentary; disorderly or incoherent.

By Bob Yearick

Department of Redundancies Dept. General Manager Jim Nill of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, on firing his coach: “Sometimes in life, the hardest decisions are the toughest. And this is one of them.” Thanks for the clarification, Jim. Who and Whom The Baltimore Sun’s erudite John McIntyre explains the niceties of using these pronouns: “An Obama spokesman, when asked about his previous comments on Sanders, referred to the president’s past comments that he would back whomever became the Democratic nominee.” This is how educated people and experienced writers keep getting it wrong. You have a subordinate clause with the subject and verb “he would back,” and you know that standard English grammar demands an object to follow the verb. So you write “whomever.” But what you did not notice is that the pronoun starts another subordinate clause of which it has to be the subject. Correctly understood, the whole clause “whoever became the Democratic nominee” is the object of the verb “would back.” Got it? Good. Go forth and resist using “whom” or “whomever” where it should not appear. Literally of the Month Danny Pommells, of NBC Sports Philadelphia (speaking of Giants Quarterback Eli Manning): “He’ll literally be without one of his biggest targets—Michael Engram.” To start with, Danny, you put literally in the wrong place in the sentence. It should immediately precede one. And, as it usually is, the word is unnecessary.

Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords

NEED A SPEAKER FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION? Contact me for a fun presentation on grammar: ryearick@comcast.net.

Seen a good (bad) one lately? Send your candidates to ryearick@comcast.net

Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin Book Shelf or by calling Out & About at 655-6483.


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99.9 Percentage of businesses in the United States that are classified as small.

The number, in millions, of small businesses that are women-owned.

50 75 Percentage of small businesses that survive five years or more.

Percentage of small businesses in the private sector that are micro-businesses—fewer than 10 employees.

Photo courtesy of The Delaware Contemporary


F.Y.I. Things worth knowing



he Delaware Art Museum will display a Frank Schoonover painting that was featured on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, filmed at Winterthur last year. The painting, originally published with the caption “At a Hail from the Boat He Went to the Rail,” is an illustration from the 1923 book Privateers of ’76, a tale of a Massachusetts boy and his adventures at sea during the American Revolution. The painting will be on display in the museum’s American illustration gallery for the next five months. The owner’s family purchased the painting directly from Schoonover, for $300 in June 1960. During the Antiques Roadshow segment, the owner described his father’s love of illustrated books, and how his mother saved for two years to purchase a work from Schoonover’s Rodney Street studio in Wilmington. For more information, go to delart.org.



onnections Community Support Programs opened a Wellness and Recovery Center in Claymont last month that will offer services for substance use disorders, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as treatment for mental health disorders, DUI services and services for couples and families. The clinic is located at 590 Naamans Rd. For more information, go to connectionscsp.org.



elaware Nature Society (DelNature) will host Dr. Doug Tallamy for a book launch and lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin. Available this month, Nature’s Best Hope (Timber Press), is an urgent call for a grassroots approach to conservation—one that starts in every backyard. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Attendees will walk away with specific suggestions they can incorporate into their own yards. Ashland Nature Center is located at 3511 Barley Mill Rd.



wo exhibits at The Delaware Contemporary will continue into April. In the Beckler Family Gallery, Haeley Kyong's newest body of work, Gesture of Motion, will be in place through April 23. By employing the basic building blocks of lines, circles, squares, and triangles, and painting them at various orientations, Kyong has found a way to express the perpetual movement of time. In the Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space, Natalie Hutchings, in Malice’s Restaurant, creates an altered rendition of classic Americana through the ubiquitous diner. Vintage tables, tablecloths, menu boards, countertops, and fake plants trigger memories of institutionalized racism, patriarchal abuses, and the colonial impetus that spawned them. This exhibit ends April 15, at The Delaware Contemporary, 200 S. Madison St. For more, go to decontemporary.org.



n Saturday, Feb. 15, hundreds of people in Wilmington will brave the cold in just their underwear during Cupid’s Undie Run, the nation’s largest pantless party and mile-ish run for charity. The event raises awareness of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body, and fundraises for NF research through the Children’s Tumor Foundation. For more information on the event, go to my.cupids.org/cur/city/wilmington.


hanks to the generosity of Great Dames Icon and Wilmington University President Dr. LaVerne T. Harmon, Great Dames will award two high school seniors full-tuition, four-year scholarships to WilmU. The opportunity, which is available to female students planning to attend college this fall, sprang from Great Dames’ 10th Anniversary event last April when Harmon was named a Great Dames Icon. She was moved by the young women Great Dames had inspired and surprised everyone with the offer. The deadline to apply is Feb. 14. To see program guidelines and access the online application, go to greatdames.com/scholarships. FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



PICTURE THIS: A NEW GRADUATE’S VISUAL JOURNEY Nadia Gross earned her Bachelor of Science in Media Design with a concentration in Photography, so she understands the power of a photo to capture a moment.


n the one taken as she crossed the stage at Wilmington University’s May 2019 commencement ceremonies, “my jaw was dropped. I had this gasp, this look of shock, in all the excitement,” says Gross, of New Castle. “That was such a great moment. I’m at a loss for words, even still.”

Make education your new resolution. WilmU works in 2020. 12 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

The emotional response was warranted. It took Gross five years of part-time schooling, balanced between part-time work and full-time parenting, to complete her degree—and also to become the first college graduate in the history of her family. Higher education wasn’t always in the picture for Gross. The necessity of working for a living put college out of reach for her parents, and Gross herself dropped out of school in ninth grade for a “life on hold,” working unfulfilling jobs. “The future was not looking too bright for me, and I had plenty of people telling me that,” she recalls, “but there was no one to push me to better myself.” At age 17, Gross earned a GED through the Wilmington Job Corps. The organization offered financial assistance toward a college degree, but she’d already convinced herself that she lacked the mettle to take on that challenge. “I saw everyone around me, my age group, going to school, getting jobs, finding success,” she says. “I was always stuck believing that I couldn’t, because that’s all I’d heard.” A boyfriend who introduced her to his church and its congregation sparked a change. “There’s a phrase they used, ‘speaking life into a person,’” she says. “I began to see what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t.” Gross enrolled in Wilmington University’s College of Technology at age 24, by which time she’d married the boyfriend and was raising three children. WilmU’s flexible course scheduling and online learning formats and her supportive audience at home were essential to her success, she says. Gross’s family includes her husband, Eric, and children Sophina, Levi and Aidan, as well as her parents who motivated her and assisted with childcare. “They’ve always been cheering me on,” she notes. Gross also credits photography instructors Bradley Bower and Tim Shaffer with encouraging her confidence in herself and her abilities when working with others. “That’s important out in the field,” she says. “They were seeing skills in me that I didn’t even know were there.” Since her Kodak moment at May’s commencement, Gross has been enjoying the new experience of career opportunity. A WilmUcoordinated internship at the Wilmington Public Library on Rodney Square led to the offer of a marketing assistant position. “I had a job before I even crossed the stage,” she says, and she’s considering other options as well. “I have a really good feeling about this.” Then came the billboard. To Gross’s surprise, in December, her own exuberant graduation photo was smiling out over the City of Wilmington, right over her old neighborhood, on a WilmU billboard. The image is part of the University’s latest campaign, featuring real students and graduates. “I had no clue that my photo would be used to inspire others to attend college,” Gross reflects on LinkedIn. “This is living proof that Wilmington University uses real people and real stories when they market. They are showing you that it can work for you too.” Learn more about how WilmU works to bring dreams into reach at wilmu.edu

Nadia G. Class of 2019

Find out why at wilmu.edu/Start2020

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The DPC model creates a direct relationship between primary care physicians and patients.

CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN Direct Primary Care can result in improved health outcomes as well as significant cost savings for patients By Leeann Wallett


hen his insurance marked his wife’s hospital stay “not medically necessary,” Matt Loeb, owner of Catalyst Visuals, LLC, made a life-changing decision: he was done with traditional healthcare and insurance. “I was frustrated,” he says, “because you have to fight tooth and nail for each claim and then at the end, they won’t cover the expense.” In a time of rising out-of-pocket costs and frustration with third-party insurance, Loeb is one of many who have moved to a new type of healthcare called Direct Primary Care, or DPC. The American Academy of Family Physicians defines DPC as a model that “gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing. Instead of coordinating

benefits through the major insurers, family physicians charge patients a monthly, quarterly or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services.” In short, the DPC model is a direct relationship between primary care physicians and patients— without the hassle of insurers. And while they share many similarities, DPC should not be confused with “concierge” practices that still accept insurance and have annual, up-front fees of $2,000 or more. The DPC model allows physicians to practice traditional family medicine while strengthening the relationship with patients. That results in improved health outcomes as well as significant cost savings for patients. ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



Valentine's Chef's Table Dinner

CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN continued from previous page

Photo Rob Dubick


Dr. Kimberly Nalda of Rekindle Family Medicine.


for beef

L♥ VERS 8th & Union, Wilmington




DPC allows physicians to more closely focus on patients and the community. “The DPC model is about treating patients the old-fashioned way,” says Dr. Kimberly Nalda of Rekindle Family Medicine in Wilmington. “We’re taking family practice back to its roots by returning to when the small-town doctor took care of the entire community.” Nalda opened Rekindle in 2016 after winning the Remarkable Ideas Competition, a pitch competition targeting women-owned enterprises hosted by Great Dames. That year the focus was innovation in the health sector and Nalda’s DPC-centered practice was a novel business concept. “We were the second practice to open in Delaware,” she says. “The competition gave me a platform to educate the community about the DPC model and show how family medicine could evolve.” She credits the “generous and supportive” DPC community for aiding her practice in its early days. She had an early mentor who guided her through opening her practice since she didn’t have any business or DPC experience. She also bounced ideas and best practices off her colleague, Dr. Ricky Haug, who began his DPC practice, Core Family Practice in 2016, in Kennett Square, Pa.

Both Nalda and Haug want to change the current healthcare system for the better. They have started with their own practices by sharing resources, such as flu shots, and by covering each other’s patients while the other is on vacation. “Healthcare should be easy, convenient and available when people really need it,” says Haug. That includes the ability for patients to see physicians whenever the need arises, a key component of the DPC model.


One of the main benefits of DPC is the ability for physicians to accommodate a sustainable number of patients—hundreds versus thousands—and have longer, more in-depth visits. This allows DPC practices to provide same-day or next-day appointments, meaning less time in the waiting room for patients. “I typically see 8 to 10 patients a day, with additional slots available for sick appointments,” says Nalda. Both local DPC practices set aside an hour for initial patient visits, and 30 to 45 minutes for follow-up appointments, depending on the nature of the visit. Compare that to other full-time physicians who have more than 2,000 patients, averaging 25 to 30 patients a day with appointment windows of 7-10 minutes that sometimes are double-booked or overlap. This keeps physicians so busy they hardly have any time left to connect with patients. Barbara Perry knew she had made the right decision when transferring her care to Rekindle after leaving an appointment feeling angry and distraught. Perry, a retired photographer who had been a patient of the previous practice for more than 16

years, described her experience with her doctor as the result of “physician burnout,” a common outcome of a stressful and emotionally exhausting profession. After her initial visit with Dr. Nalda—an acquaintance from her church—Perry felt like she was under a doctor’s care for the first time. Diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, Perry has worked diligently with Dr. Nalda to manage her blood sugar through monitoring of her blood sugar levels, medication and modifications to her diet. “When I visit with Kim, I feel heard and validated and I know she’s willing to work with me,” says Perry. Perhaps most important, DPCs also tout better after-hours communications and access to the physician via text, email, phone or video chat. On one day last month, Haug had just finished an urgent care procedure on a patient who had sliced her finger and needed seven stitches. The patient called in the morning and Haug was able to fit her in the same day, and dedicate an hour to the procedure. “Opening my practice has been a gratifying experience as a physician," he says. “When patients really need you, you can take care of them.” Loeb, his wife and two children see Haug, and they enjoy the 24/7 access to their doctor as well as their medical information and prescriptions through the online portal. “It’s a game-changer,” says Loeb. If the kids are sick, he can send photos or text symptoms to Haug to verify whether or not they are sick enough for an office visit. ►

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Photo courtesy of Core Family Practice

CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLEMAN continued from previous page

Dr. Ricky Haug of Core Family Practice.

Loeb also likes the easy prescription refill process. “I can re-order prescriptions through the portal and pick up the medication same day,” he says. Compare that to other practices where you call in, leave a message and then get the medication refilled two-to-three days later.


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Another benefit of DPC is the potential for patients to better manage out-of-pocket health care costs. And for physicians, DPC streamlines revenue and allows practices to have a “direct relationship with the patient and cut out insurers,” says Haug. DPC memberships are similar to “gym memberships or Netflix subscriptions,” says Haug, where you pay on a monthly basis. The fee covers most typical primary care services, including preventive care and certain in-office tests and procedures like EKGs, rapid strep tests and laceration repair. Here’s the current membership pricing for Rekindle and Core:


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Age <18: $20/month (with adult membership) Ages 18-44: $60/month Ages 45-64: $80/month Ages 65+: $100/month • 5 percent discount for annual payment in full • 5 percent discount for couples • 10 percent discount for families • 10 percent veteran or active duty military discount Home Visits: $100/visit

CORE FAMILY PRACTICE Age <25: $35/month Age 25 and older: $70/month Families of four (two adults & two children under age 25): $180/month and $20/additional child One-time registration fee per household: $65 Home Visits: $100/visit For specialty services like lab work and radiology services, DPC physicians “negotiate with each provider to offer its best or 'contractor-grade' pricing," says Nalda.

For example, if a patient needs a mammogram, Nalda writes the script for imaging and instead of paying at the time of service, the patient pays the practice directly for the service. Says Nalda: “This system incentivizes specialty providers like radiology centers to give me the best price.” This practice, also known as direct bill, is where service providers like radiology centers collect their fees directly from the DPC practice rather than the patient. This cuts out third-party insurers and the hassle of obscure pricing, which translates to pricing transparency, less paperwork and overhead for physicians, as well as quicker payment for service providers. As for prescription medications, they aren’t treated as “revenue generators,” so DPC practices can pass on all savings directly to patients. For example, a generic medication like Cetirizine (Zyrtec) costs $4.80 versus $13 retail; and Atorvastatin (Lipitor) costs $4.80 versus $24 (estimated pricing provided by Core).


It’s important to note that DPC membership is not insurance, so it’s recommended that individuals pair their membership with a high deductible health plan or “catastrophic” policy, to cover an unexpected injury or serious medical condition like cancer, or be insured through an employer. These plans tend to have low premiums but high annual deductibles. As a small business owner and the production manager at Out & About, Loeb must balance finding decent coverage with affordable premiums, so another option that works for him and his family is a health share plan, also known as a Health Care Share Ministry. Most health share plans are faith-based, though the plan Loeb uses, Liberty HealthShare, accepts members from a wide variety of religious backgrounds. These plans are a more sustainable, lower-cost option to pair with a DPC membership. Even though they are not insurance, health share plans function similar to a health savings account. Individuals or families choose a plan and pay a monthly sharing amount. These fees are significantly cheaper than traditional insurance bought through the Affordable Care Act or a catastrophic insurance provider. Depending on the program, shareable expenses covered include most routine and preventive visits, vaccinations and prenatal and maternity care, to name a few. However, because Liberty HealthShare is a cost-sharing membership, certain medical expenses are not shareable, including voluntary and cosmetic procedures, dental and vision expenses and certain pre-existing conditions during the first year of membership (Full restrictions are on the website: libertyhealthshare.org/assets/ public/2019-LHS-Guidelines.pdf). And with all health share plans, there is no guarantee of payment even if the cost is considered shareable. The New York Times recently published an article that found that since these “groups are…not considered insurance, they operate with no government oversight,” meaning some patients could end up paying most or all the out-of-pocket costs. The DPC model has the potential to make powerful changes in the healthcare industry. It’s an innovative model where “...the patient is the customer and not the insurer, which really changes the incentives,” says Haug. This translates to a strong doctor/ patient relationship through increased access to preventive care, which may lead to better health outcomes for patients. Dr. Kimberly Nalda, Rekindle Family Medicine, 5590 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, rekindlefamilymedicine.com. Dr. Ricky Haug & Dr. Paul Yerkes, Core Family Practice, 413 W Cypress St., Kennett Square, Pa., corefamilypractice.com.

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Delaware 1,982 square miles of innovation. Want to work and live where innovation is more than just a catchphrase? We do more than just talk innovation. Person for person, mile for mile, Delaware shows that being small is really big. Innovation in Delaware means:

• Being the 6th most innovative state in the country per Bloomberg

• Issuing the most patents in the country per capita

• Being one of the first states to embrace blockchain

• Leading the way in organic and antibiotic-free practices in our billion dollar poultry industry

• Having the nation’s 4th highest concentration of Ph.D’s employed in health, science and engineering

More opportunities to innovate. More opportunities to thrive. That’s what you can expect from a state our size.

ChooseDelaware.com 12 DECEMBER 2019 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



DELAWARE Delaware Prosperity Partnership promotes Delaware as a premier location for companies to locate and expand, and supports local entrepreneurs and innovators. In keeping with this edition’s theme of entrepreneurship and optimism, we shine the spotlight on one of our own, Ariel Gruswitz, Director of Innovation.

What does innovation mean in terms of what you feel is the mission of your job? Gruswitz: I think there are a couple different aspects to it. In the science and technology world, innovation is asking, “Is there a more efficient way to do this?” or “How can we think outside the box in a way that’s beneficial for the business or the organization, but also for society?” The stereotypical use of [the term] is in the science and tech areas, but it really applies to any kind of organization or company that’s trying to do things differently, whether it’s making a new product or creating a service. I also think there is a cultural aspect to it: In Delaware we also focus on making the culture more inclusive and welcoming to all people, which then supports an even more robust ecosystem. What is it about Delaware that helps it be more innovative? Gruswitz: Just as our ads say: “Delaware is much bigger because of its size.” And it’s not only size, it’s access in another way as well—access to thought leaders, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers. Time and time again we hear that access in Delaware makes connectivity easier. We have a rich 200+ year history of science and technology in this state. In many ways, this is a unique place. And we’re focused on convening the entrepreneurs and start-ups to ensure we can better understand the resources needed to truly capitalize on this remarkable talent pool and its potential. Is there any particular area where you think Delaware could compete in that push for innovation? Gruswitz: Actually, I think we are on that journey now. Because of my background, I see a real opportunity with agriculture, and I spend a decent amount of time trying to connect the stakeholders together. How do we connect the digital technologies that are being developed in the northern part of the state with the growers downstate? Agriculture is one area. Another is biosciences, where we have an interesting community. It’s not a stereotypical scenario and points to another value-add of Delaware’s science and tech community. For us, it’s all the companies that make life sciences discoveries possible whether it’s creating instrumentation, research organizations, manufacturing organizations, or the mix of chemistry/bioscience companies.

Ariel Gruswitz

Director of Innovation at Delaware Prosperity Partnership

What opportunity are you most excited about for Delaware as you look at 2020? Gruswitz: One event that a lot of us are working on together is NeoFest. It’s going to be May 7 at the Chase Center. For us, NeoFest means the celebration of what’s new in tech and start-ups. There are a few different elements to it. It’s a tech start-up competition, which DPP is sponsoring along with the State. We’re offering three significant top prizes. Start-ups from anywhere can apply, but if they win, they have to build their tech start-up in Delaware. It’s also going to be an entrepreneurial summit, where people can learn about entrepreneurship in technology. There’ll be an innovation showcase for start-ups. And large existing companies can come in and talk about exciting new technologies they’re working on. It’s really been a great exercise so far. It’s inviting and encouraging [a variety of organizations] to work together… If we’re all pulling together, I think we’ll all benefit.

Have a suggestion for our spotlight? Email us at innovate@choosedelaware.com

www.choosedelaware.com FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



DOWNTOWN: FULL OF INITIATIVE Creative entrepreneurs are finding Wilmington to be the ideal place for their start-ups. Here are 10 of the most recent. By Danielle Bouchat-Friedman and Kevin Noonan



ur Optimism Issue seems an appropriate time to highlight some budding Wilmington-based businesses. Each has a unique story about how and why it got started, but all share a positive spirit, which we think bodes well for the city’s future.

Carvertise owners Mac Macleod (left) and Greg Starr. Photo courtesy of Wilmington Alliance


Carvertise—an advertising company that wraps cars with removable ads and pays the drivers—had about nine clients when it opened for business in 2014. Today, owners Mac Macleod and Greg Starr can boast a clientele totaling several hundred across the country. What’s more, they recently announced the addition of 50 employees. “We've been going through a 150 percent year-over-year growth rate for the past four years,” says Macleod. “Although it's easier to double small numbers, we still see our year-overyear growth rate percentage staying strong for years to come. The catalyst behind this is the increasing demand from both regional and national brands to advertise on rideshare drivers; that trend is clearly going to continue.” He says that, over the next three years, the new hires will move into operations, marketing, production and sales positions. “Operations, accounting, marketing, production, management and installation are all located in Delaware,” Macleod says. “Our sales team is spread out in Delaware, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York City.” Macleod and Starr are currently working on an international advertising campaign with Visit Tampa Bay—a tourism agency. Some of their longtime clients include Delaware Tech, Wilmington University, Delaware Housing Authority, The Office of Highway Safety and Thomas Jefferson Hospital. “The support of the business community and the political community in Wilmington and Delaware at large has played a central role in getting Carvertise to where it is today,” says Macleod. “The accessibility to decision makers, the openness of prospects in the state to explore new advertising mechanisms, to the level of close advisory we've received from seasoned business executives…Delaware and Wilmington have given us a competitive edge and a strong foundation that we wouldn't have had elsewhere.” For more information, go to carvertise.com. — Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

The Barn Creative founder Nick Matarese. Photo Butch Comegys

The Barn Creative

Nick Matarese looks back on his school days and calls himself “one of the art kids.” He was creative and loved exploring different media, but he also was aware of a cruel reality. “When I graduated from high school, I told myself that I wasn’t going to make any money doing that,” he says. So, after graduating from The Tatnall School, Matarese enrolled at the University of Delaware, even though he wasn’t sure what he was going to do once he got there. And then came the moment that changed his life. “A person who lived on my floor in Dickinson [dorm] knew I loved art and said to me, ‘Why don’t you go into design work?’” Matarese says. “That’s when the light bulb went off.” So, he switched his major to visual communications, and that was really the genesis of The Barn Creative, the marketing and design business he founded in 2010. Originally housed in a barn apartment in Newark (hence the name), it’s now located at 1313 N. Market St. Now 34, Matarese had some success almost immediately— at a designer’s conference in San Francisco he interviewed with executives from Disney, and they were impressed enough to hire him to promote their annual marathon. “That opened a lot of doors,” he says. Now his company represents big brands like Adidas, NBC and the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. Since he opened for business—he is the only fulltime employee; he hires freelancers to complete his team—The Barn Creative has won 37 national designing awards. For more information, go to thebarncreative.org. — Kevin Noonan


◄ The WIN Factory (L-R): Newdy Felton, Linda Watson, Tamara Varella and Malcolm Coley. Photo Butch Comegys FEBRUARY 2020




Photo courtesy of Wilmington Alliance

DOWNTOWN: FULL OF INITIATIVE continued from previous page

Girard & Faire: two shops in one.

Girard & Faire

The dining scene in downtown Wilmington has been surging lately, leading to a growing nightlife. But downtown has consistently lacked spots that offer grab-and-go options and even a liquor store or wine shop. With the opening of Girard Craft & Cork and Faire Market & Café last year, those needs are now being met. They are two shops in one, divided by a glass wall, with an entrance on Girard Street and another on Ninth. Girard Craft & Cork, a wine, beer and spirits shop, opened in April and offers free wine tastings every Friday. “The shop is wine-heavy, but we do have beer and spirits,” says owner Rob Herrera, who is also the founder of The Mill Space, another downtown business (See next page). “Wine is our number two seller and beer is our number one seller. Our tastings on Fridays have been very popular.” The shop sells local favorites like Dogfish Head beer and has a healthy single barrel selection. Faire Market & Café opened last summer and offers a small selection of groceries, grab-and-go items and made-to-order sandwiches and salads. “Our lunchtime crowd is very steady,” says Herrera. “The walking lunch crowd is significant. We are so close to the central business district.” Herrera says he and the other owners, Rob Snowberger and Dan Sheridan, “did a lot of asking and interviewing” before they opened the businesses. “People said they wanted the market and a high-end convenience store,” he says—and they delivered. For more information, go to fairemarketandcafe.com and girardcraftandcork.com. — Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

Patrick Callahan of CompassRed. Photo Rebecca Parsons


Patrick Callahan was searching for a name for his new company when he decided to put his experience as a sailor and a pilot to good use. Callahan’s start-up uses various data to help businesses keep up with the changing times, when analytics is being used by everybody from presidents of banks to general managers of sports teams. So, CompassRed—based on the term for the orientation needle on a compass—was born. “We help people get on course,” Callahan says. “We help people navigate through all of this data.” Callahan, 50, is from Flint, Mich., and lived in New Orleans before moving to Philadelphia to attend Drexel University, where he met his wife, a Delaware native. They settled in Wilmington and he went to Widener Law School, simply because getting a law degree was “on the list of 37 things I wanted to do before I die.” But he discovered he liked law school more than practicing law, so, after several career turns, he founded CompassRed when he saw there was a market for analytics in the business world. One of his first big clients was Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. “We used data science and we had all the tools to get them on course, so they weren’t wasting money or leaving money on the table,” he says. “Once I saw the impact we had with them, I knew we had something here.” Now, his clients include Wawa, the DuPont Co., Longwood Gardens and the State of Delaware. For more information, go to compassred.com. — Kevin Noonan

Photo Butch Comegys

Jet Phynx Films

Jet Phynx, owner of Jet Phynx Films. 24 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

Jet Phynx (born Parris Duncan) grew up loving movies and music. “HBO and MTV were like my babysitters,” he says. Phynx started in the music business 18 years ago as a recording artist, but he always liked shooting music videos. Once he discovered his love for cameras and editing, he forsook the recording industry and started exploring creating videos for local artists. “That was in 2014, and a year later I had over 200 videos,” he says. Today, Jet Phynx Films specializes in entertainment and lifestyle branding. Some of the brands the company has worked with include Denny’s, ESPN, Under Armour and RCA Records. His first studio was located at the Wilmington Amtrak station, but he moved to his new spot on Market Street just last year.

Photo Out & About file photo/Moonloop Photography

“It’s the first time I owned the space I was in,” Phynx says. “The train station was cool, but the new studio was custom designed the way I wanted it.” And he feels his new location is meeting a need that has long been absent from downtown. “The studio is giving the youth a place to be creative,” Phynx says. “A space where others can find their creativity. The City of Wilmington never had a space that speaks to millennials and also the corporate side. Jet Phynx Films Studio is bridging that gap.” For more information, go to jetphynxfilms.com. — Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

Rob Herrera, owner of The Mill.

The Mill Space

Christopher Bruce, co-founder of King Creative. Photo courtesy of Wilmington Alliance

King Creative

Christopher Bruce started off at the University of Delaware as a pre-med student. He ended up being the school’s mascot— YoUDee—for four years, graduating with a business degree. Of his YoUDee days, he says, “They were handing out flyers for tryouts. It seemed interesting and different and was a cool way to rub elbows with people and to not just be a number. Through that process, I developed myself as a performer and entrepreneur.” Laughing, he adds, “My mom says she sent me to school to be a doctor, and I came out as a stuffed animal.” His mascot experience led him on a path of entertainment and production. He opened Bruce Productions—a full-service video production house off of Newport Gap Pike—in 2013. And just last year, he opened King Creative—a full-service media production house—on the corner of Eighth and Market Streets. “We work with a lot of different people to create their content, from staff training videos to mini documentaries,” Bruce says. “We also have a full-scale recording studio and are doing a lot of work with artists. I love the energy and the vibe of all that and helping artists who are committed to going for it.” He says he chose to open the business in downtown because he wanted to have a presence in the heart of the city. “I saw it as an opportunity to make an impact and as a way to get involved,” he says. “Momentum is a beautiful thing; If you were to stand on that same corner a year-and-a-half ago and ask people what the vibe is, they would say no vibe. Now people are hanging out and they are living.” For more information, go to facebook.com/KingCreativeLLC. — Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

People often joke that trends take a while to catch on in Delaware. Rob Herrera says that was in the back of his mind when he started The Mill—a co-working space in the Nemours building—in 2016. Getting it up and running wasn’t easy. “I spent eight years with a firm in New York called WeWork and helped build their co-working model,” Herrera says. “After having kids, I wanted to come back to Delaware. I had started working on The Mill here and Delawareans started showing up and saying, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ They started getting in my head. Also, my wife was pregnant with twins; it was nerve-racking.” But after three years, The Mill was fully occupied, and Herrera says larger companies were asking for space. That’s when he decided to open a second location on the seventh floor of the Nemours building. The renovations for the new space took less than four months and tenants started moving in on Jan. 1. “We have 400 people from all different walks of life interacting with each other. It’s hard to explain that energy,” says Herrera. This year he has taken on a new challenge by opening a third coworking space in what he calls “suburbia”: inside the Concord Plaza, a multi-use development on Silverside Road off Concord Pike. “Currently, we have 12 offices out of 44 leased [at The Mill Concord],” he says. His goal was to make the location look and feel much different from downtown. “Let’s celebrate suburbia with some indooroutdoor space. There’s firepits and I plan to open a volleyball court and jogging trail.” For more information, go to themillspace.com. — Danielle Bouchat-Friedman


For a business that centers around technology, WhyFly has a pretty basic approach to marketing. “Word of mouth,” says Nick Sabean, chief marketing officer of the internet-and-more company that has been operating downtown for the last four years. WhyFly’s initial premise was also pretty basic. “We give better service at a better price,” Sabean says. “Most people have only one or two choices for an internet provider. And usually it’s too expensive and their other services may not be exactly what they need, and the overall customer experience is very poor. “With us, there are no contracts and no hidden fees. Our goal from the beginning was to do it better and be as honest and transparent as possible.” ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



Photo Butch Comegys

Photo Butch Comegys

DOWNTOWN: FULL OF INITIATIVE continued from previous page

The WIN Factory (L-R): Linda Watson, Tamara Varella, Malcolm Coley and Newdy Felton.

Their service centers around downtown—WhyFly is located at 218 W. Ninth St.—and Sabean said the company is happy with its steady growth. By 2017, they had wired 2,000 homes. Now the number exceeds 3,000. Sabean says the secret to that growth is satisfied customers telling their family and friends about WhyFly and the alternatives it offers from the mainstream internet companies like Comcast. And the company has gotten a boost from another source. “About 40 percent of our customers are new to Wilmington, and real estate agents or rental agents will recommend us to them,” Sabean says. “That’s because we’ve built a reputation around the city for fair prices, good service and an excellent support staff.” WhyFly’s residential fee starts at $55 per month, while the business fee starts at $75. For more information, go to whyfly.com. — Kevin Noonan

The WIN Factory Even as a kid, Tamara Varella found herself advising her friends about finances and the world of investment. Now, as an adult, she finds herself doing the same thing. Varella, 49, is one of the founders of The WIN Factory, a business located at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd. that handles a diversity of interests focusing on education, networking and wealth building. Varella— who went to Padua Academy before graduating from Concord High—worked at The Food Bank of Delaware, and that made her realize there was a need for somebody to help people, especially inner-city residents, learn how to invest and handle their finances. That motivated her to start The WIN Factory, along with partners Malcolm Coley, Newdy Felton, Linda Watson, Alfred Campbell and Kenyon Wilson. “There was such a negative narrative about Wilmington, and we wanted to help change that,” she says. “A large part of our community doesn’t know what it needs to know about building and managing wealth, among other things. And that’s our goal – to educate people and give them access to information and resources that they can’t find anyplace else.” The WIN Factory, which had its grand opening last month, has a co-working space that also can be used for events such as wedding receptions. It also holds seminars and workshops on real estate investing and wealth building, where experts in the field share their knowledge with people interested in exploring their financial and investment options. “Those resources just aren’t available to a lot of people in our community,” Varella says. “And that’s our mission—to give those people a chance to succeed, now and in the future.” For more information, go to thewinfactory.io. — Kevin Noonan

Photo Butch Comegys

Marketing Director Carissa Giannone and VP of Enterprise Business Development Jim Shanahan of WhyFly.

Jason Aviles, founder of Wilmington Green Box.

Wilmington Green Box

People drive by and stop for a second to look around. Then many of them do a quick U-turn for a second look, because Wilmington Green Box isn’t like anything they’d ever seen on a street in downtown Wilmington. “That’s the key, getting them to check us out,” says Jason Aviles, the founder of Wilmington Green Box, at 420 N. Market St. “And once they check us out, the overwhelming response is ‘What took you guys so long to get here?’” Wilmington Green Box is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that sells various health foods in an area of the city that doesn’t have many healthy options for diet-conscious people. The 35-year-old Aviles is a native of the Bronx who settled in the city because a friend moved here for a job at DuPont and convinced Aviles he would like the slower pace.


After he got here, Aviles decided to combine his two loves— helping underprivileged children and promoting a healthy lifestyle. He started with a push-cart business from which he sold his fruit and vegetable juices, hiring at-risk kids to work the business. Eventually, he decided it needed a bigger and more permanent home, and that’s when he moved to North Market Street. “I saw a void in the community because it didn’t have enough access to healthy goods,” he says. “And I also saw a chance to help teens find employment and put a few dollars in their pockets while also teaching them what entrepreneurism is all about. To me, that’s a win-win situation.” For more information, go to wilmingtongreenbox.org. — Kevin Noonan


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Claymont Transformation Big developments are afoot in the quiet northern New Castle County community: an office park, parking garage, new train station, and the prospect of a 1,200-unit townhouse and apartment project By Larry Nagengast


▼ Commercial Development Company has major plans for the 425 acres formerly owned by Evraz Claymont Steel. Photo Butch Comegys


hen the Commercial Development Company purchased the 425-acre Evraz Claymont Steel property nearly five years ago, a local historian touted the deal as "the biggest thing here in 100 years"—comparing it to the Worth Steel Co. constructing the original mill on the north side of the community in 1917. Now CDC is rolling out more details of its project, called First State Crossing, submitting plans to the New Castle County Land Use Department that include an office park and parking garage to be built adjacent to the new Claymont train station, now under construction. The offices are hardly a surprise. Nor are the commercial and light industrial buildings that are likely to be built in the wedge bounded by Philadelphia Pike, Naamans Road and Interstate 495.

But the big buzz surrounds the prospect of a 1,200-unit townhouse and apartment project on the east side of the Amtrak rail line, overlooking the Delaware River. If built, that community, dubbed Riverview @ First State Crossing, would be roughly 40 percent larger than the 830-unit Darley Green complex that has been the focal point of Claymont's ongoing revitalization. And it could trump Darley Green in two key respects: the promise of riverfront views and a short walk to the train station, making for an easy commute to downtown Philadelphia. In fact, the caption of a photo used to depict the project for a Claymont community meeting in December described it as “Darley Green plus.” ►



FOCUS START CLAYMONT TRANSFORMATION continued from previous page

‘Transformative’ Project?

With all its pieces, the project is what Richard E. Hall, general manager of New Castle County’s Land Use Department, calls “transformative.” While CDC would like the go-ahead from the county by late spring so it could start some construction by summer, the pace of the approvals will depend on how well Hall’s staff and CDC’s representatives work together. Some parts of First State Crossing—those that are already permitted under the old steel mill’s heavy industrial zoning—will move faster than others. The residential component will take longer because that will require rezoning. “It might take longer than a lot of people want it to take, but it’s important that we do these things right,” Hall says. Once the redevelopment gets started, the work will take about 10 years, and possibly more, depending on the economy and the real estate market, says Stephen Collins, CDC executive vice president. The residential piece wasn’t part of CDC’s original plan. The company, which is based in St. Louis and focuses on redeveloping industrial brownfield sites, like Sparrows Point in Baltimore, at first wanted to use that area along the river for a logistics center —a massive warehousing and distribution space that would take advantage of easy access to rail lines, interstate highways and the Delaware river. But reality got in the way. In 2018, the Diamond State Port Corp. granted Gulftainer USA the rights to operate and develop the Port of Wilmington for 50 years, including developing a port at the former DuPont Edge Moor plant between Claymont and Wilmington, a property Diamond State had acquired in 2016. In addition, CDC’s internal study concluded that two underpasses near the site were too low to handle anticipated truck traffic and easements could not be worked out with the owners of industrial sites just over the state line in Pennsylvania. “The cost of development and the estimated demand didn’t justify the development,” Collins says.

Residential Developers Added

That’s fine with Brett Saddler, executive director of the Claymont Renaissance Development Corp., who points to the success of Darley Green and describes residential as “the highest and best use” of the property and consistent with the master plan for north Claymont. To handle the residential portion of the project, CDC has added two regional residential developers to its team—Setting Properties of Montchanin and Rockwell Development of Media, Pa. “We think the location is second to none—to be on the water in such a convenient location,” says Rockwell owner Greg Lingo. Details of the residential community won’t be worked out until initial approvals are given by New Castle County, but current thinking is to have about a 50-50 mix of townhouse and apartment units. Trailways and a park will be included in the plan, Lingo says.


Rendering courtesy of Commerical Development Company

P:\Land Projects\24545 First State Crossing\Plan Prod\Concept Plan\24545.00-RENDER-04.dwg, 10/4/2018 3:07:54 PM, VL DWG To PDF.pc3





The concept plan for First State Crossing, which includes office, retail, industrial and residential sites.

Saddler believes the apartments and townhouses, especially at the upper levels, will have great views—the river to the east, the Wilmington skyline to the south and the rolling Brandywine hills to the west. “When you design the buildings, you just have to make sure that your big balconies don’t face Sunoco,” the oil refinery to the north in Marcus Hook, Pa. In addition, Collins says CDC is willing to set aside waterfront acreage if the state would like to put a marina on site. Saddler is hoping there’s also room for a restaurant or two in the area.

Demand for More Amenities

Collins says there will be at least two roads leading into the residential area – one that would link it to the new train station, and another running east from Philadelphia Pike toward the river, just south of Naamans Road. “It’s a lot of units, a lot of people,” says Claymont resident Phil Barnes, a CRDC board member. “but overall, it’s a good idea,” in part because the growth of Claymont’s population will trigger a demand for more amenities that would benefit the entire community. Many of those amenities, like retail space and restaurants, are baked into CDC’s plan. As intriguing as the residential part of the project might be, the office park comes first, coinciding with construction of Claymont’s long-sought new train station, expected to open in the first quarter of 2022. CDC’s proposal calls for construction of two office buildings, totaling nearly 275,000 square feet, and a three-story, 460-space parking garage in an area north of Interstate 495 between Philadelphia Pike and the Amtrak rail line. The office park would be situated just west of the new train station along a new roadway, tentatively named Transit Center Boulevard, that would be built from Philadelphia Pike to the station. Collins says CDC has been negotiating with multiple businesses—both from out of state and with Delaware operations—interested in leasing office space. He said construction would not begin until a lease is signed. People familiar with the project anticipate that the prime tenant will be a financial services business interested in expanding and consolidating its Delaware operations. ►

REV 03


SIP. SAMPLE. SUPPORT. March 27, 2020 6:30 p.m. The Delaware Contemporary Tickets include wine, beer and food tastings along with music, dancing,a silent auction and fun!


Call the Central YMCA at (302) 254-9622.

All proceeds support the Downtown YMCA Annual Campaign and directly impacts the lives of youth, adults and families in our community.




Photo Butch Comegys

CLAYMONT TRANSFORMATION continued from previous page

Redevelopment of the deteriorating Tri-State Mall in the community’s northwest corner is among the issues being discussed.

Adding Energy TO Redevelopment

Saddler and John Cartier, the New Castle County councilman whose district includes Claymont, believe the combination of the new train station and the adjacent business park will accelerate the development of First State Crossing and add further energy to Claymont’s ongoing redevelopment. The redevelopment they picture sees the train station, currently the busiest commuter rail stop in the state, bustling with two-way traffic—millennials walking to the station to head for their jobs in Philadelphia and financial professionals riding the southbound rails to work in the office park. “For the community, any kind of big investment is significant,” Barnes says, describing the station as “a shiny new toy that makes a statement.” Barnes’ wife, Lee Roueche, had been one of those Claymont-Philadelphia commuters. Now she and her husband take the train in the opposite direction, going to Newark each morning for their jobs at the University of Delaware. “Taking the train is easy, to Philadelphia or to Newark,” Roueche says. Barnes is looking forward to the new station’s completion, as it would replace one that is located on a bend in the tracks, has small waiting areas that offer limited protection in bad weather and requires passengers to step up and down when boarding or leaving the train. “When you get on or off, because the train stops on a bend, you’re leaning sideways like you’re on a ship,” Barnes says. John Sisson, CEO of the Delaware Transit Corp., says he expects commuter rail ridership to increase when the new station opens, with a parking garage and a


Rendering courtesy of DelDOT

Come INN to pregame for the

SUPERBOWL! featuring our Sunday Brunch Rendering of the new Claymont Train Station. Long anticipated, it's expected to be open in the first quarter of 2022.

larger surface lot making the site more appealing to Brandywine Hundred residents headed to either Philadelphia or Newark. He notes that the Newark train station, now being upgraded, is adjacent to the university’s STAR campus, which is rapidly becoming a technology and healthcare employment hub. Sisson doesn’t expect the Claymont station to draw passengers away from the Wilmington Amtrak station because about half of the daily commuters who use the Wilmington station are working in jobs downtown. Thus far, CDC has presented the county with preliminary plans for the offices and parking garage closest to the train station, with plans for the residential community expected to be sent to the county later this year, Collins says. Details on the remaining portions of the revitalization should be delivered to the county in 2021. Other components of CDC’s master plan include: On the south side of Naamans Road, east of Interstate 95, opposite Tri-State Mall: a nine-story office building with a sevenlevel parking deck, plus a retail strip, restaurant and pharmacy. On the west side of Philadelphia Pike, between Knollwood and Naamans Road: two industrial warehouses, an office building and a self-service storage facility. On the east side of Philadelphia Pike, between Interstate 495 and Naamans Road: a mixed-use area that would include a grocery store, restaurant, retail and restaurant space, offices and apartments. CDC also plans to include an extensive system of trails for walking and bicycling throughout the residential and commercial areas. Most of the needed roadway improvements along Philadelphia Pike and into the office park next to the train station will be paid for by the Delaware Transit Corp. as part of the deal made when CDC donated 15 acres of the Evraz site for development of the train station, Collins says. CDC would be responsible for improvements on Naamans Road. As plans for First State Crossing progress, interrelated Claymont issues may impact the discussion, Saddler says. Those items, he says, include the redevelopment of the deteriorating Tri-State Mall in the community’s northwest corner, and the fate of the current train station in the southeast corner, which could serve as a trailhead for Greenways along the river leading to Fox Point State Park. Saddler emphasizes the importance of the entire project to Claymont, adding, “we’ve only got one chance to do this right.”

Plate Bar Special $14 per adult *limited to 15 seats - 1st come, 1st served

y a D s ’ e n i t n e Val

Friday February 14th

Four Course Prix Fixe Menu $65 per person $105 per person includes 5 paired wines

Valentine’s Day Brunch will be on

Sun. February 16th



r o t c u d n co within Unleashthe

Find Your Next Event #inWilm:


David Amado

Delaware Symphony Orchestra

Open Daily Through March 1st Open Daily Through March 1st

$8.50/adults | $5.50/kids | $4.00 skate rental $8.50/adults | $5.50/kids | $4.00 skate rental riverfrontrink.com

308 Justison Street

riverfrontrink.com 302-650-2336

308 Justison Wilmington, DEStreet 19801


Wilmington, DE 19801

Co-Sponsors Co-Sponsors

Open thru March 1st riverfrontrink.com

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10 36 11 9

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1. Amtrak Station 2. Opera Delaware Studios 3. Wilmington Youth Rowing Assn., WYRA.ORG 4. Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park 5. Residences at Christina Landing 6. Bank’s Seafood Kitchen & Raw Bar / Riverfront Market, BANKSSEAFOODKITCHEN.COM 7. Delaware Theatre Co., DELAWARETHEATRE.ORG 8. Docklands Riverfront, DOCKLANDSRIVERFRONT.COM 9. Cosi at the Barclays Crescent Building, GETCOSI.COM 10. Hare Pavilion/Riverwalk 11. AAA Mid-Atlantic Travel Center, AAAMIDATLANTIC.COM 12. The Delaware Contemporary, DECONTEMPORARY.ORG

13. Justison Landing, Currie Hair, Skin & Nails, CURRIEDAYSPA.COM Veritas Wine & Spirits, VERITASWINESHOP.COM Starbucks on the Riverfront Riverfront Pets, RIVERFRONTPETS.COM 14. Del Pez Mexican Gastropub, DELPEZMEXICANPUB.COM Goju Training Center, GOJUROBICS.COM 15. Delaware Children’s Museum, DELAWARECHILDRENSMUSEUM.ORG Riverwalk Mini Golf, RIVERWALKMINIGOLF.COM 16. Joe’s Crab Shack, JOESCRABSHACK.COM 17. Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, IRONHILLBREWERY.COM 18. Public Docks 19. Big Fish Grill, BIGFISHRIVERFRONT.COM





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Visit RiverfrontWilm.com for info on events happening at the Riverfront! Photo by Joe del Tufo 20. Frawley Stadium, BLUEROCKS.COM Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame 21. Chase Center on the Riverfront, CENTERONTHERIVERFRONT.COM 22. Dravo Plaza & Dock 23. Shipyard Center Planet Fitness, PLANETFITNESS.COM 24. Timothy’s Restaurant, TIMOTHYSONTHERIVERFRONT.COM Molly’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, MOLLYSICECREAM.COM Drop Squad Kitchen Ubon Thai Restaurant 25. Wilmington Rowing Center, WILMINGTONROWING.ORG 26. Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge/ DuPont Environmental Education Center, DUPONTEEC.ORG

27 Riverfront Commuter Lot, RIVERFRONTWILM.COM/PARKING 28. Penn Cinema Riverfront IMAX, PENNCINEMARIVERFRONT.COM 29. CrossFit Riverfront, CFRIVERFRONT.COM 30. The Residences at Harlan Flats, HARLANFLATS.THERESIDENCES.NET 31. Altitude Trampoline Park, ALTITUDEWILMINGTON.COM 32. The Westin Wilmington, WESTINWILMINGTON.COM River Rock Kitchen, RIVERROCKKITCHEN.COM 33. Delaware Humane Association, DELAWAREHUMANE.ORG 34. Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard / Fort Christina Park, KALMARNYCKEL.ORG 35. Jack A. Markell Bike Trail 36. Constitution Yards Beer Garden, CONSTITUTIONYARDS.COM 37. 76ers Fieldhouse, BLUECOATS.GLEAGUE.NBA.COM



ayor Mike Purzycki and Police Chief Robert J. Tracy issued the official yearend report on policing and crime in Wilmington in January. According to WPD’s 2019 Citywide CompStat Report, overall crime in 2019 was down 3% from 2018 across all categories of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft and auto theft. The 2019 totals represent an 11% decrease in overall crime from 2017 and a 22% decrease from 2016. While the Mayor and Chief expressed concern about the increase in shooting incidents and shooting victims last year, they noted that gun-related crime is still trending downward over recent years and vowed to continue to take steps to further reduce gun violence and remove more illegal guns from the streets. “Even with some increases in 2019, and after significant crime reductions in 2018, the Police Department has seen another year of sustained overall progress,” said Chief Tracy, “and we’re entering 2020 with a continued commitment to further drive down crime and leverage our resources and crime strategies to continue to enhance public safety in Wilmington.” Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy encourage the public to follow the WPD on social media—on Facebook, @WilmingtonPolice; on Twitter, @WPDPIO—and to visit www. CrimeMapping.com to see crime data, updated daily. The public can also access the WPD’s CompStat reports, which are published online and updated weekly at http://bit.ly/2BqAONB.




eginning last October, Wilmington’s Public Works Dept. started compiling and issuing a list of streets on which construction or maintenance was scheduled for the following week, whether by the City itself, or by DelDOT, Delmarva Power or private contractors. The weekly traffic and travel advisories, published every Friday, have been accompanied by a map that shows those same street projects to aid motorists whose travel could be affected. As of January, the City’s weekly advisory now features a real-time map that’s updated daily so residents and visitors can follow any changes to the weekly schedule caused by weather or other constructionrelated delays. The new map is available at: https://bit.ly/2u8JiHj


MAYOR’S BEAUTIFUL CITY CAMPAIGN CONTINUES New SMART trash bins are delivered ahead of schedule


ilmington’s Public Works Dept. has delivered new gray-colored trash bins to 21,000 residential properties throughout the City ahead of schedule. When the program was announced in early January, the City expected to receive the new bins in March; instead, the manufacturer accelerated production and the new bins were delivered door-to-door last month. If a resident has not yet received a bin or has any questions or concerns about the new state-of-the-art trash bin program, please call the Public Works Call Center at (302) 576-3878. The new bins MUST be used for trash disposal. The City will NOT collect trash if it’s placed in another type of container. Mayor Purzycki hopes the new bins help to produce a cleaner City by reminding residents to not place trash on City streets. The Mayor also hopes residents continue recycling as much as possible, placing their recyclables in their maroon recycle bins. Eco Plastic Products of Delaware, a local non-profit recycling facility, took some of the trash cans discarded by City residents as well as some of the City’s older trash bins. Eco Plastic collects certain plastic materials and turns them into useful, sustainable products while also employing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The firm uses 70% on-site solar energy to convert plastic materials into objects such as park benches, bicycle racks, picnic tables, golf accessories, sandboxes, lumber, and memorial benches. Each new trash bin has a GPS chip and is assigned to an individual parcel. Data is fed into Cart Vision Software, which gives the City a complete inventory of cans issued, an exact location of each cart, real-time tracking of parcel collections, and a real-time report of locations serviced while trash trucks are on the street. The Sanitation Division can now review collection in real-time, and soon the City will display the real-time map on the its website so constituents can track City trash and recycle collection vehicles. New SMART Trash Bins FAQs and Recycling Tips: https://bit.ly/3651orn.


NEWS YOU CAN USE! WILMINGTON WORKS Looking for general job information and resources? Visit https://www.wilmingtonde. gov/government/employment to learn about education and training, labor laws and regulations, how to apply for government jobs, as well as other employment-related information. TRASH & RECYCLING COLLECTION SCHEDULE Visit the City of Wilmington’s website for more info. about trash and recycling in the City. To report issues or concerns about trash and recycling collection, please call the Public Works Call Center at (302) 576-3878 or submit a request for service online at www.wilmingtonde.gov.




FEB 14

FEB 17 FEB 29






For more meetings and events in the month of February, visit: www.wilmingtonde.gov.









February 7 5pm Start Complimentary Shuttle Service Most exhibitions listed here continue through this month


A program of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Christina Cultural Arts

Howard Pyle Studio




The Delaware Contemporary

baby grand gallery

DE Center for Horticulture

Station Gallery

The Mill Space

RIVERFRONT The Delaware Contemporary 200 South Madison Street 656-6466 • decontemporary.org Artists: Women Advancing the Aperture, John Breakey, Amie Potsic DOWNTOWN Chris White Gallery 701 N. Shipley Street 428-1650 • chriswhitecdc.org Artist: “401” by Shannon Woodloe and Chet’la Sebree Christina Cultural Museum 705 N. Market Street 652-0101 • ccacde.org Artist: “The Merge - Justice and Fine Arts” by Ebony H. Flag & Milton Downing Gallery 919 Market 919 N. Market Street 824-9607 Artist: “Windows of Perception” by Dolores Pye Josey

MKT Place Gallery 200 W. 9th Street 438-6545 Artist: “Our Stories Matter” by D. Marque Hall The Mill Space 1007 N. Orange Street, 4th Floor 898-5951 • themillspace.com Artist: “Passage” by Krista Dedrick Lai WEST END & WEST SIDE Blue Streak Gallery 1721 Delaware Avenue 429-0506 Artists: Colleen Zufelt, “Metal and Clay” Ken Mabrey, “Out of Context” Delaware Center for Horticulture 1810 N. Dupont Street 658-6262 • thedch.org Artist: Michele Foster Howard Pyle Studio 1305 N. Franklin Street 656-7397 • howardpylestudio.org Artist: Bonnie Frawley

Grace United Methodist Church 900 N. Washington Street 887-6254 • iamthevillage.org Artist: “The Other Side of Pakistan”

North Wilmington Library 3400 N. Market Street 300-8881 Artist: “Building Blox of Hope” by Velvet Poindexter

The Grand Opera House 818 N. Market Street 658-7897 • thegrandwilmington.org Grand Gallery Artist: “Dimensional Collage” by Susan Benarcik


baby grand gallery Artist: “Phoenix” by Relph Marley LaFate Gallery 227 N. Market Street 656-6786 • lafategallery.com Artist: Highlighting “Black Women Suffrage” Mezzanine Gallery 820 N. French Street 577-8278 • arts.delaware.gov Artist: “Spring Must Come” by Terron Mitchell

Arden’s Buzz Ware Village Center 2119 The Highway, Arden 981-4811 • ardenbuzz.com Artist: “Trauma Confessions” by A.J. Stalloni COCA Pop-Up Gallery 3829 Kennett Pike, Powder Mill Square, 218-4411 Artists: Regional Group Show Station Gallery 3999 Kennett Pike 654-8638 • stationgallery.net Artists: Winter Group Show

Next Art Loop Wilmington: March 6, 2020


s u o i c i l e D Deals






www.kidshelleens.com | 302.658.4600 | #HHGROUPIE *Dine-In Only



The entrance to The University and Whist Club, off Broom Street in Wilmington. Photo Butch Comegys

ADAPTING and UPDATING While honoring its legacy with 'Whist-ory' tours, University and Whist Club attempts to attract more millenials By Jordan Howell


ot that long ago, folks living near the top of the hill on Wilmington’s west side referred to the neighborhood as “Federal Hill,” based on the legend that George Washington himself had once considered the area as a possible location for the nation’s capital. Supposedly, the proposition was offered by Dr. James Tilton (1745-1822), the Delaware native who would purchase that same hilltop property from Quaker silversmith Bancroft Woodcock in 1792. ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



Photo Butch Comegys

ADAPTING AND UPDATING continued from previous page

The Club menu retains some of the old classics while also including international influences for younger members.


ocated at the corner of Broom Street at Ninth, the mansion is a 20,000-squarefoot stone fortress—complete with a lookout tower—tucked behind a fivefoot stone wall topped with six more feet of manicured privacy hedges. There’s a carriage house on the corner and a parking lot in the back, and a private drive that winds through the shade of ancient oak trees. This is where the members-only University and Whist Club of Wilmington, a private dining club, has been catering to a well-to-do clientele since 1935. The grounds are picturesque, ideal for a photo shoot. Inside, the entryway leads to a grand staircase flanked by ornate fireplaces. Beyond are three formal dining rooms, a less-formal bar and enclosed terrace, and a banquet space for weddings and other large events. Back in 2014—the year Kim Kardashian and Kanye West attended a wedding at the Whist—the building was falling into disrepair. Like other private clubs across the country, membership had been in decline for decades. In 2016, John Hynansky and Thomas Hatzis, both owners of car dealerships and long-time members of the club, bought the estate. So far, Hynansky and Hatzis have invested nearly $4 million into renovations—upgrading the kitchen, installing new plumbing and electrical systems, and adding an 850-square-foot dining room, the Tilton Terrace, which features floorto-ceiling sliding windows that are opened on pleasant days.

LET US CATER TO YOU. From dinner parties to office get-togethers to weddings, let Janssen’s make your event special. We offer full-service catering, event planning, party rentals, floral arrangements, and more. Contact our catering director today at (302) 654-9941 x3.



FORGOTTEN HISTORY On an afternoon when "Delabear" was taking up residence in a Trolley Square backyard, the staff at the University and Whist Club were preparing history tours and gourmet lunch for 40. Due to popular demand, there were two tour groups that day instead of the typical one. When the first group sat down for their meal, the other started exploring the estate. Much of what we know about the Tilton Mansion and its first resident has been pieced together from documents scattered in archives across the region. The club’s vice president of marketing as well as its resident historian, Stacey Inglis, spent years sleuthing in special collections libraries, tracking down every scrap of paper documenting the storied life of Dr. James Tilton—field surgeon in the Revolutionary War, delegate in the Continental Congress from 1783 to 1785, first Surgeon General of the United States Army–appointed during the War of 1812–and first president of the Medical Society of Delaware. The second and third floors of the mansion are a museum exhibit of Tilton’s life, with documents, images and artifacts in cases and framed on the walls. Inglis even tracked down his original diploma from the medical school at the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania, where Tilton earned his Doctor of Medicine in 1771. He joined the rebellion in 1775, enlisting as a surgeon in the First Delaware Regiment. In addition to operating on the wounded, Tilton was a brilliant physician who developed an advanced understanding of infectious disease many decades before the discovery of bacteria. He redesigned the army’s field hospitals and implemented quarantine methods to prevent transmission of contagious disease, a decision that likely saved the Continental Army after an outbreak of typhus and dysentery during the winter of 1777.



Casapulla’s Steak & Sub Shop

Photo Butch Comegys

“Home of the Classic Italian Sub” Offering:

SUBS & STEAKS Latisha Bridges, a server at the University and Whist Club of Wilmington, strikes a pose on the stairs at the front entrance of the club located on Broom Street.

Throughout the tour, Inglis interjects asides about her own research into Tilton’s life. She recalls an afternoon in the archives of the Delaware Historical Society on Market Street. Along with Mark Meister, former executive director of the Medical Society of Delaware who has since retired, the two were granted access to Tilton’s letters, secured in a vault and rarely removed for public view. “We were like two kids on Christmas morning,” says Inglis. “I was literally holding a letter from Alexander Hamilton” that appointed Tilton as Delaware’s commissioner of loans for the newly established Treasury Department. They also discovered correspondence with Thomas Jefferson and Caesar Rodney. “George Washington had an office on Market Street” as he awaited the British assault that would become known as the Battle of the Brandywine, says Inglis. Thousands of soldiers were encamped around the city, including on the hilltop that would become Tilton’s home. “Everything about this house and Dr. Tilton not only are part of Delaware’s history but are part of our nation’s history,” Inglis continues. In 1802—the same year E.I. du Pont started manufacturing gunpowder at Hagley—Tilton began construction of the original two-story home where he would live for the remainder of his life as both a public servant and professional physician. In the basement is the stone slab upon which the surgeon conducted his business. He once even operated on himself, sort of. As Delaware Today reported in 2017, “In 1815, at age 70, Tilton would have his left leg amputated at the hip–without anesthetics. He advised the surgeons during the operation.” Following Tilton’s death in 1822, the original house was renovated and expanded by industrialist Charles Howland, Delaware’s sixth lieutenant governor, Danforth Bush, and finally Francis V. du Pont, Jr., who saved the property from a real estate developer seeking to demolish the mansion to build row homes. In 1935, du Pont leased the property to the University Club of Wilmington, which purchased it in 1937 and merged with the Whist Club in 1958.



(302) 994-5934


FEEL-GOOD HISTORY As interesting as these stories are, however, historical recovery is also a marketing tool that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Dining at the Tilton Mansion, in its own small way, supports the preservation of local history, just like drinking a beer at Stitch House Brewery or attending a show at The Queen. Supporting a cause makes people feel good. ►





Bachetti’s Famous

Valentine’s Dinner

ADAPTING AND UPDATING continued from previous page

You don’t need to go out to get a homemade meal! Try our famous, made from scratch Valentine’s Dinner

Lobster Bisque • Two Large Crab Stuffed Mushrooms • Steamed Asparagus Limone Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes • Chocolate Truffle Torte for Dessert

For the main course, choose from these two entrees: Petite Filet Mignon (5oz) stuffed with our famous crab imperial and served with Hollandaise sauce.

Boneless chicken breast (8oz) with Prosciutto and smoked provolone with tomato concasse.

Only $21.99 per person, reserve yours today! Fresh F resh Fresh F resh hF Fresh to tresh h to t h to t

The goal, says Inglis, “is to establish roots in the building’s history—securing its future with the use of its past.” And they’re trying to make that history as visible as possible. Since the sale of the estate in 2016, the mansion is now an asset of The Tilton Mansion Preservation Society. The Delaware Public Archives officially recognized the site with a historical marker in 2017. All promotional materials now refer to the Tilton Mansion as “home to the University and Whist Club,” which rents the space and fulfills its separate mission as a private fine dining club.

Rid dic Rid cu dic ul Rid cu lo odic ou ul ulo o ou cu sly ul uylo sou oly u ysly y de elde lic el ci clde ic oci ou cel ulou o sic .u c sou ci o. us.

Order by Mon. 2/11. Available for pick-up 2/13 through 2/14

your yo our o your yo ur our o ur your yo bowl. b bo our o ow bowl. bo b ur wlow .wl bo b bowl. ow . wl.

302.994.4467 | 4723 Kirkwood Hwy. Midway Plaza


Build Build Your Build Your Own Your Own Bowl Own Bowl Bowl

Choose Choose aChoose base, a base, protein, a base, protein, sauce protein, sauce and sauce and toppings. toppings. and toppings.



Brown Brown Rice Brown Rice | Spring Rice | Spring Mix | Spring Mix | White |Mix White Rice | White Rice Rice

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Fresh to your bowl.

Edamame Edamame Edamame | Corn | Corn | Sweet | Corn | Sweet Onions | Sweet Onions Onions FINISHING FINISHING FINISHING SAUCES SAUCES SAUCES Jalapeños Jalapeños Jalapeños | OG| OG Veg|Veg OGRidiculously Veg Avocado Avocado Avocado Cream Cream | Wasabi Cream | Wasabi | Cream Wasabi Cream Cream Togarashi Togarashi Togarashi | Jamaican | Jamaican | Jamaican Cream Cream Cream delicious.


PREMIUM PREMIUM PREMIUM TOPPINGS TOPPINGS TOPPINGS +$1+$1 +$1 Shoyu Shoyu | Ponzu Shoyu | Ponzu | |OG Ponzu | OG Sauce |Sauce OG Sauce Avocado Avocado | Macadamia | Macadamia |AMacadamia NutsNuts |cocktail Masago Nuts | Masago ||Masago Surimi | Surimi Island Island Fin Island Fin FireFire |Fin Wicked |Fire Wicked | Wahine Wicked Wahine Wahine Avocado historic named the| Surimi Tilton Saz is poured by Double Double Double Protein Protein Protein +$6+$6 +$6bartender Brian Burnett.

Although the club remains an exclusive enclave for Wilmington’s well-to-do, it has taken steps to make membership more appealing. Dues are now calculated on a sliding scale, beginning under $1,000, not including POKE P OK O POKE P KO OK EK POKE P BOWLS BO BOW B E OK O K BOWLS BO BOW B WLS W WL ELS LWL WLS W BOWLS BO BOW B SLS LWL WLS W S LS LS the $750 initiation fee and $900 annual Remachine Script SPICY SPICY TUNA SPICY TUNA TUNA SALMON SALMON SALMON minimum on food and beverage OG OG sauce, sauce, OG edamame, sauce, edamame, edamame, cucumber cucumber cucumber & & & Ponzu Ponzu sauce, Ponzu sauce, cucumber, sauce, cucumber, cucumber, purchases. In addition to the traditional avocado avocado avocado topped topped with topped with togarashi togarashi with togarashi sauce. sauce. sauce. edamame, edamame, edamame, seaweed seaweed seaweed & avocado. & avocado. & avocado. fine dining experience, there are TRADITIONAL TRADITIONAL TRADITIONAL TUNA TUNA TUNA VEGETABLE VEGETABLE VEGETABLE POKE POKE POKE special events likeavocado, Wine University and Shoyu Shoyu sauce, Shoyu sauce, sea sauce, sea salt,salt, sea salt, Ponzu Ponzu sauce, Ponzu sauce, edamame, sauce, edamame, edamame, corn, corn, avocado, corn, avocado, maui maui onions maui onions & onions seaweed. & seaweed. & seaweed. cucumber cucumber cucumber & jalapeno. & jalapeno. & jalapeno. Colonial Tea. Drinks Drinks Drinks

Menus have also been updated. “We Dole Dole Whip Dole Whip Whip

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CupCup Cup change

Photo Butch Comegys


Photo Butch Comegys Photo Butch Comegys

A king salmon entree is ready to serve for lunch at the University and Whist Club.

Would the beef short rib tacos have been on the menu five years ago? “Probably not,” Crispin says. “This isn't the old stuffy club it was when your grandparents were members.” While Delabear was busy outwitting multiple government agencies, my tour group sat down for lunch. Burgers and crab cakes were popular, as was the Caesar salad, delivered in a parmesan cheese bowl. Some in the group had their own stories to share about the mansion, like Gerald Shields, who had never seen the inside of the mansion even though his mother used to wait tables here in the 1960s. Everyone seemed to enjoy his or her meal, as well as the conversation. But when asked if they would consider joining the club, many of my fellow diners respectfully declined to answer. “Would it be nice if some of our ‘Whist-ory’ fans joined the club after a great experience? Of course, but that is not what the tours were intended for when we created them,” says Inglis. “Our history tours have hit a nerve. History buffs and longtime Delawareans have responded so positively to the opportunity to take a glimpse inside the mansion and behind the stone walls, which are normally off limits to non-members.” By the end of lunch, as my fellow diners were walking full and happy to their cars—and just as Delabear had escaped, narrowly avoiding a speeding freight train and disappearing into the woods along the Brandywine—bar manager and mixologist Brian Burnett was demonstrating mixological sciences with the creation of the Tilton Saz—a Sazeracinspired beverage with a smooth citrus finish. Burnett spritzes some sprigs of rosemary with citron extract and sets them on fire, allowing the sprigs to burn only briefly before setting a glass on top to extinguish the flame. The smoke coats the inside of the glass, laying the foundation for the drink’s unique lemon-rosemary twist. With the smoke contained, Burnett mixes rye brandy, citrus-orange bitters, honey liqueur and Benedictine over ice and rolls the concoction around in a cocktail shaker. The final ingredient to this witch's brew is a single spritz of Chartreuse. He then strains the mixture into a glass, and the creation ritual is over. Time to raise a glass to the updated University and Whist Club. FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


Valentine’s Day in the historic Tilton Mansion

à la carte menu offerings include: Duck | Surf-n-Turf | Dover Sole | Ribeye | Crab Cake


February 14th Seatings 5-9 pm


Reservations Required (302) 658-5125 See full menu @whistevents Tilton Mansion home to The University and Whist Club | 805 N. Broom St. Wilmington, DE 19806 302.369.9414 | 108 West Main Street Newark, DE | www.deerparktavern.com





Everything from salsa to fajitas to guacamole!

Feb. 14th thru 17th

$55 • Three-Course Meal $25 Strawberry Margarita Pitchers

IN THE BIZ 10pm-1am Wed-Sun

Discounts to those in the Restaurant Industry



MargaritaS! Start at 7pm


EXPRESS LUNCH! Quick Service, but Always Delicious!

302.478.3939 | 3100 Naamans Road | MexicanPost.com | Facebook.com/Mex.Post 48 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM




BITES Tasty things worth knowing

Compiled by Bev Zimmermann



he Delaware Collaborative (DE. CO) food hall’s new tenant Stu & Sammy’s will bring delicatessen-style soup and sandwiches to the stall formerly occupied by The Verandah. Makers Alley Chef James Sparks will be the mastermind behind the menu, which will feature modern interpretations of classics like the French dip and Cubano alongside crowd-pleasing soups. The Burger Joint, which has been operating the pop-up in conjunction with Federale Tacos for the past few months, has renewed its lease and launched a new menu in January, introducing stuffed burgers and salads. DE.CO features daily specials and activities, along with happy hour daily from 3 - 7p.m. Visit the website at decowilmington.com for more information.



ov. John Carney announced in January that Delaware’s Farmers Markets hit an all-time high with sales of $3.28 million in 2019. Fresh produce made up 57 percent of total sales, with the remainder coming from products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, breads, salsa, eggs and honey. “In a time when ordering groceries using an app and picking up curbside is popular, these figures are indicative of how much people value the connection with the farmers growing their food,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse.

his is the time of year to set up an order with a local farm to get fresh produce from spring through fall. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a model in which the customers support farmers by paying at the beginning of the season for seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables. This plays a vital role in the sustainability of the small farms. Participants pick up their vegetables, pre-packaged for them, at a designated location each week. Highland Orchards on Foulk Road and Bright Spot Urban Farm, operating with West End Neighborhood House, are two on a growing list. For more information, go to highlandorchardsfarmmarket.com or brightspotfarms.org.



oke Bros, a franchise that started in 2016, is committed to serving highquality, sushi-grade fish and farmfresh veggies in an authentic Hawaiian poké bowl. Five of its 34 locations are in Delaware: Main Street in Newark, Kirkwood Highway, Fairfax Shopping Center, Middletown and Dover. They offer signature bowls, or you can build your own. Most locations are served by Uber Eats. Order online at eatpokebros.com.



he formal, high-end French cuisine Green Room restaurant in the Hotel du Pont has closed, to be reopened as Le Cavalier at the Green Room this spring. The new management has described the renovated restaurant as more casual than the iconic Green Room. It will be a chef-driven restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch seven days a week, 365 days a year. Chef/ Partner Tyler Akin will design menus that showcase innovative riffs on French classics alongside ever-evolving seasonal offerings that showcase the vibrancy of Delaware foodways. The restaurant, designed by Stokes Architecture & Design, will have 125 seats with an intimate 14-seat bar, a private dining room and seasonal outdoor patio seating on Rodney Square.

A Week of Prix-Fixe Dining at Wilmington’s Premier Restaurants



April 20-26

Mark Your Calendar Now!

LUNCH: 2 courses $15 DINNER: 3 courses $35 For info & menus, visit: CityRestaurantWeek.com FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



More timely than ever.

The Crucible By Arthur Miller Directed by Ben Barnes

MARCH 5 – 22

ROSELLE CENTER FOR THE ARTS NEWARK, DE | (302) 831-2204 WWW.REP.UDEL.EDU Sponsored in part by:





February: Sweet on the Arts There’s plenty of tasty ArtStuff happening this month, including music, theater, visual arts and more By Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald

Shine a Light® enters the material world, featuring a nostalgic set of hits from 1980. Photo Joe del Tufo

SHINE A LIGHT ENTERS DECADE OF EXCESS On Saturday, Feb. 29, at The Queen, Shine a Light® enters the material world, paying homage to 1980 and all that came with it: the launch of MTV and the Space Shuttle, the introduction of Macintosh Computers and “brick” cell phones, Valley Girls and yuppies This writer is personally very excited about the event, having grown up in the Decade of Decadence and all its big-haired, new wave, awesome glory. While Shine a Light’s set list is always the town’s bestkept secret, I’m thinking it must (or at least should) include legendary picks from staples like Benatar

and Springsteen, perhaps a little AC/DC and Blondie, and—dare I dream—Air Supply? This is the ninth year for Light Up the Queen’s annual fundraiser, which boasts a roster of more than 40 local rock stars. Tickets, both VIP and general, are available now, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to sell out, so don’t wait. A VIP ticket will get you into the party early (at 6 p.m.), and the doors open for all at 7. Visit Eventbrite.com for tickets. Dust off your legwarmers, Izod and Calvin Kleins. The ‘80s are totally back. ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM




The Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) has named 19 Delaware artists as its 2020 Individual Artist Fellows. This annual recognition grants Delaware artists funds to develop and advance their portfolio and endeavors as working artists. Submissions from nearly 140 Delaware choreographers, composers, musicians, writers, folk and visual artists were reviewed by independent out-of-state arts professionals. Those selected represent the arts statewide, hailing from Dover, Lewes, Milford, Milton, Newark, New Castle, Rehoboth Beach and Wilmington. Individual Artists Fellow awards are presented in three categories: $10,000 for the Masters Award; $6,000 for the Established Professional Award; and $3,000 for the Emerging Professional Award. According to the DDOA, an Emerging Professional is considered in the early stages of his/her career; an Established Professional is more experienced, achieving some recognition for his/her artwork (e.g., prizes, awards, publication). The Masters category is an artist who has received an Established Professional Fellowship in the same discipline from the DDOA more than seven years ago. Wilmington-area musician Mark Unruh is the DDOA Masters Award recipient in Folk Art: Music. Unruh is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and instructor who teaches at The Music School of Delaware, Accent Music Store in Wilmington and Pro Musica Studios in Kennett Square, Pa. His musical style ranges from bluegrass to classical, jazz, blues, rock and ragtime. He has shared the stage with such legends as David Bromberg, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Tammy Wynette and David Grier. “Individual Artist Fellowship grants provide the recognition and exposure that artists need to successfully promote their work,” said Paul Weagraff, director of Delaware Division of the Arts. “The financial award allows them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs to advance their careers.” All recipients are required to present at least one exhibit or performance during the upcoming year, providing an opportunity for the public to experience their work. The work of all the DDOA Fellows will be featured in a group exhibition, entitled Award Winners XX, at the Biggs Museum in Dover from June 5 to July 23. Selections from award winners will also exhibit at CAMP Rehoboth in Rehoboth Beach for the month of August and Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington from Sept. 4 to Oct. 25. Here are the other award winners: FEBRUARY: SWEET ON THE ARTS continued from previous page

ESTABLISHED PROFESSIONAL AWARDS • Taylor Reid Adams of Wilmington – Literature: Fiction • Anne Colwell of Milton – Literature: Creative Nonfiction • Merideth Hite Estevez of Wilmington – Music: Solo Recital • Shelley Koon of Dover -- Visual Arts: Photography • Ralph Gresham Lam of Wilmington – Folk Art: Music • Aaron Paskins of Dover – Visual Arts: Sculpture • Nicholas Serratore of Lewes – Visual Arts: Works on Paper • Constance M. Simon of Wilmington – Visual Arts: Painting • Caroline N. Simpson of Wilmington – Literature: Poetry • Robert Bruce Weston of Milton – Visual Arts: Crafts • Jonathan W. Whitney of Wilmington – Jazz: Composition • Michele Xiques of Milford – Dance: Choreography EMERGING PROFESSIONAL AWARDS • Sarah Bennett of Rehoboth Beach -- Literature: Creative Nonfiction • Kim DeCicco of Lewes -- Literature: Fiction • Kari Ann Ebert of Dover – Literature: Poetry • Michael Fleishman of Milford – Visual Arts: Works on Paper • Chloe McEldowney of Wilmington – Visual Arts: Painting • Guy Miller of New Castle – Visual Arts: Sculpture HONORABLE MENTION: • Crystal Heidel of Milton – Literature: Fiction • Colleen Zufelt of Wilmington – Visual Arts: Sculpture 52 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

Photo courtesy of the Delaware Art Museum

Artist Julio daCunha’s work is featured in Delaware Arts Museum’s Distinguished Artist Series.


Delaware Art Museum is preparing an exhibit by Columbian artist Julio daCunha as part of its Distinguished Artist Series, which recognizes artists who have made an impact on their local community. daCunha’s exhibit, Modernizing Myths, will be on view Feb. 29 through May 10, and includes works from the art museum’s collection as well as pieces from public institutions and private collections. Julio daCunha was born in 1929 in Bogotá, Colombia. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), he came to Delaware and began teaching at the University of Delaware. He served as department chair from 1966 to 1969 and continued to teach until his retirement in 1994. daCunha has named among his influences such artists as Gorky, Klee, Picasso and de Goya. The art museum has issued a call to patrons to sponsor this singular, locally connected exhibit. Donors who contribute $250 or more before Friday, Feb. 7, will receive named recognition on the exhibit’s gallery wall. Contributions will continue to be accepted after this date, but recognition will not be included on the wall. To make a gift, visit delart.org, selecting “daCunha sponsorship” as the designation.

OTHER ARTSTUFF OF NOTE Blues Artists’ Musical Might in Arden On Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m., Arden Concert Gild welcomes a pair of artists who pack a one-two punch of bluesy female force. Vanessa Collier and Deb Callahan and their bands hit the Arden stage to commence the “Night of the Mighty Blues Women.” Collier—a nationally known singer/songwriter and instrumentalist—took home the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award for Best Horn Player in 2019, reportedly blowing the roof off the Nashville venue in a sax performance with mentor Joe Louis Walker. Callahan, a Philly-based soulful singer/songwriter with an enthusiastic regional and national following, has garnered raves from such industry media as Blues Review Magazine and jazzreview.com. Tickets are $20 at ardenconcerts.com or at Between Books in Arden. ►

FEB 21

Recline ON THE






Martin Reclaims Director’s Chair Delaware Theatre Company FEBRUARY: Executive Director Bud Martin SWEET ON THE ARTS once again steps into the continued from previous page director’s role for the Tony Award–nominated John Patrick Shanley play Outside Mullingar. Shanley (whose work includes the Oscar-winning screenplay for Moonstruck) sets this romantic comedy in rural Ireland. Shanley’s previous work, Doubt: A Parable, won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play. In Outside Mullingar, Anthony and Rosemary—played by Charlie DelMarcelle (Lucy & Saint Joan) and Kim Carson (Honk!) — are young farmers who “haven’t got a clue” about love. Both must overcome land feuds, family rivalries and their own romantic fears to find happiness. Shanley’s play, a mix of dark humor and poetic prose, reminds us that it’s never too late to take a chance on love. “Outside Mullingar captures the spirit of Ireland—it’s both beautiful and haunting,” says Martin. “It shows the [stubborn] nature of people who don’t know how to accept love in an environment where emotions are buried.” Outside Mullingar runs Feb. 12 through March 1. Tickets are available at delawaretheatre.org or by calling 594-1100. Opera Gets App-y at Bootless Bootless Stageworks continues to “unlace convention” with its production of GRINDR: The Opera—An Unauthorized Parody, which opened Jan. 31 at the group’s space in St. Stephens Church, 1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington. The piece—whose book, music, and lyrics were penned by New York playwright/composer/actor Erik Ransom—was named Best New Musical at the ninth annual Off-West End Awards (i.e.,

the “Offies,” which are akin to New York’s “Obies”) in London last year. For Bootless’ take, they tapped actor/director (and former OperaDelaware executive director) Leland “Buzz” Kimball to take the stage director helm, along with Music Director James W. Fuerst. Bootless Artistic Director Rosanne DellAversano saw Kimball and his daughter, Liz, performing in a cabaret, which, among other topics, addressed problems and joys of being a gay parent. Kimball hadn’t heard of the play when DellAversano first approached him. “And,” he adds, “I only had a vague idea of how the app [Grindr] worked. However, I found the libretto intriguing, funny and sometimes poignant, so I said I'd do it.” Kimball summarizes the story as four men who become involved after using the popular “hook-up” app. Two try a long-term relationship; the other two indulge in no-strings-attached one-night stands. In the show, he says, “Grindr” is actually a real character, sung by a countertenor and modeled after the Sirens of Greek mythology (who lured sailors to their death with their enchanting songs). With musical styles ranging from baroque to contemporary pop, Kimball says the opera explores the aspects of gay love from varying angles, but is still a show that can be widely enjoyed. “Audiences, whether gay or straight, should expect to be entertained,” he says. “The music is delightful and full of quotes from Lady Gaga to Stephen Sondheim to Gilbert and Sullivan; and we've dressed it up with a bit of choreography.” Kimball says that while the world represented in the play may not be completely familiar to some, the questions it asks are universal and thought-provoking—is love about instant gratification or commitment? Is sex about a struggle for power? Is it possible to forgive a lover who strays? GRINDR: The Opera is running now through Saturday, Feb. 15. Tickets are available at bootless.org.


DELAWARETHEATRE.ORG / 302.594.1100 / EXPERIENCE DTC 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 www.DelawareScene.com

1920 OA - Mullingar half page ad.indd 1 54 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

1/21/20 4:00 PM


An American Reinvention: Guinness Blonde is brewed at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, which opened in August, 2018. Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery

FLOWING FREELY AT THE OPEN GATE With its new brewery in Baltimore, Guinness sets sights on bold innovation By Jim Miller


y boss walks over with the assignment. “You want to take a private tour of the new Guinness brewery in Baltimore?” It’s like someone just asked Charlie if he wants a golden ticket to see Willy Wonka. Do I want to take a tour of the Guinness brewery? I’m a Guinness fan. Over the past 10 years, I’ve downed a healthy number of Guinness pints—maybe more than any other beer in the world. It’s not uncommon for me to walk into a regular hangout and have the bartender point and ask: “Guinness?” So I ponder how I could possibly write an impartial story on Guinness. How could I go on the tour without bringing along a journalistically unsound bias? It would be impossible. Unthinkable. Sensational. Do I want to take a tour? “Sure.”


Friday arrives. Late-afternoon and I’m driving southbound, my mood easing despite the mounting traffic. Sun shining, tunes playing. I’m brewery bound. Just 10 miles from downtown Baltimore, Guinness Open Gate Brewery opened last summer, touting itself as the first Guinness brewery in the U.S. since 1954. It’s one of 46 Guinness breweries in the world. “We’re combining over 260 years of Irish brewing experience with American beer creativity,” the Open Gate website states. “Our site features an experimental brewery, taproom, restaurant, brand store, food truck and beer garden...” The facility is impressive, with multiple massive buildings on the campus. I pull into the parking lot, walk in to the check-in table, then head to the tasting room, where rush hour is giving way to happy hour. ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery

FLOWING FREELY AT THE OPEN GATE continued from previous page

The Guinness Open Gate Brewery attracts fans at the redeveloped site of the historic Calvert distillery.

Slightly early for my tour, I saddle up bar-side and soon take my first sip of a fresh pour of Guinness stout. It’s wonderfully refreshing. The tasting room is centered largely around a rectangle-shaped bar that spans the length of the room. All 40 seats are filled. On the other side from me are 30 or so tables, all filled. And the place is alive. Everyone is smiling—customers and servers of all ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds. People are actually enjoying each other’s company, and nary a phone in sight. A bar-back literally whistles while he works, as bartenders make the rounds, serving full pints along with witty banter. One halfway expects to see a modern-day Norman Rockwell painting the scene from a nearby table. It’s a perfect moment in time. Ah, but too perfect? Looking around the room once more, I suddenly feel a tingle up my spine. Did I just join a cult or is this the happiest happy hour ever?


y tour guide walks up to the bar and introduces himself as Ryan Wagner. Through his dense black beard flashes another friendly smile—of course. Turns out Wagner is not your run-of-the-mill tour guide. In the U.S., the enthusiastic, 30-something Baltimore native is one of only nine Guinness Ambassadors. It’s a fun and prestigious-sounding title, but vague—unless it involves tapping the inaugural keg at UN conferences. “My job, in a nutshell, is to bring the brand to life wherever I go,” Wagner says. “No matter who interacts with our beer, no matter what that interaction looks like—if you’re selling it, if you’re displaying it, if you’re drinking it, if you’re pouring it—whatever it is, I make sure you’re doing it the right way and the way that brewers intended.” Sounds more serious than I expected. After another sip of my beer, I ask him if everyone who works here is always so cheery. “Just like any hospitality-focused business, there are challenges here for our staff,” Wagner says. “But I think the one thing that sets them apart is that every day we ask them to bring themselves. We’re not going to give them cookie-cutter training.” He looks across the bar and waves his hand as if casting a spell. “No two conversations being had between our bartenders and our customers right now are going to be the same,” he says. “And I think that’s incredibly important because if you go into any taproom or any brewery in the United States, you’re not going to get that cookie cutter experience, either.” “Everybody’s got their own story to tell. Everybody’s got their own beer to sell. Everybody’s got those things that engage the customers that they need to know by heart and say without even thinking about it. And if we were to put that on a sheet and say [to our employees], ‘Here are the 10 things we need you to know,’ it would be overrehearsed and inauthentic.” 56 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

I look around the room again. The happiness here definitely seems authentic. But then I commit a faux pas. As I finish the pint of stout, I ask if they brew it on the premises. They don’t. Up to 18 of the 20 taps at the bar are available for beers brewed in this building; two are reserved for the famed stout, brewed at the original Guinness brewery, St. James’s Gate in Dublin, Ireland. “So this taproom is the first to get the Guinness off the boat then?” I ask. I sense a tense note in Wagner’s polite delivery. “Yes, we’re the first to get the Guinness Draught off the boat, but every beer on tap here is a Guinness, not just the Draught,” he clarifies. “Open Gate is a Guinness brewery, and we make a variety of beers—all Guinness beer.” And with that misconception on my part about a brewery I claim to revere, we essentially start the private tour.


84 Years!


In my defense, my mistake is not uncommon. The success of Guinness Draught Stout, in many instances, has been a double-edged sword. “Especially in this country, there is a very fond but also very myopic view on what Guinness is: It’s a brewery based in Dublin, Ireland, that [brews] a single beer, a nitrogenated, black pint of stout,” Wagner says. “So we try to get them to open up to the fact that, no, it can be citrus IPA, it can be a coconut porter, it can be a barrel-aged strong ale.” That might be easier said than done. Thus far, efforts to introduce new Guinness beer products in the U.S. have faced challenges. “Guinness Blonde American Lager was not reaching the audience in a way that we intended,” Wagner says of a beer that was introduced in 2014. “One of the things it was lacking was authenticity. So our job here and our brewing team’s primary goal when we set up brewery operations was to take Guinness Blonde American Lager and give it that authenticity—give it a home.” As we walk downstairs, we find the heart of that home: Open Gate’s experimental brewery, which is situated directly below the taproom, the same place I just finished my stout while sticking my foot in my mouth. This brewery essentially feeds the taproom with smallbatch beers and one-offs. Before us, the 10-hectoliter brewing system’s tanks, pipes, and gauges glisten as if they had been polished just minutes earlier. The place is immaculate. It’s hard to imagine anyone ever having a sip of beer in this room, let alone brewing thousands of barrels of it. Wagner explains that the innovation that goes on in this room daily started with Open Gate’s team of brewers achieving that first task: the reinvention the Guinness Blonde American Lager. The resulting product, Guinness Blonde Ale, is now brewed exclusively in the larger, 100-hectoliter brewhouse next door, then distributed throughout the country. All of this is a bet that Guinness is making on America. Again. The first time Guinness brewed in the U.S. was from 1949 to 1954 in Long Island City, N.Y., a five-year experiment that didn’t pan out. “The difference is that in the early 1950s there were about 30 breweries in the United States total,” Wagner says. “These days there are more than 8,000. So it’s a much different atmosphere and it’s a much different market.” ►

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FLOWING FREELY AT THE OPEN GATE continued from previous page

Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery

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Great selection of...well... just about everything! —Yelp Ryan Wagner, Guinness Ambassador

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In fact, believe it or not, Guinness’ Long Island City facility closed five years before the brewery giant developed its most popular beer. That’s right: the 260-year-old-brewery didn’t start brewing Guinness Draught until 1959. That was 71 years ago. From that broad perspective, it’s easier to understand why Guinness is not content to rest on its laurels. The focus on innovation is underscored by the brewery’s name, Open Gate, identical to its sister brewery in Dublin, the experimental division at St. James’s Gate. “We’re all about creating that new, interesting story from Guinness, which is something that they [also] do in Dublin, obviously, at the Open Gate Brewery,” Wagner says. “All of the breweries in Guinness’ world look for ways to create and innovate. But the level in which you have to do it, you don’t see that anywhere else in the world except for here in the United States. “We get to come in and take advantage of what the American craft beer industry has built, which is a focus on innovation and creativity along with a consumer base that is so educated when it comes to beer. It’s not about turning to the beer they know—the beer that they’ve had a million times—it’s about turning to what’s next, what’s new: ‘How are you going to make me reengage with your brand?’”


As we talk more, it becomes clear that Wagner speaks about deep, thoughtful aspects of the business in exact and often eloquent terms. This must be what it takes to be a Guinness Ambassador. Maybe. But in Wagner’s case, it’s more than that.



Photo courtesy of Guinness Open Gate Brewery

Our recommendation from an area pro

“[Guinness] has existed as long as it has because it builds bonds between people,” says Wagner.

If Wagner has a gift for gab, it might be because he studied Musical Theater at Frostburg State University, just 150 miles west of Baltimore. Or the fact that after he graduated in 2007, he went on to perform on Broadway and in touring productions around the country for several years. Or that since 2012, he’s also been the public address announcer for the Orioles at Camden Yards. So the guy can speak confidently. But he also speaks with passion. He credits that fact and his current job to a trip to Ireland that he took with his wife, years before he ever thought to work for Guinness. “We flew into Dublin, and as part of our insane 16-hour tour of that city, one of the things I’d been adamant about was going to Guinness,” Wagner says. “That’s what you do: You got to go to St. James’s Gate and see the brewery… It’s the most magical place on Earth. It’s the single best tour I’ve ever done in my life.” The world “magical” swirls through my head as we take the tour. I think about all the happy people gathering upstairs around the bar. All the high spirits. I ask Wagner about it: Is that also part of the magic? “What I love about Guinness is that the brewery has existed as long as it has because it builds bonds between people,” he answers. “That’s what it does—no matter where you are in the world, no matter what it is that you are doing.” “That pint of Guinness Draught stout, for instance—we hear a story almost every day: ‘This is the beer that my dad and I shared on my wedding day’ or ‘This is the beer that I toast my grandfather with on the anniversary of his passing.’” “There are familial and meaningful, impactful memories and stories that people have regarding our beer. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I really like the way your beer tastes,’ it’s ‘I really like the way your beer makes me feel’ or ‘I really like the way your beer can transport me back to another part of my life.’ Everybody’s got a Guinness story.” The next chapter in the Guinness story, in America at least, is Open Gate. From what I saw on the first Friday of 2020, there is evidence that the place is attracting an appreciative audience. But what Open Gate is striving to do is no easy feat: Continue the Guinness tradition with a specific beer that unites generations of fans in an often emotional context—all while introducing new products and unknown flavors at a level of success that they’ve never quite achieved before in America. To use Wagner’s word, they may need some of that magic to make it happen. For what it’s worth, I’m rooting for them. I think they can do it. They have time—260 years of it—on their side.

From Justin Muzzi, bartender at Home Grown Cafe

THE BARN OWL Ingredients: • • • • •

2 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin 1 oz. simple syrup 1/2 oz. lemon juice 1/2 oz. lime juice 1 oz. soy milk

• • • •

1 oz. Aquafaba (chickpea water) 5 drops orange blossom water 2 drops vanillla extract splash of club soda

Directions: 1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. 2. Dry shake (without ice) for 30 seconds. 3. Shake with ice for at least one minute. 4. Strain into a Collins glass with no ice. 5. Top with a splash of club soda. 6. Garnish with Graham Cracker sprinkled on foam. With this cocktail, I wanted to create something creamy and frothy for winter that vegans could enjoy. The Barn Owl is a variation of a gin fizz, which uses heavy cream and egg whites (along with quite a bit of shaking) to achieve its frothiness. This effect is achieved with soy milk and Aquafaba, which is the water that canned chickpeas are packaged in, and happens to be of a consistency similar to egg whites. It is typically used in creating vegan baked goods. I have also added lime and vanilla extract to give this cocktail just a slight dessert flavor that goes well with the winter season. FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM



GROUP EFFORT Last year's Shine A Light show was named “Best Fundraiser” by Delaware Today. Photo Joe del Tufo

A massive amount of cooperation makes the Shine A Light series truly shine


ccording to an old proverb, “A songbird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.” I love the imagery and sentiment of that quote. I also find it amusing that no one seems sure who said it first. Over the ages, the saying has been attributed to poets, authors, critics, and anonymous Chinese sages. Perhaps the uncertainty of the source merely reinforces its meaning. I’ve been involved with the Shine A Light concert series from the start, from the first meeting when organizers pitched the idea to serving as one of the board members of the Light Up the Queen Foundation. I’ve never used my access to the magazine to write about it personally until now. From Day One, the concept of Shine A Light has been an ambitious premise. It’s not just the fact that every year the concert showcases dozens of solo musicians and members of various bands playing together—sometimes for the first time—but also that the line-up of musicians changes on every song throughout the night. I don’t know of any other show like it in the country. Maybe no one else is crazy enough to try. There is also another important fact: This show raises money for The Light Up the Queen Foundation, a local non-profit organization that seeks to inspire children in at-risk communities by cultivating interest and education in the arts. In other words, the musicians are giving back, hoping our efforts might provide musical opportunities to kids growing up in less fortunate circumstances than we were given growing up. 60 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

That might be the one thing the musicians do agree on. Almost every other choice, decision and option is possibly up for debate. Everyone has an opinion. Imagine ordering two pizzas for six people and trying to make everyone happy with the right combinations of toppings. Now picture picking 30-plus songs for 50plus musicians to play, on and relish the complete madness of it all. That said, every year, this show lifts The Queen theater a few feet off the ground. The last one was named “Best Fundraiser” by Delaware Today. Cooperation and teamwork does that. Beyond the musicians themselves, there are dozens of other volunteers who put hundreds of hours into this show. But by the time the last note of the night is played, everyone is smiling. This month we are focusing on optimism and innovation. Shine A Light offers both. The show is innovative because every song features an entirely different combination of musicians. It’s also optimistic because, ultimately, it’s a celebration of music in every way possible. I hope this show goes on forever. Long after all of us are gone, future generations of musicians will be arguing about pizza toppings, then getting on stage to play their hearts out. And when they look back at all the people who started it, they won’t know our names or care about what answers we had. They’ll just know that we had a song. For tickets to Shine A Light, visit LightUpTheQueen.org. — Jim Miller


TUNED IN Not-to-be-missed music news WSTW CANCELS ‘HOMETOWN HEROES’

After 21 years running, local music program “Hometown Heroes” was canceled last month by 93.7 WSTW, the station that featured it weekly on Sunday nights. The news came as a shock and disappointment to area musicians and local music fans, as well as to Mark Rogers, the most recent host DJ, who ran the program for nearly a decade and a half. “I’m a little overwhelmed at the showing of support from fans who reached out to me in the past few weeks—people showing ways that the show helped them with their music careers,” Rogers said last month in a phone interview. “That passion has reinforced the feeling that I’d like to remain involved.” That said, Rogers admits he’s not sure what his next steps are, but he says he holds no hard feelings toward the station or anyone else involved with the decision to cancel the show. “I feel blessed to have been given this platform for so many years,” Rogers says. “And I’ve learned from lessons in the past that sometimes when I’m forced out of my comfort zone, new and better ideas come forward.”


Fred Reed, who is the co-founder and CFO of the Jefferson Award-Winning Reeds’ Refuge in Wilmington, is releasing his first solo EP this month, Lovesided, which will be available on all major digital platforms. The release comes on the heels of the last month’s debut of “My Friend Back,” the first single from Lovesided. According to Reed, in just nine days, the video for the single garnered 25,000 views and more than 5,000 followers on Spotify. “It feels good to see people enjoying my work,” Reed says. “It’s been awesome.” Since 2012, Reed and his wife, Cora, have been active on Wilmington’s East Side in using the arts to mentor children in at-risk communities. Through Reeds’ Refuge, they have provided after-school programming to more than 1,000 children annually. You can catch Reed performing in this year’s Shine A Light concert, a benefit for The Light Up The Queen Foundation, on Saturday, Feb. 29.


Earth Radio, a Philly-based folk rock band, is finishing up its second studio EP and is targeting a spring release. The band, which has performed at the Philadelphia and Delmarva Folk Festivals, features vocalists Jani Duerr and Joanna Osborne, bassist Jay Jolly and drummer Dan Lord. For more on the band or upcoming shows visit earthradioband.com.

FEBRUARY MUSIC at Kelly’s Logan House Look for these great bands upstairs!


DJ Willoughby - 10 p.m.

FRIDAY, 2/07 Chorduroy - 10 p.m.

SATURDAY, 2/08 DJ Andrew Hugh - 10 p.m.

FRIDAY, 2/14

The Way Outs - 10 p.m.

SATURDAY, 2/15 Niknax - 10 p.m.

FRIDAY, 2/21

Under the Covers - 10 p.m.


DJ Andrew Hugh - 10 p.m.

FRIDAY, 2/28 High Reeper - 10 p.m.

SATURDAY, 2/29 DJ Gifted Hands- 10 p.m. 1701 Delaware Ave. Wilmington, DE 19806 (302) 652-9493

LOGANHOUSE.COM Bands and times subject to change.




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BETTER TOGETHER They have other projects, but all five members of Fiancé agree that ‘this feels right’ By David Ferguson


he first time I saw Fiancé play I was dressed in an unflattering Batman onesie. It was Halloween of 2015 and the venue wasn’t a bar, festival, or any place with a stage. It was in the kitchen in a house in Newark. With their backs to the kitchen’s marble island, they began checking their instruments as merry revelers packed the room, almost smothering the performers. Everyone was dressed up and for a moment, I was confident that Jimmy Hendrix had walked through the crowd. It was, after all, the night of the dead. After a few guitar strokes, bass plucks, and drum blasts, a voice came over the mic. "We're Fiancé. This is a cover," said frontman Andrew Fusca. Then they played The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden.” I remember the way the crowd sang and laughed along with the band. Monsters, zombies, superheroes, knights, and princesses were all hopping and dancing along to the tune. When that song ended, Fiancé went on to play a full set from their first EP, aptly titled EP-1 (2014). They finished by surprising their audience with a cover of “Monster Mash,” generating enough electricity in the room to raise Frankenstein's monster.

Five years later, Fiancé has evolved, and it’s unlikely they’ll be playing in Newark kitchens any time soon. They boast a well-constructed playlist and a large following. They've performed at Firefly Music Festival in Dover; they've played in England, New York, Philadelphia, and many venues in Wilmington, including a heavily attended show at The Queen. From 2014 to 2016, the band seemed to be on fire. Then, they decided to take a breather. All five members are involved with one or more bands other than Fiancé. Guitarist and vocalist Fusca works on his solo project, REW, and released a self-titled album online in 2017 with a follow-up cassette tape of the same album (with a few additional tracks) in 2019. Fusca also helps produce music for other local artists. Bassist Tyler Yoder recorded a solo project that gained steam in 2016 called Milieu Lust. Drummer Brian "Octie" Bruce heads the Wilmington-based group Gozer. On keys, Sam Nobles is perhaps most famous for his past work with Mean Lady as well as playing countless jazz sets around the state with Bruce Anthony. Guitarist Jeff Marvel works on his own music and contributes to Fusca’s production process. It's safe to say that each member had a large enough plate to stay busy for a while—without Fiancé. ►

▲ Fiancé: (L-R) Sam Nobles, Brian "Octie" Bruce, Andrew Fusca, Jeff Marvel and Tyler Yoder. Photo Nichole Fusca FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM






Then, in 2018, the band put out a four-track EP, Feverdream, and started playing local shows again. Now, the five members are preparing to release a new single BETTER TOGETHER continued from previous page this month and a full-length album that will hit the web later this year. I sat down with four of the members at Trolley Tap House one night last month to discuss their music. Here’s how it went: O&A: How did Fiancé come to be? Yoder: Andrew, Jeff and I have been in many bands together in the past. We started together when we were 13 or 14, whatever age you are when you're in eighth grade, and it just all came together when we got a little older.


Something For Everyone.

O&A: So three of you have been together forever; how did Octie and Sam get involved? Yoder: Andrew and I were working at Cafe Olé in Newark below Frolic on Main Street, being the worst possible baristas ever. I think we played a show there, but it's slipping my memory if that’s when we met Octie or not. Anyway, Octie just showed up to one of our earlier shows and was like, “Yo, let me drum for your band." Marvel: We were using a drum machine before Octie joined. Just then, Fusca gets up, clears some space, and attempts a cartwheel in the middle of the empty bar. "Anyone want a beer?" he asks while getting back to a standing position. We all raise our hands in unison, and he dashes to the bar. Yoder: Sorry about him. Marvel: That's our guy. O&A: So then you two, with Fusca and Octie, are Fiancé. What about Sam? How did he join the group? Yoder: I moved to San Fran for a while in 2016. That’s when Sam joined the band and played bass for a while. The whole time I was out west, I was trying to find the local scene out there and figure out how to get involved with some musicians, but it was tough. Also, Andrew has this way of being really persuasive in the way he sends me tracks that he has been working on, and when I heard Sam playing on the tracks, I got excited to get back east and contribute. O&A: What was it like when he (Yoder) was in California? Marvel: We were all kind of like confused as to if we were still a band or not. That was around 2016. So, we just continued to try and make music and when Tyler came back later in the year, it was like “Welcome home!” and we got right back to creating music together. Fusca joins the table again with a round of drinks. Fusca: What'd I miss? Yoder: Just me living in California for a bit. Fusca: Yeah, that was weird when that happened. O&A: Do you feel like it was a hiatus? It seemed like everyone in Delaware knew your name for a while, and then you guys were gone. Poof! What happened? Fusca: No. We continued to make music, sometimes as a solo project, but still. Yoder: Yeah, we were always still a band. Marvel: When we get together and drink a few beers... Fusca: A few beers is an understatement. Tell the people the truth. Marvel: Yeah, when we get together and play music together, recording consumes us. We don't have to play shows to still be making music. Yoder: Knowing that people are still listening is incredible. And I'm sure we will play shows with the new album coming out, but just having the music made is excellent. Fusca: To be honest, shows were never our big concern. Even after playing overseas and Firefly, I realized performing live wasn't my main goal and I think everyone else realized that too. Marvel: We're all introverts and we go through periods of not playing shows, but I'm sure we will have a few shows when we release the new album. Sam Nobles walks into the bar and joins the table. 64 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

Homegrown • Family-Owned



FI TNE SS CENTER Photo Nichole Fusca


The band practices. "We don't have to play shows to still be making music," says Marvel.

Fusca: There's our sweet angel. Yoder: He really is, isn't he? Marvel: Just look at him. So sweet. Nobles: Hey, fellas. I'm going to grab a beer, who wants one? Again the group raises hands in unison and this time Nobles strides to the bar. O&A: What about the new album? It will be the first album since 2016, save the EP in 2018. What’s different this time around? Yoder: I think our sound used to be like dream pop, is that safe to say? He looks to his right at Fusca, as if to confirm the accusation. Fusca: Yeah, I get that. Yoder: This album is a lot darker; it's heavier. Raw would be a good word, almost. Marvel: I agree with that. We've been listening to a lot of metal lately.



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O&A: Did the recording process change? Fusca: Kind of. The whole album was recorded in Jeff's basement. No sound-treated room. No studio. It's gritty in comparison to our older stuff. Darker, for sure. O&A: Did the writing process change as well? Yoder: Yeah, it did. We have a lot of music saved up from the years and sometimes we will just sit and play. Andrew will pull out a track from three or four years ago and we’ll give it another listen. It wasn’t so much starting from scratch, but creating what we already started. Marvel: When we hear it later, a track I mean, it may have a different meaning than what it meant when we first recorded it. We might take that track and add to it or clean it. When it’s done, we know it’s done. I'm really happy with the tracks that we chose for this album. Sam Nobles joins the table again and hands out the round of beers. OA: Does that go for all of you? Happy with the track choices? Nobles: I'm happy with them. Andrew put in a lot of work; we all did. I get excited when he sends me over something in the final stages. It’s good to hear what the final product sounds like. Yoder: The 10 tracks on the album are all great and they're all kind of related. It all works well together. Fusca: Yeah. I think it works. ► FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM


LISTEN BETTER TOGETHER continued from previous page

O&A: So, there's a single coming out this month, right? Fusca: Yeah, I don't have an exact date yet, but it will be out in February for sure. OA: And the album? Fusca: We're aiming to have it out around spring. Again, I don't have an exact date, but it's coming. Marvel: And we will start reaching out and playing shows soon enough. Yoder: At least a few shows right after the album drops. OA: Where is Octie tonight? Fusca: He's working with another one of the bands that he plays in, working in his new drumsticks made of precious metals and bones. The four of them laugh heartily.

Plastic bags damage recycling processing machines.Recycle them at the store instead.Learn ways to recycle right at RecycleRightDE.org.

O&A: Since each of you is involved with another project or multiple projects, what keeps you coming back to Fiancé? Marvel: This is just fun. It feels right. Fusca: We all like making music and hanging out, when we do both, it just works. Yoder: Other projects are great, but Fiancé feels like home. Nobles: Andrew has a way with mastering music, it's something that can't be taught and it's really awesome to watch and be around that. All of these guys have something that feels good to be around. He blushes. Fusca: Aw, thanks, man. O&A: Is there anything else you'd like to add? They exchange looks and even crack a few jokes about what they'd like to add. After a few moments of silence, Marvel says, "What we have is good. I don't think it will ever end." Plastic bags damage The others nod in recycling agreement. processing Fiancé is set to release a single machines.Recycle them at thefrom store their upcoming album Gory this month, instead.Learn to recycle right at with the full ways album coming to streaming services in the spring. For more information RecycleRightDE.org. on upcoming shows, visit Facebook.com/ fianceDE or follow the band on Spotify.


4/13/18 3:27 PM


Unleash Your

Inner Viking The fun’s open to just about everyone at Delaware’s first competitive axe throwing establishment

By Ken Mammarella


ere are a few important things to know about competitive axe throwing: First, it is, in fact, a thing. Second, almost anyone can participate. Third, it’s a friendly activity that draws repeat business. “Anyone can do it,” confirms Sarah Evans, who owns Battle Axe, an arena near Glasgow, with her father, Mike. “We’ve had blind, pregnant, elderly and young people. All had a wonderful time.” “All you need to do is be ready to listen to your lane officials. Relax. Don’t overthink. And enjoy,” says Mike Evans. He also claims that “drinking improves your throwing. I’ve seen it many times”—although not at Battle Axe, which does not yet have a liquor license. Competitive axe throwing began in the early 2000s in Toronto, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported just before

the 2019 National Axe Throwing Federation Championships (that’s a thing, too). The craze spread to Delaware in 2018, when the Evanses opened the state’s first permanent facility, featuring a 7,000-square-foot arena. It followed pop-ups they did and still do at places like Liquid Alchemy Beverages and Midnight Oil Brewing Co. down the street. Mike first heard about the trend from coworkers. By day, he’s an IT guy, and by night, he’s CE-Odin, a mashup reflecting his leadership of the business (Sarah is director of social interactions) and the Norse god Odin. “Unleash your inner Viking” is a prominent Battle Axe slogan, and Mike looks a bit like a younger Odin, albeit without an eyepatch. His roots go back to Ireland, which was once ruled by Vikings, “so I might have some Viking in me,” he claims. ►

▲ CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON: Axes ready for throwing at Battle Axe. Photo courtesy of Battle Axe



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Photo courtesy of Battle Axe

UNLEASH YOUR INNER VIKING continued from page 67

Buy a plate, CLEAN UP OUR STATE.

A customer throws an axe at Battle Axe's mobile throwing unit at Liquid Alchemy in Wilmington.

The Battle Station

Battle Axe, the only Delaware arena to meet the high standards of the International Axe Throwing Federation, is in a bland building in the Pencader Business Park. Inside, 10 lanes, with two targets each, are framed in wood, all exhibiting scars of successful and not-so axe throws. Competitors are getting better, Mike says, judging by the increased ratio of gashes in the centers of the targets. Black lines on the concrete floor mark the starting position; red lines mark the danger zone near the targets; and blue lines set up the two competitors for tiebreakers. Axe throwers (who must be at least 13) can walk in, reserve time and join leagues that run for eight weeks. Beginners are in the Midgard league on Tuesday evenings, with experts in the Asgard league on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. On battleaxewilm.com, Battle Axe lists its rules; the first and most important is this: “No douche-baggery.” The first step for participants is signing a 500-word waiver recognizing “certain inherent risks” involving throwing a sharp axe weighing 2 to 2.5 pounds at a fir target. Thankfully, the worst injuries so far at Battle Axe have involved only splinters, Mike says. The safety continues with rules requiring closed-toe shoes and lessons from a lane official, who coaches and monitors each group throughout their session. Mike figures newbies will be sticking their axes into the target with just 15 minutes of training, and feeling good about it. Such positive emotions keep people returning. “Who wouldn’t want to play with an axe? Hear the sound and feel the release? We all do CrossFit, and we’re all competitive,” says Nadia Luzetsky, celebrating her birthday with 20 friends, largely clad in lumberjack plaid. (Players at Battle Axe have also worn Viking and Game of Thrones garb.) “We hang out and bond,” says her husband, Michael, who planned the party. “Just enjoying ourselves. You can’t get bored. I’m pretending that the faces of people I hate are on the bullseye.” A throwing axe is basically a camp hatchet, with the metal blade shaved down and kept sharp, on a hickory handle 14 to 17 inches long. “I’m a big fan of my cold-steel tomahawk. Nice and light,” says Mike, who has a half-dozen axes at his New Castle home.

Scoring Points

Players compete in pairs. It’s five points for sticking the axe in the target’s 7-inch-wide black ring, three points in the middle red ring and one in the outermost blue ring. It’s seven points for two small clutches above the main target. Clutches are often boring circles, Mike says, but at Battle Axe they’re skulls, which—along with armor hanging on the walls, graffiti written in runes and participation certificates done on artfully scorched parchment— complete the arena’s Viking theme. The Spotify playlist, however, is decidedly modern. ►


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A round is five throws per person, and only on the last throw of the round can players get credit for an axe in a clutch —and they have to declare that they’re aiming for it. A match is three rounds, so a perfect score is 81. At Battle Axe, the highest has been 78 by Matt Cratty, nicknamed “the skull crusher” for getting six skulls in a row. Cousin Billy Cratty is “the baron of the bullseye” for sticking 30 axes in a row, says Mike, who plays daily but as co-owner doesn’t compete. The fastest players—Mike calls them “machines”—can finish a round in a few minutes, but matches are much more likely to be leisurely, with players cheering and hugging. “It’s a lot more social than people would expect,” he says. “Helping each other. Talking smack. A lot of camaraderie.” “It’s a manly, manly-man thing,” says player Bob Kennedy. “Pretty cool.” With much-appreciated patience and encouragement, lane official Tré Bracey guided me in my axe-throwing debut, demonstrating the best grip, opening stance and body movement for each style taught at Battle Axe: the overhand throw with your dominant hand, the overhand throw with both hands, and finally the tough underhand throw with your dominant hand. I tried to copy what he did. My first throw hit the wood of the back wall, outside the target, and bounced off. My second throw bounced. And so did my third and fourth. I switched to the two-handed throw for two more bounces. We walked up to the targets, which Bracey sprayed with water to loosen up the wood, and I tested how difficult it was to push the axe into the wood from close up (answer: very). We switched targets, and I let it fly underhand. Bullseye. Battle Axe is at 820 Pencader Drive, near Glasgow. It’s open 6 p.m.-midnight Tuesdays-Fridays, noon-midnight Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. Sundays. The cost is $25 per person for groups of one to five for an hour and $35 per person for groups of six to 10 for two hours. Details: battleaxewilm.com. Other nearby axe-throwing arenas include Stumpy’s Hatchet House, 819 Middletown Warwick Rd., Middletown, stumpyshh.com/middletownde; You Bet Your Axe, 985 E. Pulaski Highway, Elkton, Md., www.youbetyouraxe.com; and The Chop Shop, 401 Birch St., Kennett Square, Pa., chopshopksq.com. 70 FEBRUARY 2020 | OUTANDABOUTNOW.COM

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