May 2024 - Greetings from the Beach

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from theGreetings

Red-HotReasons to Visit MAY 2024 COMPLIMENTARY
Beach Music Scene Continues to Rock Monty Alderman Serves Cupcakes & Inspiration
10 Ways to Enjoy Grand Prix Weekend

Friday,May31: 5:30 PM –8:30 PM •



Enjoy avarietyofbeer,wineandspiritsfromnumerousvendors,light fareprovidedbylocalrestaurants,andtoppedoffbyHy-Pointicecream. Foodandbeveragesareincludedinadmissionticket.Livemusicby GreenEggsandJam. Plusexperience birdsinfreeflight with PhungLuu,the“BirdWhisperer.”

BrewattheZooisafundraiserfortheDelawareZoologicalSociety. YourticketpurchasehelpsfurthertheZoo’smissionofconservation andeducation. Advancedticketswillbeavailableonlineor attheZootiqueGiftShop.

ThankyoutoourVendors: Bellefonte,DogfishHead,FranksWine, IronHill,StitchHouse,WilmingtonBrewWorks DelPez,GrainTrolleySquare,KidShelleen’s,SantaFe, PrimeHospitalityandHyPointFarms


BrandywinePark,Wilmington,DE• FREEPARKING TheBrandywineZooismanagedbyDNREC,DivisionofParksandRecreationwiththesupportoftheDelawareZoologicalSociety. Mustbe21+toattend Member:$45•Non-Member:$55•Alcohol-freeticket:$35
Ask us what’s in bloom @WinterthurMuse on Instagram. Visit to learn more about the Winterthur Garden and see our calendar of events. Last of the wild gardens I Superlative tree specimens I Rare heirloom owers Hiking trails and wildower meadows I Walks and talks with garden experts Winterthur is nestled in Delaware’s beautiful Brandywine Valley on Route 52, just minutes from I-95, Exit 7. 800.448.3883
Experience Winterthur in Bloom
Photo by Ben Fournier



Published each month by TSN Media, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Wilmington, DE 19801



Gerald duPhily •


Jim Miller •


Bob Yearick •


Matthew Loeb, Catalyst Visuals, LLC




Adriana Camacho-Church, David Ferguson, Mark Fields, Pam George, Roger Hillis, Catherine Kempista, Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Larry Nagengast, Ken Mammarella, Mary Ellen Mitchell, Matt Morrissette, Kevin Noonan, Bob Yearick


Jim Coarse, Justin Heyes and Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography, Butch Comegys, Lindsay Rudney duPhily, Joe Hoddinott, Matthew Loeb


Bauer, John Holton, Bev Zimmermann



Editorial & advertising info: 302.655.6483 • Fax 302.654.0569 •
9 War on Words 11 Wilmington Grand Prix 15 FYI 19 Art Loop Wilmington 21 Nancy Josephson’s Spirited Show 25 Monty Alderman: Cupcakes & Inspiration 31 Lifting Up HIlltop
The Grand’s Stages of Discovery
42 Sizzling Summer Events 48 Seafood Rules on the Culinary Coast 55 Sounds of Summer
61 Olivia Rubini exes her ‘Voice’ 65 Tuned In
66 How Ted’s Montana Grill leads the herd Wilmington 74 In the City 76 On the Riverfront Printed on recycled paper. Out & About Magazine Vol. 37 | No 3 All new coming this month All new coming EVENTS CALENDAR Sign Up For Our FREE Digital Subscription Inside May 2024 | 7 25 55 35 61

THE WAR On Words

A monthly column in which we attempt, however futilely, to defend the English language


(Formerly “Media


• Reader David Hull notes that the British daily e Guardian mishandled this quote from singer Norah Jones: “When I met Ray Charles, I couldn’t stop crying. Ray and I were introduced . . and I balled uncontrollably.” e word is bawled. e slang term “ball” means to have a good time or to excel at a sport, especially basketball (“He can ball!”).

• Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, on the pervasiveness of political news: “And when that news verges from disturbing to depressing, it can be exhausting and overwhelming.” ings and people don’t verge from; they verge on. Better choices: intensi es, ramps up

• Reader Jane Buck found this in Flash Points, a newsletter published by Foreign Policy magazine: “ e House of Windsor owns large tracks of land and all the swans in the country.” Land comes in tracts.

• Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he spoke “pretty continuously” for a month with New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers about being his running mate. Continuously describes an action that happens without stopping. Continually describes an action that recurs frequently or regularly. So, since even a politician can’t talk nonstop for a month, Kennedy was “pretty continually” speaking with Rodgers.

• In e News Journal, a story about the new book Lost Delaware contained this convoluted reference to the longgone Wilmington Dry Goods: “Opened by Jacob Lazarus, Lost Delaware points to News Journal columnist Bill Frank’s writing that the store was ‘hailed as the major spark of thriving retail business in downtown Wilmington.’” Lazarus opened the famous downtown store; he had nothing to do with the book.

• TNJ also loosed this long and richin-language-lessons sentence upon an unsuspecting universe: “Estranged from her family, not wanting to bother neighbors and unwilling to contact social services after losing her income, court documents say Mercedes Ferguson told police she and her son lied around her Elsmere area apartment starving.” (Deep breath) 1) As constructed, the sentence

Pronounced pri-sind , it’s a verb meaning to leave out of consideration; cut off or separate from something

Buy The War on Words book at the Hockessin BookShelf ( or on Amazon, or email me:

avers that “Estranged from her family” modi es “court documents.” e phrase, of course, refers to Mercedes Ferguson. 2) She and her son lay around their apartment. Lied is the past tense and past participle form of lie when it means “to make an untrue statement.” 3) And nally, there should be a comma after neighbors.

• Gabriela Carroll, in e Philadelphia Inquirer: “. . . the Phillies’ unique font for the nameplate on the back of the jersey is still in tact.” Maybe a typo, but still a teachable moment — intact is one word.

• Keith Pompey in e Inky, quoting 76er Buddy Hield: “ is is where I workout.” at’s the noun. Keith meant to use the verb, which is two words: work out.


Print and digital media are not alone in their abuse of the language. Television recently gave us these:

• Keith Jones, anchor with NBC10 Philadelphia: “You might have saw it Sunday night on the Academy Awards show.” Saw is the past tense of see. Have seen — the present perfect — is what any major market TV anchor should have chosen.

• Amazing how often the double superlative occurs. Actress Fran Drescher, appearing on CBS News Sunday Morning: “Playing a Jewish person instead of Italian was the most easiest for me to play.” No need for “most.”

• Reader Maria Hess noticed this candidate for e Department of Redundancies Dept. from Liz Kreutz, reporter on NBC’s Today: “[ e guest] will appear virtually via Zoom.” If you’re on Zoom, you’re for sure going to appear virtually.

• Another redundancy occurred during the NCAA Wrestling Championships when an announcer observed: “You can see the visible frustration on Arujau’s face.” As opposed to seeing the invisible frustration?


• Tyler Dragon, in USA TODAY: “ e Steelers hired former ex-Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their o ensive coordinator.” Choose one, Tyler — former or ex.

• Headline in USA TODAY: “Somber but yet hopeful opening day in Baltimore.” e “but yet” redundancy keeps happening. You only need one of those words, especially in a headline.


Contribute $100 or more to the Brandywine YMCA through my donor page and I’ll present my fun and informative discussion on grammar to your group. Contact for more information.

Follow me on Twitter: @thewaronwords Word of the Month Prescind
Start A writer/editor’s slightly snarky and relentless crusade to eliminate grammatical gaffes from our everyday communications Compiled from the popular Out & About Magazine
Call the Delaware Quitline and free yourself from tobacco. Free counseling, cessation aids, and medications are available to help you get on the path to living tobacco-free. Stop getting pulled back in. Let us help you quit for good. TRAPPED BY TOBACCO? WE HAVE A WAY OUT.
A Wilmington Celebration! Pro Races • Monkey Hill Time Trial • Major Taylor Community Ride Street Festival • Kids Attractions • Live Music • Craft Beer • Gran Fondo FRI-SUN, MAY 17-19
by: GRAND PRIX WEEKEND C atnga s s nablefut re K ennyFam ly Foundatio n National Calendar Event




Kick-off Party at Brandywine Park

A world-class party in the park featuring live music by What The Funk.

(5/17, 5-8pm)



Celebrate Wilmington and the spirit of cycling with this FREE ride on the Grand Prix course. All abilities welcome. (5/20, 11:30am)

Market Street merchants will be open and offering special discounts to attendees. Since there is no admission charge to Grand Prix festivities, you’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket to spend.

(5/18, noon start)





Giant Slide, Bounces, Games, Music, Face Painting and more. All Free!

(5/18, noon-5pm)



Enjoy lunch and watch the races with a table right on the course at Chelsea Tavern, DiMeo’s, Stitch House, Wilma’s & more! (5/18, noon-5pm)




Ever see 100 bikes sprint thru a downtown at 35mph? An international field of pro cyclists will be on hand for this nationally-ranked event.




Join Governor John Carney on a 15-mile ride that offers a once-a-year opportunity to ride your bike through Hagley Museum and Winterthur Museum & Garden. (5/19, 8am)



Cheer cyclists up challenging Monkey Hill. Bring your cowbell! And your costume! (5/17, 5-8pm)


Last Fondo, riders from 20 states and four countries came to Wilmington to experience this bucket list ride through the Brandywine Valley. Sign up and you’ll see why. (5/19, 8am start)

You don’t have to be a race fan to enjoy six blocks of free family fun. Watch the races, have a beer, and let your kids enjoy the festival. (5/18, noon start)

14 May 2024 |


Things Worth Knowing





Public transportation is a great option for those considering a trip to the beach but not interested in spending half their weekend searching for parking. To reinforce that idea, we've hidden a few DART beach buses on these pages. Tell us the page numbers we’ve placed the buses and you could win lunch. Email your answer by May 20 to with the subject line: I Caught e Bus. We will choose three winners from correct submissions. Congrats to Chris McPartland, Loren Lieberthal and Lindsay Kurylo for nding the fake ad in April on page 52. And apologies to all those who wish e South Philly Diet had been real.


Wilmington-based DETV has launched CultureScope weekly show dedicated to showcasing Delaware’s diverse and vibrant artistic talent. e goal is to provide a platform for artists of all kinds, ranging from musicians and performers to ne artists, composers, conductors and beyond. hosted by Kerriann Otaño, vice president of engagement at OperaDelaware, and will feature interviews, performances and an exploration of the creative process. Early guests include comedian Margaret Cho and musician Olivia Rubini, currently featured on NBC's

ocal author and regular Out & About contributor Adriana Camacho-Church is at it again, releasing her second bilingual picture book entitled Grandma's Hair is Ankle Length . The book is designed for readers ages 4-8 and is “a gentle lullaby: poetic, sweet and moving,” says Kirkus Reviews. A book signing is set for 6pm on Friday, May 31 at Huxley & Hiro Booksellers (419 Market St., Wilm.). You can purchase the book at Huxley & Hiro or online at Art Publico Press, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


The Delaware Theatre Company is offering youngsters classes in acting, improvisation, movement and

May 2024 | 15

2024 Reader's Survey


For a chance to win


We are always looking to improve, and your feedback helps greatly. Submit your entry (one per person) by Monday, May 20, to enter to win a free lunch. 5 random entrants will be chosen.
Area Bookstores FortheLove ofPhish IVDripTherapy: IsItforYou? StoutCheerstoa History FEB.2024 COMPLIMENTARY BeerBrewers,taphousesuniteas Weekexpandsitsroster MOCRAFTY
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Registration is open for e Music School of Delaware's summer programs. Individual lessons, classes and day camps are available for toddlers, teens and adults, with the early-childhood programs available to toddlers as young as four months. Adults can focus on individual lessons, classes or try out for the Delaware Orchestral and Chamber Music Institute. Visit


Humane Animals Partners is hosting its 8th Designer Bag Bingo on ursday, May 16 (7-10pm) at St. Elizabeth’s Church (809 S. Broom St., Wilm.). Bingo and animal lovers alike will have the opportunity to play and win a variety of designer leather and vegan handbags, all while supporting HAP’s lifesaving programs & services. Prizes include leather and vegan bag options by designer brands such as Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Matt & Nat and Merci Vegan. Tickets start at $40. Visit


After being diagnosed with epilepsy, Tony Benson found inspiration by helping beautify his community. It led to the creation of Protecting Our Parks, which focuses on cleaning up graffiti and fixing up rundown parks, playgrounds and recreation centers. Benson is now teaming with artist Christian Kanienberg, who created the Welcome to Wilmington Mural, on a mural project titled The Brush Up Initiative. The collaboration’s first mural creation will begin May 1 at Mount Pleasant High. Visit


The Screening Room at 1313 will feature a film salute to local American art icon Jamie Wyeth starting Friday, May 17 and continuing May 24-26. The new documentary Jamie Wyeth and the Unflinching Eye is the first feature-length documentary of the artist. Also showing is the 2018 film WYETH: The Life of Andrew Wyeth in Bold Strokes . Both films were directed by Glenn Holsten. The Screening Room is located at 1313 N. Market St., Wilmington. Visit

Presented by Inaugural Celebration Soon to be Annual! June 3-8 Try A New Pie! Featuring local pizza shops throughout New Castle Co. May 2024 | 17

Next Art Loop: JUNE 7, 2024


2nd & LOMA

211 N. Market Street

655-0124 •

Artist: Color Comes Alive by Beverly Ross

Chris White Gallery

701 N. Shipley Street 475-0998 •

Artists: Liberation by E.Lizé and Swiftly Tilting Paintings” by Jo Redbird

Christina Cultural Arts Center

705 N. Market Street

652-0101 •

Exhibit: Man Cave Visions

City of Wilmington’s Redding Gallery

800 N. French Street


Exhibit: Verses from the Abstract

Creative Vision Factory

617 N. Shipley Street


Exhibit: Last Show on Shipley

Delaware College of Art & Design

600 N. Market Street 622-8000 •

Artist: The 2024 Graduating Class Exhibition

Gallery at Grace Church

900 N. Washington Street


Artist: Testimony by Jaquanne Leroy

Mezzanine Gallery

820 N. French Street

577-8278 •

Artist: 15,000 Dowels by Gregg Silvis

MKT Gallery

200 W. 9th Street

Artist: House of Miscel by Brian Mills

The Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House

818 N. Market Street

658-7897 •

Grand Gallery: The Shapes of Water by Beverly Bosik

baby grand Gallery: Exploration and Imagination by Craig Hable

The Sold Firm

800-B N. Tatnall Street

Artist: Authenticity, Soft Girl Era

Art Series: Act 3 by Shonté Young Williams

Urban Artist Exchange

Open Studios

16th & N. Walnut Streets

Artist: Dedicated to Women by D. Marque Hall


The Delaware Contemporary

200 S. Madison Street

656-6466 •

Exhibitions: THE PLATFORM

GALLERY by Calida Rawles; TESSERAE by Hugh Atkins; 2024 UD Masters of Fiine Arts

Thesis Exhibition; 2024 UD Bachelor of Fine Arts Lynn Herrick Sharp Award Exhibition


Blue Streak Gallery

1721 Delaware Avenue


Artist: The Temple and the Joy Factory by Nancy Josephson

Delaware Center for Horticulture

1810 N. Dupont Street

658-6262 •

Artist: Artist in the Garden by Susan Benarcik

Fit Studio presented by

Blue Streak Gallery

62 Rockford Rd


Artist: Cotton Candy by Wendy Hatch

Howard Pyle Studio

1305 N. Franklin Street


Artists: Helen Farr Sloan and the Howard Pyle Studio Group Members


Lumen Studio & Gallery 1601 Concord Pike, Suite 89 545-3204

Artist: The Naked Truth, works by Lisa Bartolozzi, Mary Page Evans, Rebecca Raubacher, Stephen Tanis

Arden Buzz-Ware Gallery 2119 The Highway, Arden 981-4811

Artist: Janet Williams’ Flowers & Trees

Finist & The Owl 811 Brandywine Boulevard 786-228-6638

Artist: Beauty of Nature... Flowers and Landscapes by Eunice LaFate

Centreville Place: Market & Cafe 5800 Kennett Pike 521-8789

Artists: Collages and Clayworks by Ernesto Raul Beckford and Alison Begala

Delaware Museum of Nature & Science 4840 Kennett Pike 658-9111 •

Artists: The Art of Nature, the Nature of Art by ART Sisters M.Coty Designs 5808 Kennett Pike 545-5437

Artist: The Inspirational Dinner Table by Mary Coty

The Station Gallery 3922 Kennett Pike

654-8638 •

Artist: Water and Earth by Terry Anderson and Frank DePietro cityfest

LoopWilmington .org A program of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
presented by Art
FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2024 5pm Start
RIVERFRONT Secure your seats at Recline Recline ON THE

Spirited Show

Nancy Josephson says good-bye to Wilmington with exhibition at Blue Streak Gallery

rtist Nancy Josephson is readying her first post-pandemic Delaware show at the same time that she is readying her move from Delaware, her home since 2002.

The show at Wilmington’s Blue Streak Gallery will feature 20 to 30 pieces, both the sacred busts that she calls “spirit heads” and her secular, beaded animal figures.

“I cannot do just the sacred stuff because it’s too intense,” says Josephson, a voudou priestess since 2013. “I need space.”

The show, which runs May 3 through June 4, is titled “The Temple and the Joy Factory.” >

May 2024 | 21
Nancy Josephson, a self-taught creator, says she works on the "outskirts of outsider art." Photos courtesy Nancy Josephson

Bouquets & Bubbly



Spirit heads start “from humble beginnings (carved Styrofoam, rebar and insulation) but get active after she puts in eyes,” says Blue Streak owner Ellen Bartholomaus. “Then her very quiet studio starts rumbling with activity as each spirit starts yelling at her to get working on them. Then it’s a loud-ass temple.” The “joy” comes from the “sweet animals” that sell well to art-lovers.

Josephson, a self-taught creator working “on the outskirts of outsider art,” and her husband, noted musician David Bromberg, were lured to Wilmington by then-Mayor James Baker. The city gave them a vacant Market Street building, which they renovated and worked from. It’s now for sale.

“We aged out of the space,” she says. Josephson was born in New York in 1955, and Bromberg is a decade older. “We were kind of pioneers in the downtown, on Market Street. It’s really changed a lot. We really benefited from being down there, but we’ve aged out. It feels like it’s a younger world.”

ey are renting a Manhattan apartment, near Columbia University. “We’re New Yorkers at heart,” she says. So they go into her 2019 Honda CRV — the 10th vehicle that Josephson has adorned — and head up the

22 May 2024 | continued from previous page SPIRITED SHOW
226 West Park Place, Ste. 14 Newark, DE 19711 (302) 660-5946 Free Accessible Parking TheLittleTreasureShoppe @LittleTreasureShoppe
Some Wine
a Fresh Flower Bouquet from The Posy Floral Bar
One of Josephson's "spirit heads" that will be on exhibit at Blue Streak Gallery through June 4.
Little Treasure
Smooth Jazz
Enjoy Some
The Litttle Treasure Shoppe Show will offer curated vintage, vintage clothing, local art, home & outdoor decor, yarns, fresh flowers, jewelry and lots of Treasures!
Treasures in Our Shoppe
Saturday, May 11th 11:30am - 3:00pm

Jersey Turnpike to handle “the daunting task” of moving their belongings.

She is donating a decorated bus and other pieces to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, which she calls “a second home.” She is donating work to the Museum of Beadwork in Portland, Maine. She is gifting materials that she collected, such as elk antlers and shells, to other artists, but she will find rooms for the beads that are prominent in her art.

Hey Mark, It’s Dr. Buka. Can you help me prep an announcement for our Downtown Wilmington Location?

She was a musician rst. “Music took me on the road,” she says on “I went ‘o road’ to search for the ‘yard shows’ done by artists who would never think of themselves as Artists.”

She was later influenced by many facets of Haiti, which she first visited in the 1990s.

“My first trip opened up questions about physical home, one’s spiritual ‘home,’ how one ‘gets by,’ what one must risk during the creative process, what IS the creative process,” she says.

Josephson has returned dozens of times to Haiti to study with artists and spiritual mentors. But she cannot visit the war-torn nation now.

“My personal heartbreak is not being able to go back, but the broader heartbreak is what’s happened there,” she says. “[Going back] would be incredibly dangerous not only for me, but the people I’m with. I’m a pretty clear target. I belong, but I just stick out.”

Her predilection for embellishing her surroundings — “from whole rooms to every vehicle I’ve owned” — also includes a finale, her own cremation urn. The front features a reliquary holding one of her wisdom teeth — “I pulled a hissy fit to get it” since the dentist said it was against the law to return it — and the back says: “Does this make my ashes look big?”

She has not yet made an urn for Bromberg.

“We had a whole discussion about what he wants to have done, and he said, ‘Just surprise me.’ Then in further discussion he said something about wanting to be in the middle of a wheel of halvah. So we’re going to see how that works.”

— Nancy Josephson’s “The Temple and the Joy Factory” opens with a reception 5-7 p.m. May 3 and runs through June 4 at Blue Streak Gallery, 1721 Delaware Ave., Wilmington.

Walk-ins welcome

We see adults and kids

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May 2024 | 23
Josephson is donating some of her pieces to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Dr. Bobby Buka: The Dermatology Specialists
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801 N Market Street, Wilmington 3411 Silverside Road, Wilmington (302) 478-8532 Book Your Appointment Today!
24 May 2024 | IT IT HOME HOME DRI DRI E E KEEP DELAWARE ROADS LITTER FREE KEEP DELAWARE ROADS LITTER FREE Experience live music in a scenic setting, featuring a diverse lineup of artists. Perfect for music lovers, friends and families seeking a memorable evening out. Pack a picnic and enjoy the festive atmosphere! Elevate your evenings with Summer Concerts at Wilmington State Parks! Scan or visit for more information about Delaware State Parks Summer Concert Series.

Serving Cupcakes and Inspiration

Monty Alderman has gained culinary fame while giving back to the community

n just a few years, Donovan “Monty” Alderman’s baked goods business, Monty’s Neighborhood Snacks, has garnered fame in the culinary world. Travel Noir magazine named his startup one of the 50 Best Black-Owned bakeries in the U.S. in 2018, and he was featured on Bake It ‘Til You Make It , a Food Network competition that aired in 2022 and 2023. >

May 2024 | 25
Monty Alderman (center) with (standing l-r): Keicha Carter, Jaden Hairston, Elijah Weatherly, Ziya Boyce. Seated l-r: Brooke Savannah, Devon Congo. Photos by Justin Heyes

But the New Castle resident is more than a superb baker — he’s a community leader and inspiration to young people.

When the energetic 50-year-old isn’t busy fulfilling online orders or delivering to customers in northern Delaware, he’s teaching fundamentals of cooking and baking to underserved and at-risk youth throughout New Castle County.

The icing on the cake? He mixes real-world behavior skills into his curriculum, enabling students to develop not only mastery of the kitchen, but mastery of life.

Alderman knows first-hand what it takes to overcome challenges, having battled a lifelong learning disability in his youth. “I grew up in the city of Wilmington,” he says. “I became an angry teen, because I couldn’t read well, due to dyslexia. I used to cut class at Howard High and walk home out of frustration.” He was expelled, but his parents refused to give up on their son, offering him a second chance at Dickinson High School in Milltown.

“I couldn’t walk home from there,” he chuckles.

Lessons from Football

At Dickinson, Alderman discovered what became an enduring passion: football. Excelling at the safety position, he co-captained the 1992 team that brought home the state championship.

“Football taught me how to set and achieve goals, both on and off the field. I learned the importance of always giving my best, and the value of teamwork,” he says.

Armed with that confidence, Alderman tackled his dyslexia and graduated, then went on to Delaware State University (DSU), where he played football and

26 May 2024 |
continued from previous page SERVING CUPCAKES AND INSPIRATION
Alderman, a former state champion athlete, mixes in life lessons while teaching kids lifelong kitchen skills.

earned a degree in education in 2000. at led to an 18year career teaching math to special education students at both Dickinson and Middletown High Schools, where he also coached football.

Early in his tenure as teacher and coach, he married his best friend, Reagan Byrd, an elementary school teacher. ey have a 17-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son.

Alderman learned to cook through a bonding exercise with his daughter. “When she was around 6, I turned to the kitchen for a novel activity we could enjoy together,” he says. “I didn’t know what I was doing at rst, but we learned through cookbooks and online videos . . . and trial and error,” he adds with a grin.

Teaching a New Topic

In 2018, the memory of those kitchen adventures still fresh, Alderman decided to offer a free, interactive cooking class at the Walnut Street YMCA. His goal was to show young students how to create the kinds of simple and affordable meals and snacks that he and his daughter made.

“For instance,” he says, “if mom or dad have $5, they can pick up a rotisserie chicken. With mayo, mustard, and relish, which we already have at home, we can whip up some chicken salad.”

He says that concept — of working with what you have — is easy for young adults to grasp.

Students gave ve-star reviews in the survey that concluded the 90-minute session, and Alderman was invited back to conduct the free class on a weekly basis.

Building on that success, he began networking with other local nonpro ts, earning his rst paid contract to teach youth cooking classes at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington. >

May 16th

Monday, April 29th –Sunday, May 5th


Taking Reservations Now Brunch: 10am - 2:30pm Dinner: 2:30pm - Close

May 6th, 8-10pm

May 17th 5-8pm

Brunch Specials: 11am - 2:30pm

Menu: 2:30pm - Close Brunch Specials: 11am - 2:30pm

Menu: 2:30pm - Close

May 2024 | 27
In Alderman's classes, students learn to create simple and affordable meals and snacks. Looking on at right is Alderman's wife, Reagan Byrd.
Celebrate Graduations with Kids! Patrón Patio Party Patrón Patio Party Trivia Night w/ Nicky Baggz Memorial Day Memorial Day Cinco and Mother’s Day BRANMAR PLAZA TROLLEY SQUARE 14th & Scott Streets Wilmington (302) 658-4600 1812 Marsh Road Wilmington (302) 308-3560 AT BOTH KIDS LOCATIONS

Buzzing with positivity from his ful lling side hustle, he decided to bake a cake from scratch one day. A friend of Raegan’s sampled it and declared, “ is cake is delicious . . . you could sell this cake!”

Alderman laughed, but kept the idea in the back of his mind. A few weeks later, he baked and sold a cake to a friend for a party. is inspired him to create a business plan to bake and sell oversized cupcakes for $1 at the barbershops in and around New Castle and Wilmington. He called his new venture “Monty’s Hood Snacks.”

Soon it became di cult to keep up with demand. Some Saturdays, after working all morning, Alderman arrived with fresh cupcakes just as the barbershops were getting ready to close.

“I developed a knack for baking, but I was limited by the quantity I could produce in my home kitchen,” Alderman says. But this didn’t deter him. “I just needed a way to become more e cient.”

A Sprinkle of Fate

In 2020, Alderman happened to reconnect with Christopher Purnell, former DSU teammate and current executive director of the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Wilmington. He pitched his curriculum to his old friend, and earned not only a contract to teach at PAL, but use of PAL’s kitchen, equipped with large, professional ovens and plenty of workspace.

With this arrangement, batches of cupcakes that used to take an entire day to make could be ready to deliver in just a few hours.

Meanwhile, his classes at PAL were getting rave reviews.

“When students enter the classroom, they’re so excited to discover what they’ll learn from ‘Mr. Monty,’ as he’s fondly known,” Purnell says. “He communicates with them in a way they’re comfortable with. And when they’re nished making their meal or treat, they can’t wait to eat it — or take it home to show their parents.”

Tailoring his lesson plan to the age and sophistication level of his students, he begins with a team-building activity, then transitions to cooking and baking with plenty of fun thrown in, including singing and dancing.

His instruction also incorporates vital soft skills, such as time and stress management, con ict resolution, emotional awareness, problem-solving and e ective communication.

A Dash of Good Luck

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, activities at PAL were put on hold, but Alderman remained productive, earning a contract to conduct classes via Zoom to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, who also pledged large cupcake orders, boosting the bakery side of the business.

In 2021, he was chosen to conduct a workshop for the United Way of Delaware’s Summer and Afterschool Program at Stubbs Early Education Center in Wilmington, where dads and kids learned how to make two meals for a family of four for just $15. What’s more, they discovered how to make healthy snacks on a budget.

28 May 2024 | continued from previous page SERVING CUPCAKES AND INSPIRATION

Says Stubbs Principal Hank Williams: “I was very impressed with the level of engagement Monty brought to this event. He has a very special spark, and I know he’ll go far in making our community a better place.”

e United Way followed up with Alderman, extending a contract to conduct his classes at additional schools in the county. He was becoming a very busy man, but he wanted to reach even more kids with his program — including those with prior delinquencies.

In 2022, he contacted a friend who serves as director of Ferris School, a detention center in Wilmington for 13 to 18-year-old male o enders. He proposed leading a free cupcake decorating class.

“I’m all about giving back, so every time I earned a new contract, I taught a free class at Ferris,” he says. is popular class earned him a paid contract, allowing him to successfully engage this tough crowd every day for the next month.

e New Castle County Detention Center was next in line. In 2022, the State of Delaware awarded Alderman a one-year contract teaching cooking classes in four-week segments at the detention center. is was the deal that convinced him to nally leave his high school teaching job to pursue his business full-time.

By 2023, he had struck a balance: teaching enough cooking classes to make a living, while nearly doubling bakery sales through marketing and local events. He also changed the business name to “Monty’s Neighborhood Snacks” for broader appeal.

“I know rst-hand what ‘give up’ feels like, but I tell the kids, ‘whatever your weakness is — you can overcome it,’” he says. “If I say something that motivates a young person to obtain something better for themself, then I’ve won.”

His ability to motivate is also apparent on social media, where he posts fun and uplifting messages and pictures of his baked goods, along with highlights of his gym workouts.

“As a role model for youngsters, I believe it’s important to promote the bene ts of lifelong physical activity, too,” Alderman says.

Down The Line

“Someday I’d like to have my own bakery, with a storefront and classrooms . . . and trucks coming and going with crates of cupcakes,” Alderman muses. “I’d hire kids from the detention centers and those with learning disabilities for jobs that they’re good at and enjoy. It might be a few years o , but I believe in what I’m doing.”

“I know I can connect to young people, and I like to help them. at ‘bad’ kid? I want him to know that I not only understand you, but I like you — and you can overcome your past!”

— For more information and to order cupcakes and cakes for pickup or delivery, visit (We highly recommend the strawberry crunch cake.) For a taste of daily inspiration, follow Monty’s Neighborhood Snacks on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

May 2024 | 29
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Lifting Up Hilltop

Block by block, a small group of civic leaders aim to transform a West End community that has faced challenges

Close to a hundred times, Bud Freel has been leading Delaware’s movers and shakers (including the governor twice and sta ers from all three o ces of Delaware's congressional delegation), bankers, business leaders and other interested parties on tours of a few blocks of Wilmington’s disadvantaged Hilltop section.

He gives out a map marking the focus of the new Lower Hilltop A ordable Housing Initiative — N. Franklin to N. Van Buren streets, Fourth to Pleasant streets — and its future focus, expanding out to Jackson and Broom streets. Lines outline dozens of vacant properties (often magnets for decay and crime). Introductory research found that 69% of housing in the area is rented (as a rule, absentee landlords and renters care less about their buildings and their neighborhoods than homeowners). >

May 2024 | 31
Posing with a map that tracks the progress in Hilltop are Wilmington Councilwoman Maria Cabrera, Ray Saccomandi of the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank, project manager Bud Freel, Councilwoman Bregetta Fields, and Captain Matthew M. Rosaio of the Wilmington Police Department.

Freel, who was a city councilman for 24 years, is now working part-time for the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank on these blocks. “I always wanted to focus on one small area and really get into it,” he says during a tour. “Work hard and see if you could revitalize it. It’s not just about bricks and mortar. It’s about stabilizing a community.”

“He’s doing a great job,” Wilmington Mayor Michael S. Purzycki says of Freel. “He takes a personal interest in every property that he’s adopted. He’s like a little neighborhood mayor, and we need people committed like that.”

The initiative launched in August 2022 and since then has bought 31 homes, rehabbed and sold 10, and is planning for the rest.

The goal: more homeowners. “Homeowners have a stake in the community,” says Ray Saccomandi, director of operations for the land bank.

“You’re not going to have a stable community with 70% renters and absentee landlords,” Freel says.

“They’re not going to fix up their house. They’re not going to make it beautiful,” Saccomandi says of absentee landlords. “Homeowners aren’t going to let nonsense happen in front of their house. They want to protect their investment.”

The land bank is making serious investments itself, subsidizing renovations by thousands of dollars. For instance, one of the first houses, on the 300 block of N. Harrison St., cost $85,000 to buy, took about as much to renovate and was sold for $140,000, Freel says. The initiative’s costs are supported by $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding and $850,000 in the state’s bond bill, Freel says.

The initiative, as much as possible, hires minority contractors to take these century-old houses down

32 May 2024 | continued from previous page HILLTOP REVITALIZATION
Pictured with her parents and sons, Tabria Pinkett (right) is one of several new owners who have purchased restored homes in the community.

to the studs and build them back up. A peek inside one completed house shows off new windows, quartz kitchen countertops, a new first-floor powder room (a land bank goal, Saccomandi says), tile in the bathroom, a newly fenced back yard and fresh paint everywhere. Bronze address plates near the front door finish each project. “We’re not chintzing on the material,” he says. “I want it to look nice.”

Elva Martinez, who grew up in the neighborhood and moved back in 2021, is thrilled by what’s happening around her. “It’s phenomenal,” she says. “I feel most comfortable right here.”

Will Figueroa, a Hilltop resident since 2005, is also happy, citing fewer loiterers and less crime. “We need every single block to look safe,” he says.

Wilmington Police Department Capt. Matthew M. Rosaio offers a telling stat on crime: In the department’s 17th District, which includes the Lower Hilltop area, overall Part 1 crimes (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, felony theft and auto theft) are down 53% so far this year compared with the same period in 2023.

Freel feels that passion is spreading, with other homeowners inspired to fix up their properties.

effort to encourage families to sell houses that they have great emotional attachments to but no longer live in.

“Let’s put a little plaque on them,” Cabrera says. “That way, when they drive by, they can show their grandchildren ‘That’s Grandma’s first house. That’s where I grew up.’ It’s as simple as that.”

When asked which Wilmington neighborhood he would like to see a similar initiative, Purzycki calls out the area along Market Street from 20th Street north to 40th Street. “The North Side could use attention,” he says. “It’s healthy but challenged.”

I always wanted to focus on one small area and really get into it. Work hard and see if you could revitalize it. It’s not just about bricks and mortar. It’s about stabilizing a community.
— Bud Freel

They and other Wilmington homeowners can get renovation help through multiple programs, such as the West Side Grows Aging and Staging Repair Program, the Façade Improvement Program and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Maria Cabrera, a member at-large of city council, wants more help to be available, say by the city establishing a fund where residents can get simpleinterest loans for home repairs. For those who qualify by income or age, the funds would be grants.

To discourage vacancies, she also wants to increase the city’s fee assessed on vacant houses, which starts at $500 after the first year it’s vacant, hits $5,000 at 10 years and goes up $500 a year after that.

She and councilwoman Bregetta Fields, who represents the area, want to establish a “legacy home”

Another group is taking a different tack nearby. The Be Ready Community Development Corp., founded in 2003 to revitalize Hilltop, dedicated a mixed-use complex in 2023 that replaces a block of vacant properties on W. Fourth Street. Solomon’s Court, when complete, will have 18 affordable rental units and 5,600 square feet of ground floor commercial space for small businesses. The Lower Hilltop Affordable Housing Initiative is doing more than rehabbing houses. It’s gated the alleys between properties to keep out drug dealers who had been using them. It’s knocked down buildings too far gone to save. On the 1200 block of W. Second Street, “the former site of considerable drug activity and loitering,” the land bank bought 12 parcels, demolished three deteriorated adjacent units and created a large, well-lit and fenced-in green space nicknamed “the corral.”

Although ideas have been proposed — wouldn’t new homes with off-street parking be nice? Cabrera suggests — Freel says there’s not yet a big-picture vision for the corral.

Throughout the tour, Freel showed that he is concerned about every detail to make the initiative successful. One Hilltop resident says that he’s seen Freel on his hands and knees picking up trash off the pavement.

“I joined him for a few minutes,” Figueroa says, “and then I had to go to work.”

May 2024 | 33
34 May 2024 | 3 02 -47 5 -2 3 13 A Also, , enjoy y an n amazing g meal l and d our r incredible e bar! Celebrate the artistry

Learning Experience

The Grand's Stages of Discovery takes students to the show

Allyson Sands has a goal — to give Delaware students the opportunity to experience live theater and make teachers’ lives a little easier. As The Grand’s education director, she will manage to make that objective a reality for more than 15,000 students and their teachers in nearly 100 schools throughout the region through its Stages of Discovery program this school year.

Stages of Discovery is The Grand’s live theater matinee program for students in grades pre-K to 12. The program provides in-person performances of professional touring companies and artists at one of The Grand’s three theater locations in Wilmington and is designed to complement inclassroom curriculum and state education standards across a variety of subjects. >

An attentive group of students enjoy a Stages of Discovery performance at The Grand. Photos courtesy of The Grand May 2024 | 35

The Shows

Like many arts programs in Delaware, Stages of Discovery’s success is built on years of developing partnerships with schools and districts and relies on the support provided by government agencies and nonprofit organizations for both funding opportunities and specialized expertise.

Planning for a program of this size starts in December of the previous year and requires input from her key clientele — teachers.

“I gather what the teachers have liked before from feedback from our surveys,” says Sands. “And from relationships I have within the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) and the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA), I gather information on what teachers are actually looking for. I try to find things that belong in whatever the standard core curriculum is.”

For the 2023-2024 school year, Sands selected 12 shows featuring both

touring companies from around the globe and local artists and performers.

The program, which started in October, has something for all ages, which is a key part of Sands’ outreach to local teachers and schools. The descriptions on The Grand’s website detail everything a teacher may need to know about a performance, including suggested age ranges, themes, learning connections, and state curriculum objectives the show fulfills. Some of the touring companies, like TheaterWorks USA for their production of Rosie

Revere, Engineer & Friends, even provide study guides for use in the classroom before and after the show to augment the theater experience.

Sands breaks down the offerings by grade level to help schools choose the best fit for their learners.

Performances like Tomás and the Library Lady, the first dual language show offered in Stages of Discovery, and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live appeal to the youngest audiences (grades K – 5) with their respective themes of friendship and adventure.

“Stage performances, especially this one with interactive and life-size puppets, helped the children visualize the size of the dinosaurs,” says Ramona Dowling, who attended the January performance of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live with her first grade class from the Tatnall School. “They were in awe and, at times, forgot the puppets were not real. The information shared by the narrator helped them learn more than they already knew.”

36 May 2024 | continued from previous page STAGES OF DISCOVERY
Stages of Discovery provides students with a unique educational experince — outside the classroom.

For her middle school-aged audiences, Sands brought the Walnut Street Theatre Touring Outreach Company’s production of How a Star Gets Made: The Bessie Coleman Story This was a first-time collaboration for Walnut Street Theatre and The Grand.

Written and adapted by Portland, Oregon-based playwright Kamilah Bush, the play tells the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license in the U.S.

A regular attendee of Stages of Discovery shows, Melissa Grieshober, a library and media specialist at Cedar Lane Elementary School, attended the show with her fifth grade students in March.

“We selected this for our fifth grade students to learn about an influential person in American History that also corresponded with our school learnings and celebrations for Black History Month and Women’s History Month,” says Greishober. “The show

also has themes of perseverance and character building, which are important learning and teachable moments to use with our students as we continue working and learning throughout the year.”

“Students and teachers alike have had a wonderful response to this play,” says Maya Chester-Ziv, education programs manager at Walnut Street Theatre. “Many audience members see themselves in Bessie — an intelligent young soul, full of zest and drive, believing they were meant for more than the world they see in front of them.”

Connecting The Dots

For the first time in the history of Stages of Discovery, Sands was able to bring a show this year that reached high schoolers. Keep Marching: The Road to the March on Washington debuted in February at Copeland Hall.

“It’s been a burden of mine because I really want to grow

that side of the program,” says Sands. “Transportation is always a problem. School schedules are always challenging. But I think high school students specifically are missing out on theater.”

Keep Marching: The Road to the March on Washington is a production of Mad River Theater Works based in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

“The idea behind the show came from oral histories of ordinary folks that attended the March on Washington in 1963,” says Chris Westhoff, managing director of Mad River Theater Works. “At the heart of these interviews were two questions: Not knowing that Dr. King was going to deliver one of the most iconic speeches in modern history, why did so many people go? And seeing that 1963 was one of the most violent years of the civil rights movement, what inspired young people in their teens or twenties to go?”

For administrators and teachers >

May 2024 | 37

at William Penn High School, this show presented a rstof-its-kind learning opportunity for the students. It also served as the perfect example of how the arts community in Delaware partners to connect the dots for students and schools.

I gather information on what teachers are actually looking for. I try to nd things that belong in whatever the standard core curriculum is.
— Allyson Sands

It started simply enough when Dr. Nick Baker, supervisor of curriculum and instruction for the Colonial School District, received a call from Sheila Ross, program o cer for Arts in Education and Accessibility at DDOA.

“Last summer, Sheila reached out to us about this program and connected us with the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education (DiAE) to support a grant to have Teaching Artists (TA) through its In-School Residency Program working with our U.S. history students and other identi ed classes, which would culminate in a trip to e Grand to see this performance,” says Baker.

Ross connected Baker to Ashley SK Davis and A.T. Mo et at DiAE, who provided both grant-writing assistance and coordination of the TA for the residency program.

“Our goal is to build on the strengths that exist within the schools through the arts,” says Mo et, executive director at DiAE. “We work in the arts education space and bring a team of independently contracted professional artists across artistic disciplines. Our programs are all tailored to the teachers’ curriculum, and they happen during the school day.”

For teachers, tying the performance content into a classroom lesson or curriculum unit at the high school level is key, especially when grant funding is needed to secure these opportunities for their students.

“One of our largest roles for teachers in schools is to help the teacher match funds from DDOA and go through that grant writing process for any teacher, whether it's a teacher in the Visual Performing Arts or a teacher that’s doing some other focus of curriculum, like ELA, social studies, math, etc.,” says Davis, artistic director at DiAE. “DiAE helps to bridge the gap between the school, the teacher, the teaching artists, and DDOA as a funding source.”

38 May 2024 |
continued from previous page STAGES OF DISCOVERY

A total of 50 students in four junior-level history and social studies classes were chosen to participate in the residency program, which encompassed three sessions with DiAE’s TA George Tietze before the trip to The Grand. The primary purpose of this residency was to approach the historical material through the creative lens of an actor, a director, or a playwright.

“Some of the work the students had to do at this residency was to think about ‘Okay, you have these three sentences we have collected from oral histories. Based on these three or four sentences and your knowledge of the time period in general, what else can you pull out? What other information can you add into this character to make it a well-rounded individual and make it believable?’” says Davis. “And then how are these various characters going to interact with each other based on this person's background and age and why are they there and so on. The students had an opportunity to really dig in and create something interesting.”

For Christina Horstmann, a social studies teacher at William Penn High School, the parallel between the curriculum and timing of the Keep Marching performance provided a perfect opportunity for her Storytelling for Social Change students to make a real-world connection to the historical event.

“We had previously talked about the Civil Rights Movement, and this program connected it to individuals that were involved in the March on Washington, allowing my students to learn about actual people who decided they wanted to participate in something that would bring about collective change,” says Horstmann. “I am also always looking for ways to tie in House Bill 198 (Delaware’s Black history requirement, signed into law by Governor John Carney in 2021) and the civic engagement state civics standards, so it provided an opportunity to make those connections, as well.”

Ultimately, the pilot program of the residency in conjunction with the show was a success for the students and teachers.

“Just hearing some of the talk on the bus on the way back, it all made sense after seeing the performance,” says Baker. “The culminating experience did what was intended through the residency, which was put everything into context for the students.”

This is just one example of the collective effort by Delaware’s various arts agencies and nonprofits coming together to fund grants, source professional expertise, and deliver quality content to benefit students.

According to Jessica Ball, DDOA director, “By engaging with the arts, students develop critical thinking skills, empathy, and confidence, preparing them to succeed in a diverse and interconnected world. These programs foster creativity and innovation while promoting social and emotional well-being, making them invaluable to students today.”

— To learn more about The Grand’s Stages of Discovery, visit To learn more about DiAE’s in-school residency program, visit

April 2024 | 39

Summer Splashes

Concerts, festivals, skimboarding & more highlight 2024 at the beach

For those who need added incentive to head for the ocean this summer — we know, few need added incentive — following is a roundup of major events set for this summer at the Delaware beaches.


Saturday, May 11 | Dickinson Street, Bayside Dewy Beach

is annual outdoor art festival features more than 40 vendors o ering art and handcrafted items, plus live music, children’s activities and more. It’s an ideal opportunity to pick out a unique gift for Mother’s Day.

— Visit


Saturday, May 18 | Grove Park, Rehoboth Beach

Collectors from across the Mid-Atlantic are drawn to this annual arts festival featuring more than three dozen local artists showcasing and selling their work. e festival is presented by Rehoboth Art League and the City of Rehoboth Beach.

— Visit

42 May 2024 |

The World Championship of Skimboarding returns to Dewey Beach for its 42nd year Aug. 9-11.


May 24-26 | Downtown Bethany Beach e uno cial start of summer kicks o with this three-day fun festival that celebrates the sea and prepares the community for potential coastal emergencies. Musical groups include both 3-Hour Tour and Entrain on Saturday, and the U.S. Navy Band's Country Current on Sunday. e weekend also

includes pirates and mermaids, a costume parade, luau show, and marine-based educational activities. All events are free and sponsored by the Town of Bethany Beach.

— Visit

Focus May 2024 | 43



Thursday, May 30 | Bottle & Cork, Dewey Beach

American rock band, Dashboard Confessional, takes the Bottle & Cork stage ahead of their fall tour, supported by country-rock artist Taylor Acorn. Led by Chris Carrabba, the group is known for songs such as "Vindicated," "Don't Wait" and "Screaming Infidelities."

— Visit


June 1 & 2 | Lewes Historical Society, Lewes

Close to 70 regional and local sea glass and coastalthemed artists will feature everything from jewelry and home décor to sculptures and paintings. Bring your favorite pieces of sea glass and learn its history, walk through an amazing collection of sea glass on display, or observe one of the glass-blowing demonstrations offered throughout the weekend. Live music, food, children’s activities, and educational exhibits will also be available.

— Visit


June 2-7 | Coastal Delaware

Coastal Delaware Restaurant Week is one of the premier dining events in Delaware. Dozens of the area's finest restaurants showcase their talents and give diners an opportunity to sample the best cuisine Coastal Delaware has to offer. A portion of the proceeds benefites local first responder groups, including Rehoboth and Dewey Beach Police Departments, Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company, Home of the Brave, and Tunnels to Towers. Diners wil enjoy menu discounts or prix-fixe menus at restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Lewes, and Coastal Delaware. Visit the website below for a full list of participating restaurants.

— Visit


Thursday, June 6 | Freeman Arts Pavilion, Selbyville

Soul legends Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight come together for a captivating evening of timeless hits including "Lady Marmalade," "You are My Friend," "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "Every Beat of My Heart."

— Visit


Saturday, June 8 | Schellville, Rehoboth Beach

Dress in your most sparkly summer outfit and get ready to shine at Schellville's newest event featuring music, food trucks, local artisans, summer sledding on their tubing hill and more. And you'll no doubt be dazzled with the live performances by contestants from this season of NBC's The Voice — Julie Roome, Karen Waldrup and Delaware's own Olivia Rubini.

— Visit


June 14-16 | Cinema Art Theater, Lewes

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society, in partnership with CAMP Rehoboth, presents this annual film festival spotlighting a diverse range of documentaries, features, and a series of shorts to celebrate cinema and National PRIDE month.

— Visit


Saturday, June 15 | Lewes

Take a self-guided tour of several select private gardens throughout Lewes, plus enjoy a food tent and Garden Market in Zwaanendael Park with garden-related items for sale during the hours of the tour. Sponsored by the Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

— Visit

continued from previous page SPRING IT ON!
44 May 2024 |
From left: Rehoboth Art's League annual Art Festival; Schellville's Look Out Music & Arts Festival; a view from the Rehoboth boardwalk on Fourth of July.


June 22 & 23 | Schellville, Rehoboth Beach

Two days of outdoor fun, live music, art, food and beverages at Schellville. The festival will host three bands per day on the main stage, family-friendly activities, local artisans, plus much more!

— Visit


Sunday, June 23 | Bottle & Cork, Dewey Beach

Over the last two decades, Evans has carved out a successful career anchored by her insightful songwriting and warm, evocative voice. With such enduring hits as “Suds in the Bucket,” “A Real Fine Place to Start,” “Perfect” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” she’s earned recognition as the fifth-most-played female artist on country radio and continues to be a force on the road with tour dates crisscrossing the country.



Saturday, June 29 | The Starboard, Dewey Beach

Every year hundreds of people gather at The Starboard dressed in red bandannas to celebrate, then parade through the streets of Dewey, then onto the beach where they are chased by “the bull” (two people in bull costume) for several blocks. The chase concludes with a bullfight played out at the Starboard, followed by festivities into the night. Proceeds benefit the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company.

— Visit


Saturday, July 6 | Towers Road Ocean Beach, Rehoboth Beach

From mermaids and dolphins, to pyramids and traditional castles, admire sand creations by teams and individuals at this annual event hosted by the Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.

— Visit


July 9 & 10 | Select homes around Rehoboth Beach (TBA)

The Rehoboth Art League’s popular self-paced tour features select homes in the Rehoboth Beach area with a variety of landscapes, interior and architectural designs, ranging from historically significant to contemporary and sleek. Some homes have quite an evolving history and many homeowners showcase memories, artwork, and collections in creative ways. As parking can be limited, the Art League provides a shuttle service to each location for ticket holders.

— Visit


Monday, July 15 | Freeman Arts Pavilion, Selbyville

Grammy-nominated New Orleans icon Trombone Shorty and his bandmates always give an explosive performance that blurs the lines between funk, soul, R&B, and psychedelic rock.

— Visit



Tuesday, July 30 | Bottle & Cork, Dewey Beach

Platinum-selling Brit glam rockers The Struts return to the Bottle & Cork with their Pretty Vicious tour. Supported by velvet-edge punk rocker Barns Courtney, the new tour serves as a celebration of the journey so far between The Struts and their beloved and ever-loyal Strutters.

— Visit

Photos courtesy: Rehoboth Art League, Schellville, Freeman Arts Pavilion,

From left: A masterpiece from the annual Sandcastle Contest, now celebrating its 44th year; Starboard Restaurant's Annual Running of the Bulls.
May 2024 | 45


August 3 & 4 and August 10 & 11 | Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach

e Rehoboth Art League’s signature summer event features more than 100 artists and artisans from around the country displaying and selling their ne art and ne crafts. is unforgettable event is full of activities, including food, live music, artist demonstrations, gallery exhibits, beautiful gardens, the historic Peter Marsh Homestead, and a Dog sh Head Beer Garden.

— Visit



August 9-11 | McKinley Street, Dewey Beach

Known as the skimboarding capital of the East Coast, Dewey Beach has hosted one of the longest running skimboarding competitions for more than four decades. Watch and cheer on top skimboarders from around the globe as they compete to earn the title of the best in the world. Features live music, food, art, and giveaways.

— Visit


Wednesday, August 6 | Freeman Arts Pavilion, Selbyville e Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and multiinstrumentalist returns to the Freeman stage to treat audiences to an evening of hits and favorites.

— Visit


Saturday, August 10 | Ross Mansion, Seaford

Each year this free, outdoor multicultural festival attracts thousands of visitors to celebrate AfricanAmerican and Pan-African arts, history, and culture in a family-friendly atmosphere. e day includes live music, cultural foods, exhibits, special presentations and more.

— Visit


Saturday, August 10 | American Legion Post 28, Millsboro Shore Smoke Seasonings hosts this inaugural event featuring steamed seafood, beer tents, craft vendors, live music, kids zone and more. Local restaurants will also battle it out in a crab cake competition. A portion of the proceeds bene t American Legion Post 28.

— Visit

continued from previous page SPRING IT ON!
REHOBOTH BEACH 246 Rehoboth Avenue Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 office: 302-227-3883 LEWES 1240 Kings Highway Lewes, DE 19958 office: 302-645-2207 MILLSBORO 28442 Dupont Boulevard Millsboro, DE 19966 office: 302-934-3970 At the beach since 1974 LIST WITH LINGO JLROutAndAbout_04.2024.indd 1 4/24/24 10:54 AM 46 May 2024 |
20 24
annual Lookout Music
Arts Festival
changed it
adding in the art
day on our main stage,
zone in the maze area, inviting other unique local artisans to join us on the skating rink,
more! SCHELLVILLE.COM LEARN MORE © 2024 Schell Brothers LLC. All Rights Reserved. All information is subject to change without notice.
MUSIC & A R TS FEST Join us for our 2nd
up a bit this
and are
element! We will be hosting 3 bands per
entire kids

& The

The Classic Contemporary

Whether fried or finessed, seafood still rules along the Culinary Coast

Text & Photos By Pam

Maybe it’s the sea breeze or the lingering taste of salt on your lips after a day spent splashing in the surf. More likely, it’s the intrinsic expectation that the seafood is stellar at the beach.

Fortunately, Delaware’s coastal restaurants deliver the goods, whether you want an icy plate of glistening oysters on the half shell, a heap of Old Bay-crusted crabs, or grilled local rockfish atop saffron-and-harissa-spiced couscous. Here’s where to get tried-and-true and boldand-new seafood dishes at the beach.

48 May 2024 |
crab cake sandwich from Woody's in Dewey Beach.

A Bevy of Raw Bars

Oysters have been part of coastal Delaware life for generations. In 1852, the Big Thursday celebration began to salute the state’s lifting of the yearly oyster ban between May 1 and Aug. 10. Before refrigeration, consumers who ate raw foods in hot weather played roulette with their health.

Now, oysters are available all year, and raw bars are beach staples. The Lewes Oyster House in downtown Lewes is new to the scene. Owned by Sean Corea, Tom Little and Tom Bartle, the restaurant puts the raw bar against the front windows.

The oyster house is reminiscent of the Rose & Crown’s original location, thanks to the owners’ decision to create a tavern in the multilevel dining room. It’s comfortable yet stylish. Along with shucked oysters, the menu features prepared oyster dishes. For instance, you can order them fried and wrapped in Jamon Iberica (ham), served with a crepe, house pickles and pimento aioli. Lewes Oyster House is among the few Delaware restaurants offering seafood towers, including clams, shrimp, ceviche and cocktail crab claws. >

May 2024 | 49 Focus

Fins Ale House & Raw Bar is so well known for oysters that its sister company, Big Oyster Brewery, is named for them. e original Fins location in downtown Rehoboth Beach — technically Fins Fish House & Raw Bar — now has a large family; there are Fins Ale House locations between Lewes and Rehoboth, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island. For a classic taste, order from the steamed and baked options, which include clams, shrimp, mussels and steamed or baked oysters.

In downtown Rehoboth, Henlopen City Oyster House (no relation to the Lewes Oyster House) is one of President Biden’s go-to restaurants, and he’s in good company. e raw oyster menu includes varieties hard to nd elsewhere in the area. Consider atch Island oysters from Massachusetts and Mere Point from Maine.

Starboard Raw in Dewey, part of the Starboard family, has much more on the menu than oysters, but the bivalves are still the main attraction — raw, baked or in one of five oyster shooters. Steamed items include a seafood boil with shrimp, clams, mussels and crab legs.

Crazy About Crabs

Longtime New Castle residents long for the days when DiNardo’s served hot crabs with vinegary dipping sauces. Admittedly, the sauce is hard to nd at the beach, but crabs are happily abundant.

Sur ng Crab, a seasonal business, is a low-key establishment north of Lewes with a porch for picking. Order the size you want ahead of your visit. However, you can’t make reservations. All crabs are cooked to order.

Coastal Highway sports two other crab houses. Bushels Sports Bar & Grille is in the old Lazy Susan’s site. (Technically, it was Lazy Susan’s third location.) Bushels is owned by Chris and Anthony Jacona, who also have e Wheelhouse in Lewes, Zogg’s Raw Bar & Grill and Tiki Jac’s Street Eats & Brews in downtown Rehoboth Beach. Bushels sells Alaskan snow crab legs, king and Dungeness crab legs.

e Crab House is part of the Big Fish Restaurant Group’s collection. Buy crabs by the half-dozen, dozen, half-bushel or bushel. e menu also includes a raw bar with raw clams and oysters and an all-you-can-eat bu et beginning May 24.

In Rehoboth, Claws Seafood House is the Fin family’s crab house, and the crustaceans are steamed to order. e extensive menu has plenty for people who dislike hammering and picking.

e Starboard group’s newest restaurant, Starboard Claw, is one of the few that lets customers buy just three steamed-to-order crabs if they wish. (On a slow Sunday in the o -season, a customer ordered the last two large.)

e Starboard Claw’s new two-story building, located

Open Daily

continued from previous page THE CLASSIC & THE CONTEMPORARY
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on Hammerhead’s old property, is near Woody’s Dewey Beach, and while the bar does not serve whole crabs, it has arguably the best crabcake in Delaware, plus a damn good pit beef sandwich.

Below the inlet, e Blue Crab is known for its “feasts,” featuring blue crab, shrimp or snow crabs. Each comes with corn on the cob, hush puppies and fried chicken.

Meanwhile, Fenwick Crab House has been a landmark for 50 years for all things crab — Maryland crab soup, cream of crab, crab cakes (broiled or fried) and crab cocktails.

Old School Seafood

For many visitors and locals, a seafood dinner is a platter piled high with sh or shell sh fried to a golden brown. Fenwick Crab House has a menu section for fried entrees, including haddock, shrimp, scallops, oysters and clam strips. Corn on the cob, hush puppies, fries and cole slaw are sides.

Likewise, Matt’s Fish Camp in Lewes has a “Beach Favorite” menu section with ash-fried sh, oysters, shrimp or clam strips with fries and slaw. You’ll nd slight variations at the other Matt’s locations. For instance, Matt’s in Bethany o ers crab cakes and jumbo shrimp, while the Fenwick Matt’s has fried cod and baked crab cakes. >

Top: Oysters from Drift Seafood.Below: halibut from Lewes Oyser House.
May 2024 | 51

Old Salts can order the Harborside Fish Fry with buttermilk fried grouper or fried shrimp at e Wheelhouse Bar & Grill at Fisherman’s Wharf, which overlooks the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal.

For a time, crab-stu ed anything was the rage, and crab imperial in a boat-shaped dish was a luxury. ere are hints of the past in the crab-stu ed jumbo shrimp entrée at Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Raw Bar near the entrance to Rehoboth. ( e restaurant also has a raw bar.) ( ere is a Bluecoast in Bethany with a separate menu.)

Seafood with Global Flair

Visitors and locals have expanded their palates since the 1960s when fried, baked or blandly broiled sh was all you could get. Today, beach chefs are happy to cater to adventurous diners.

Raas, an Indian restaurant in Lewes, dresses whole sh with ginger, orange, lemon, garlic and coriander. e sh of the day varies but is often red snapper, striped bass or branzino.

Whole-roasted branzino, kissed with lemon and fresh herbs, is available at Sirocco Food & Drink, the new restaurant in downtown Rehoboth that specializes in Mediterranean food.

Branzino is also served whole or lleted at Rehoboth's Aroma Mediterranean Cuisine.

Fish & Fine Dining

Chefs on the Culinary Coast like to ex their creative muscles, and sh is a foundation for sauces, toppings and pretty plating. However, menus in upscale restaurants change with the seasons. So don’t get too attached to a dish.

In April, Heirloom in Lewes featured panseared New Jersey uke with spiced couscous, Napa cabbage-and-carrot kimchi and fermented black garlic.

At Harbour in Lewes, executive chef Clay Nelson has perched perfectly seared sea trout on a bed of sugar snap peas, creamed leeks and herb-roasted Yukon gold potatoes.

James Beard Award nalist Matt Kern is all about sustainability, which is why you’ll often nd Chesapeake blue cat sh, an invasive species, on the menu of One Coastal in Fenwick Island. e cornmeal-crusted fried sh might come with a drizzle of hot honey and Anson Mill Carolina gold rice.

Some of the area’s most creative takes come from Drift Seafood & Raw Bar in Rehoboth, which resides in an intimate late 18th-century camp meeting cottage. Chef Tom Wiswell serves raw oysters with Champagne and pink peppercorn mignonette, while pan-roasted Chesapeake rock sh comes with ai red curry, littleneck clams and heirloom carrots.

At the beach, big seafood avors are everywhere, even in small packages.

continued from previous page THE CLASSIC & THE CONTEMPORARY 52 May 2024 |
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TDelaware’s beach music scene rocks on

Sounds of Summer

Sounds of Summer

here was a time when coastal Sussex County rolled up the sidewalks in September. ose days are gone. e year-round population continues to grow exponentially, and beach businesses are happy to assist both locals and visitors who wish to eat, drink and be merry.

While the Memorial Day weekend is considered the o cial kicko of tourist season, many seasonal nightspots opened in time for St. Patrick’s Day and welcomed massive crowds. In Dewey Beach, drone photos from that weekend showed lines of people that stretched for blocks as they waited to enjoy the sounds of DJs and cover bands at iconic watering holes such as e Starboard and the Rusty Rudder — in ation be damned.

e concert scene at the beach is also bigger than ever, and those who venture out this summer will nd events galore scheduled at both tried-and-true music venues and several newer ones; here is a look at a few of them. >

The Freeman Arts Pavilion celebrates its 17th season this summer with a star-studded lineup. Photo by Natalee DeHart
May 2024 | 55

Popping The Cork

In Dewey Beach, the Bottle & Cork will open for the season Saturday, May 4 (5pm) for eight consecutive hours of party music by Love Seed Mama Jump, the Gab Cinque Band and Stealing Savanah. The first ticketed concert of the year will feature country singer Scotty Hasting at 9pm, Friday, May 10 ($20).

Before the 1,200-capacity nightclub had even opened, it had sold out upcoming summer concerts by Taking Back Sunday, Nate Smith, Dashboard Confessional, Justin Moore, Mr. Greengenes and Jake Owen. That’s a lotta tickets. The Mr. Greengenes show is that former regional cover favorite’s annual reunion; it also serves as the Cork’s 88th anniversary bash.

Alex Pires is the head honcho of the Highway One Limited Partnership business group. “This is my 35th year owning the Cork, and the time has flown by,” says Pires. “It feels like 10.”

As with the rest of the world, the pandemic threw Dewey Beach for a loop; it was truly surreal to walk into the Cork in 2020 and see people sitting at socially distanced tables. As soon as things reopened in full, however, beachgoers made up for lost time and got back into party mode — and flocked to concerts.

“2021 was crazy busy,” says Pires. “But 2022 was our biggest year ever.”

Whether it’s a neighborhood bar or a football stadium hosting Taylor Swift or Metallica, performing musicians are in high demand.

“I think music has had a big comeback in the past few years,” says Pires. “It still has to compete with things streaming and laptops and network television, but people don’t want to stay home seven nights a week. And when you go watch a band play, it’s exciting. There isn’t a script like if you go to a theater production on Broadway or something. With bands, you don’t know what song is coming next and every night is different.”

One of the Cork’s alumnus from back in the day is the Dave Matthews Band. The cover charge at the door was a mere $5 when the group played on Friday, July 29, 1994. An early incarnation of the Goo Goo Dolls had played there the summer before on Thursday, Aug. 26, 1993, for which tickets were printed up — $5 in advance, $7 at the door.

“I had no idea the Dave Matthews Band would go on to become so big,” says Pires. “When the Goo Goo Dolls played there was hardly anybody there. It was their original trio lineup and it was interesting, catchy music. But did I have any idea they would become a major band? No.”

Fast-forward to 2024, when the Dave Matthews Band will finally return to Delmarva — only this time it’s to headline the final day of the second annual Oceans Calling Festival in Ocean City, Md. on Sunday, Sept. 29 (in front of a sold-out crowd of 55,000 people).

One of this coming summer’s Cork highlights is the return of British quartet The Struts on Tuesday, July 30 ($42). Appearances by The Struts have become a semi-annual event, with five previous dates between 2016-2022. Their 2017 show memorably included an opening set by Greta Van Fleet.

“The Struts will sell out,” says Pires. “They’re a highenergy rock ’n’ roll band. People walk out of a Struts show happy and exhausted.”

56 May 2024 | continued from previous page SOUNDS OF SUMMER
Top: Tickets were a mere $5 when an up-and-coming Dave Matthews Band played the Bottle & Cork on July 29, 1994. Photo courtesy Roger Hillis archives Bottom: The Struts have become somewhat of a Bottle & Cork tradition, returning July 30 for their sixth appearance at the legendary nightclub. Photo courtesy Bottle & Cork

The Cork is the self-proclaimed Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Bar in the World (Pires has the phrase trademarked), but it has shifted a lot of its focus to country in recent years. Booking agent Vikki Walls spends much of the winter scheduling the summer lineup, and her connections in Nashville have led to a who’s who of country performers through the years. Morgan Wallen has played three times (with free admission the first time), and Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and others played on their way up.

Dewey Beach is indeed a way of life, and quite different than the circles Pires ran in when he was a Washington, D.C. attorney.

“A friend asked me if I miss practicing law. I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I hated it,” recalls Pires. “It was okay when I was in my 20s, but by the time I was in my 30s I was tired of everyone around me being angry and arguing all the time. Compared to that, this is a beautiful way to make a living.

“It’s not for everyone, though. If you want to be in this business, come on in … the water’s warm. But people who try to jump into it just to make a few bucks don’t last long. It’s a lot of work, and I still had to practice law the first few years. Vikki and I try to be straight with people. You have to build a good reputation, which is the only way you’re going to last 35 years.”

The Room That Rocks

The new year got off to a very good start for musician, chef and businessman Paul Cullen. His Lewes-area venue, The Room at Cedar Grove, which is located a few miles west of Midway, had already hosted dozens of successful dinner concerts. But when it placed tickets on sale for six events in January — the slowest month of the year at the beach — each of them ended up selling out in advance.

The Room has been described as a rock ’n’ roll supper club, and compared to a smaller version of Annapolis, Md.’s Rams Head On Stage. It features a mix of national and local musicians who write and record their own songs, and the ticket price includes dinner as well as the show.

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Cullen got his big break in the music business when he played bass with the classic rock quartet Bad Company from 1990-92. This was the group’s second incarnation, with high-voiced singer Brian Howe fronting the band in place of bluesy co-founder Paul Rodgers. Cullen felt a bit lost after he eventually left the band, and ended up relocating to the Rehoboth Beach area when he married his

He eventually combined his love of Italian cooking (he has his own line of wines) with his solo music act where he sings and plays acoustic guitar. Cullen has done hundreds of private parties where he prepares the meal and then performs for the guests. The Room at Cedar Grove was a natural progression.

Reached by phone while he was overseas cooking and performing during a spring working vacation in Cuba, he marveled at the twists and turns in his life since becoming a Delawarean 23 years ago. That same weekend, Grammynominee John Ford Coley (“Love Is The Answer,” “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”) played a two-nighter at the Room and both nights were sold out. >

May 2024 | 57
Top: The Bottle & Cork's "Wall of Fame" lists national acts that have played the nightclub through the decades. Photo by Roger Hillis Center: Grace Potter appears at the Freeman Arts Pavilion on Wed., Aug. 7. Photo courtesy Freeman Arts Pavilion Bottom: Former Bad Company bassist Paul Cullen poses inside his Lewes-area "rock 'n' roll supper club," The Room At Cedar Grove. The venue hosted six dinner concerts in the month of January, which were all sold out in advance. Photo by Bryan Kremkau

April 15 marked the three-year anniversary of when Cullen opened the doors the first time for a concert featuring lap steel virtuoso Robert Randolph.

“I called in some favors in the beginning for sure,” says Cullen. “The great thing is that the musicians say they love to play here. We must be doing something right.”

While some of the acts are rock, blues or funk bands with drummers, others are solo musicians. There are occasionally instances when Cullen must ask audience members to quiet down.

“If people are yelling table to table, I’ll tell them to knock it off,” says Cullen. “And I’ll sometime get a bad review when that happens. If I find out about it, I’ll go online and respond to it. I don’t care. I’m not going to tolerate it.”

The Room is a nonprofit enterprise and supports Cullen’s charity, Paul Kares. It has donated more than $200,000 to the local community, with a focus on helping youngsters who are pursuing culinary and musical arts. This summer will also find Cullen and his team raising even more money with a series of outdoor concerts at Hudson Fields, located on southbound Route 1 in Milton.

“I’m finally at a point in my life where I can pay it forward,” says Cullen.

Selbyville Rock City

The seasonal Freeman Arts Pavilion in Selbyville has come a long way in 17 years. It debuted with a bang way back in 2011 with a performance by The B-52’s, and now draws as many as 4,000 patrons per evening to watch music under the stars.

Two rock guitarists playing Freeman for the first time have sold out their respective shows in advance — Joe Bonamassa on Wednesday, July 17 and Delaware’s own George Thorogood, whose 50th anniversary tour visits Saturday, June 22. A Tuesday, Aug. 27 double bill featuring Melissa Etheridge with the Indigo Girls is also sold out.

Other highlights this summer include REO Speedwagon, Patti LaBelle, UB40, Cole Swindell, the Gin Blossoms with Toad the Wet Sprocket and Grace Potter.

“We’ve had a great response to this year’s lineup” says executive director Patti Grimes. “We have a very diverse lineup with a lot of different genres of music. We have everything from symphonic to blues to rock to country.”

As has been the case with the Bottle & Cork through the decades, positive word of mouth in the music industry has led to surprisingly large catches for Freeman. Such was the case last summer when it snagged Grammy winner Brandi Carlile at the tail end of her In These Silent Days Tour — which had also included a sold-out show at the much larger Madison Square Garden.

And while country music is still a big deal throughout Sussex County, classic rock is also bigger than ever at Freeman.

“Classic rock concerts are so successful because of the baby boomers,” says Grimes. “It’s very tied to that demographic, which has the most expendable income. The

58 May 2024 | continued from previous page SOUNDS OF SUMMER

songs resonate because you remember the lyrics and you can remember where you were when you first heard them. And parents end up listening to that music with their children, which is why we’re seeing multiple generations at the concerts.”

Freeman is also continuing to upgrade the property in multiple ways.

“We want to build a sustainable, permanent stage at the back of the house,” Grimes said. “We aren’t looking to increase the number of seats; we just want to make the stage larger for the artists and provide a nice backstage green room for them. We have five acres of campus, and we’re building into that. This year we’ve added permanent restrooms, and we’ll be adding more concessions.”

Ticketed concerts only make up half of Freeman’s schedule; 50% of its events are free, and most of those are geared toward families. (There are also ticketed concerts where children under 12 are admitted free.) Many of these other activities and events have an educational component, says Freeman publicist Alyson Cunningham.

“We have a strong community presence when it comes to promoting the arts,” says Cunningham. “We’re in the schools, we’re in the libraries, we’re in the boys and girls clubs.”

Stop, Look and Listen

For the acoustic music venue The Listening Booth, the fourth time should be the charm. Owner Marissa Levy Lerer has used the name at several locations, >

May 2024 | 59
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The Listening Booth owner Marissa Levy Lerer with the venue's "director of noise," Nate McCormick. Photo by Sam Dawson

all on southbound Route 1 in the Midway area.

For the past year it has been in the Tanger Outlets Surfside shopping center (directly across the highway from the Movies at Midway), and there are still a few concerts booked there. Before that, a handful of shows were presented at both the nearby Cinema Art Center and Hammer & Stain (which is Lerer’s own DIY art studio).

e new spot will be in the Coastal Plaza strip mall, which is also home to businesses including the Go Brit! Fish & Chips Shop and Verizon Wireless. One bene t all these Route 1 spots share? Ample amounts of free parking year round.

e grand opening of the new Listening Booth will be on Friday, May 31 when it presents a concert by Ellis Paul ($35 general admission, $55 VIP).

“I’d wanted this space for a year,” says Lerer. “When it nally became available, I had to jump on it.”

It will allow for 100 seats, which is almost double the seating at the Outlets.

Lerer, who is a singer-songwriter herself with several albums to her credit, moved to Rehoboth from Brooklyn, N.Y. with her family in 2020. Her Listening Booth concept quickly drew attention by hosting sold-out concerts by national folkrock performers including Jill Sobule, Dar Williams and Beth Nielsen Chapman.

With the help of her “director of noise” Nate McCormick and “director of hustle” Victoria Rioux, Lerer has added hip hop and comedy events to the mix in recent months. ere is also a strong educational element.

“ e shows are part of what we do, but also o er music lessons and songwriting workshops,” says Lerer.

Another of this summer’s highlights will be a Friday, July 26 appearance by Ryan Montbleau ($40, $55).

— Roger Hillis is a veteran Delaware entertainment journalist based in Rehoboth Beach)

60 May 2024 | continued from previous page SOUNDS OF SUMMER
Night to Remember on the Riverfront Dallas Shaw’s Creative Magic DECEMBER 2020 COMPLIMENTARY PEOPLE TO THE RESCUE Inspiring stories from an unforgettable year FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION Simply email us at SPECIAL EDITION: CELEBRATING DELAWARE Not Our First Rodeo Worth Trying in Delaware TheJoe We Know Delawareans havealwayshad aspecialbondwith President-elect Joe Biden JANUARY 2021 COMPLIMENTARY The Joe We Know Hustling to Keep the Dream Alive A Record Year for Vinyl Shops FEBRUARY 2021 COMPLIMENTARY INNOVATIONSINTAKEOUT IVEVALENTINE’SDINING Restaurateurs increase focus on alfresco options Out Is In Reed's Refuge a Place for Hope Generation Lockdown Arden Gild Hall's Ron Ozer MARCH 2021 COMPLIMENTARY

Now Hear This!

Olivia Rubini flexes her ‘Voice’ on new songs for upcoming album

uch of Delaware is awash in excitement for one of our newest DEL-ebrity musicians: Hockessin resident Olivia Rubini. Since wowing the local crowd at Shine a Light on 1984, she’s been wowing audiences from a larger Los Angeles stage, kicking out killer performances as a competitor on this season of NBC's e Voice. Her impressive run on the show ended April 22.

Rubini — who claims a beloved Delaware music pedigree as the daughter of veteran drummer/ producer Ritchie Rubini — is making a splash all her own, with a voice that takes on Linda Ronstadt or Led Zeppelin tunes with equal aplomb and an upcoming album to showcase it.

We connected with Rubini, in between her Voice “battle” victories on Team Dan & Shay, to chat about her upcoming releases, and how she’s navigating this exciting new journey. >

Rubini during her one of her rehearsals for The Voice Photo by Greg Gayne/NBC
May 2024 | 61
Rubini will performing May 10 at the Wilmington Flower Market and June 8 at Schellville's Sunrise Fest in Rehoboth Beach.

O&A: From your 2021 Silhouettes recording to this new album, how do you feel you’ve transformed as an artist, and did The Voice experience inform that growth?

Rubini: It’s been a lot of evolution in a short time, but it’s also been the most genuine music has ever felt for me. In developing this upcoming album, I really reached back to my childhood — ’70s rock, for example — for inspiration. But I also feel like my style on this album is really melding vintage and current together, and I’m so stoked about that. e great thing about e Voice work was that it connected me more to my roots and how that’s more a part of my story. It was a nice reminder.

O&A: Getting career advice from both your father as well as all the iconic judges on The Voice, did you process both di erently or act on them di erently?

Rubini: At the end of the day, I view them all as musicians and songwriters and performers. ey might be the top or the best, but they’re basically just artists as well, so I take everyone’s work and words seriously. It was all very validating, hearing positive words from the greatest people. Being mentored by Keith Urban was the craziest thing ever. It’s cool enough having Dan & Shay as my coaches, but Keith Urban is the ICON of ICONS, and he’s just there, hanging out. He’s had such nice things to say. He totally transformed one of my songs in the best way possible. (Note: Urban encouraged Rubini to sing

“Tiny Dancer” in a higher octave, helping her win her “knockout” match in April.)

O&A: Did you alter your approach or strategy at all throughout the competition?

Rubini: I always try keep my performance genuine, to keep it very “me.” I don’t change up style much if I can help it. Unless the coaches say so, of course!

Our battle atmosphere was great because it was so supportive — more like a cool rock show than a competition. at’s been my mindset moving forward: at this should be a cool show, make it fun to watch, and keep it real.

O&A: On that tip, what’s been your biggest takeaway from The Voice experience?

Rubini: at you can do a lot more than you maybe ever anticipated. I never thought this would be in cards for me. I initially counted it out, but then the opportunity came, and it all happened. So, really, just know YOU CAN DO IT Don’t let fear get in the way.

O&A: What can you tell us about the new album? Can you tell us the title?

Rubini: [Laughs] I think I’ll keep the album name a secret. But my rst single, “Heartless Woman,” dropped in late March and my second single, “Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em,” dropped April 12. I’m stoked because “Love ‘Em and Leave

62 May 2024 | continued from previous page NOW HEAR THIS!

‘Em” is a true rock jam. Anyone looking for that rock sound from me — this is the one! ere may be one more single to come … but you’ll have to follow me [on social media] to nd out!

After the singles, I’m planning a latesummer album release. I’m also considering an extended deluxe version, possibly with some covers from the show, but that’s a bit down the road.

e album really came together while I was lming e Voice. Everyone was just being super creative and inspiring one another. Very much like, “Let me borrow your guitar and let’s collaborate.” ey’re such an inspiring group of people; I was literally writing pages every day. is one just feels really good to me.

O&A: Have you made any really close friends while on The Voice? Like, those could be your musical ride-or-die pals going forward?

You want to surround yourself with people who are supportive and make you feel mellow. Zoe and I have similar personalities. Together, we created fun and calm in a time that can be so stressful. I think we’re probably going to write together some time in the future; maybe she’ll come to Delaware and record!

O&A: Do you have any favorite covers other than those performed on The Voice ?

Rubini: I love “Wild owers & Wine” by Marcus King — it’s a bluesy-rock sitch, but so melodically beautiful. I also love “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin; it’s a “go nuts” kind of song. Also Patty Gri n’s “Heavenly Day” and “Nobody’s Cryin.’ ” And anything Harry Styles.

O&A: Did you bring with you to The Voice any “Delaware-related” good luck charms?

Rubini: Everyone is way more tight-knit than I thought we’d be. We’re all still very connected — working, co-writing, doing shows together, getting people in the door of other spaces. I have to give a shout-out to my bestie, [ e Voice contestant] Zoe Levert! She’s got the Best Vibes Ever.

Rubini: Great question! I’m not sure if this counts, but I consider a lot of my jewelry to be my “good luck charms.” All the rings I wear during my performances are mine, and most of them have been handed down to me through my family. So, they de nitely ground me and make me feel like my family’s right there with me onstage.

May 2024 | 63
Being mentored by Keith Urban was the experience of a lifetime, says Rubini. Photo by Danny Ventrella/NBC



Call it an all-star team effort. On Friday, May 31, the Ladybug Music Festival will further its legacy as the country’s largest free celebration of women in music — with the help of more than 30 female-fronted bands.

The festival, which started in Wilmington in 2012, will return to the 400 and 500 blocks of Market Street for the second year in the row, after last year’s show drew an estimated crowd of 3,000 music lovers.

“We couldn’t be more proud of this event, which continues to shine a light on women,” said Gayle Dillman, CEO & Founder of Ladybug organizer Gable Music Ventures.

The Philly four-piece ska band Catbite headlines this year’ show as part of a tour that takes them as far away as Las Vegas, Montreal and Austin, Texas — then to Europe in October.

They are joined at the top of the line-up by fellow Philly rockers Velvet Rouge, which was voted “Best Rock Band in Philly” by PHL Live in 2022, and Humilitarian, which grew from the Temple area in 2019 and has since released a pair of EPs.

This year the Gable team plans to expand the Ladybug footprint with an additional festival in Old Ellicott City, Md., on June 29 as well a featured night in the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concerts on June 22.

“As a young woman in the music industry, being part of the Ladybug Festival is an incredible experience,” said Delaware artist Caroline Hermance, who performed at last year’s festival. “The entire team at Gable Music Ventures created such a welcoming space to celebrate and share our music with the world, and having it happen right here in Delaware is incredibly cool!”

— Visit


Ask Gene Fontana what has powered the St. George’s Blues Festival into its second decade of success, and he’ll tell you it’s a labor of love.

“I want this thing to keep going,” says Fontana, who along with his codirector Ben Rizzo, has kept Delaware’s biggest festival going for 11 years now. “I love music. It gives you a great feeling. Music makes people happy.”

As they have in years past, Fontana and Rizzo will build on the best of the blues offerings in the First State while also drawing musicians from blues meccas such as Chicago, Memphis and Mississippi.

Local blues stalwarts lower case blues and Roger Girke & Gary Allegretto kick off Saturday, which sees Chi-Town’s John Primer & His Real Deal Blues Band cap the night. Fellow Chicagoans Steve Guyger and Joanna Connor, open and close the Sunday set, respectively.

The festival highlights the type of music and liveliness that the St. George’s Country Store Restaurant & Bar features year-round, a tradition started by former venue owner, the late Joe Michini.

— Visit or call (302) 836-8202.


There’s a new kid in town when it comes to guitar services and music instrument retail. Smalls Music Shop will be opening this month at 100 Greenhill Ave. in Wilmington with a grand opening planned for June 1.

In addition to offering new and used musical instruments and accessories, Smalls will offer services such as repair, maintenance, modifications and customizations.

“No matter how old or brand new a guitar is, to make any guitar perform at its best, it requires maintenance and specialized care,” says Koh, who has run an independent luthier business since 2020.

In creating Smalls Music Shop, Koh partnered up with Sam Williamson, who has been buying, collecting, and selling instruments for many years but found a passion for guitars and pedals that he wanted to share with others. Both Koh and Williamson have been longtime members of the Delaware music scene, playing in local bands and organizing shows.

— Visit, which goes live on May 1.

Philly's Catbite headlines this year's Ladybug Music Festival.
May 2024 | 65
John Primer
66 May 2024 |

Montana in Christiana

Delaware’s only Ted’s Montana Grill location leads the herd in more ways than one

Eight years ago, area restaurant manager Brian Parkinson was searching for something that would broaden his horizons.

“I was looking for a concept that was a little bit outside of what you would call the chain restaurant box,” Parkinson says. Whether it was the power of expansive thinking or a case of mere happenstance, opportunity came knocking from an unexpected place: the Wild West.

In 2016, when Parkinson learned that Ted’s Montana Grill was about to bring its famous bison-based cuisine to Delaware, he knew it was a good match for him.

“I did some research about their freshness, their sustainability, and the things that they like to do from an environmental perspective,” Parkinson recalls. “And it kind of fit for me. I was kind of looking for something a little smaller, a little bit more intimate, a little bit more upscale.”

There also was the fact that bison — the flagship offering at Ted’s Montana Grill — was gaining in popularity among meat-lovers as both a flavorful option and a heathier one. Bison is higher in iron and protein than any other meat and is the leanest protein you can find including beef, pork, chicken and salmon.

In addition, Ted’s also offered a robust gluten-free menu and a kids menu with healthier selections like carrots and salmon. >

May 2024 | 67
The Delmonico steak at Ted's Montana Grill in Christiana Fashion Center. This is the only Delaware location for the unique franchise, which was co-founded by media mogul Ted Turner. Photo courtesy Ted's Montana Grill

Parkinson took the interview with Ted’s team members and soon won the job as proprietor of what would become Ted’s only Delaware location. Montana would be coming to the First State, and Parkinson was about to nd the place he had been looking for.

Today, Ted’s Montana Grill stands out in curious juxtaposition at its location in the Christiana Fashion Center. Walk in through the front doors, and guests discover homestead-like comfort amid one of the area’s most popular shopping destinations. With its tin ceiling, mosaic-tiled oors and wood-paneled walls, the setting more closely resembles the chain’s location in the historic Baxter Hotel in Bozeman, Mt., than it does any other chain restaurant in New Castle County.

At the cozy booths, “buttery” lights from ornated Ti any lamps take diners “back to that rustic saloon” of the old West, Parkinson says.

While happy hour guests cozy up to an ornately crafted frontierstyle bar, Parkinson and his sta seat and service the tables. e bison served here are the same ranch-raised bison served at all the chain’s 38 locations, the majority which are raised on the 14 private ranches — in Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Kansas — owned by billionaire Ted Turner, from whom the chain gets its name.

Blazing a Trail

In 2002, Turner co-founded Ted’s Montana Grill with partner George McKerrow Jr. (founder of the Longhorn Steakhouse chain) on the premise of serving meals with “important ingredients like simplicity, honesty and authenticity.” ey based the company

continued from previous page MONTANA IN CHRISTIANA
The philosophy behind Ted's Montana Grill appealed to area restaurateur Brian Parkinson, so in 2016 he took the reins as proprietor of the Delaware location.
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on four ideals: bison, sustainability, hospitality and the experience.

The two-page Christiana menu includes about 75 items to eat, with almost 30 featuring bison (plus several Bison Ridge wines) so it’s no surprise that all the Ted’s combined serve more bison than any other restaurant chain in the world.

Sustainability has been part of our business practice since Day One.

great taste and health benefits of bison, realizing they could help save them if they made [bison] the cornerstone of their menu.”

Jessica Smith, Ted’s vice president of marketing, says raising bison is just one aspect of the group’s focus on sustainability.

— Jessica Smith, Ted’s

What may come as a surprise is the fact that one of the unlikely benefactors of serving bison is the bison species itself — a population that, due to overhunting coupled with a few years of severe weather, saw its numbers drop to as low as 1,000 in 1890.

In fact, Ted’s efforts have helped lead a resurgence of America’s national mammal, doubling the population to about half a million, the chain announced in 2022 — its 20th anniversary.

“The bison business was once in a state of economic meltdown due to the steep cost of live animals and unsold bison meat,” Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association is quoted in that announcement. “Turner and McKerrow recognized the

“We started the paper straw movement,” Smith says. “Sustainability has been part of our business practice since Day One. We were green before it was ever cool, and really, we were farm to table before that was ever a thing.”

That ethos, coupled with making items in small batches, has “reduced food waste by more than half compared to the average restaurant,” Smith says.

Visible signs of that sustainability include tables covered in recycled brown butcher paper; pan and basket liners made with unbleached paper; beverage coasters from timber from reforestation programs; wooden swizzle sticks; takeout cups and cutlery that are compostable; and reusable takeout containers that are made from recycled material. >

May 2024 | 69
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“Around here, we embrace the spirit of the American West in everything we do, from classic recipes handcrafted from scratch to a warm, welcoming staff,” Parkinson says. And when it comes to staff, Ted’s First State location is leading the pack.

Parkinson’s leadership, combined with Ted’s corporate philosophy of cross-training and promoting from within, has kept staff turnover low. At last count, it was 34% at Christiana, the second lowest among the chain’s 38 restaurants, and it’s consistently among the best three, says Smith. Compare that figure to a restaurant industry annual average of 80%, according to Toast, an industry point of sale system, citing federal data.

Parkinson’s leadership style has also meant that the Christiana restaurant, which seats 220 and has a patio, has been frequently used to train managers for locations in the other 15 states.

“I want to make my team members feel welcome,” he says. “They understand that they’re not just a number. … I want to make it an environment for them to make great money and a place where they’re not just there to make a dollar, but to better themselves and better their lives and their families’ lives.”

Little Differences That Matter

Ted’s has a motto: “We do things a little different because it’s the little differences that matter.”

Those differences include the bowls of half-sours (cucumbers cured in spices and garlic, then soaked in brine) placed on the table when patrons sit down, food prepared without microwaves or freezers (except, of course, ice cream and three shapes of ice for the bar) and servers schooled to be “never stuffy, always respectful,” Parkinson says.

70 May 2024 |
continued from previous page MONTANA IN CHRISTIANA
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“We’re very, very much local market vs. acting like a chain, and that’s why we call the general managers of restaurants proprietors because we want them to have ownership,” Smith says. “No other restaurant chain really compares to us.”

Ted’s menu notes some of its signature differences including the hand-cut steaks from its onpremise butcher shoppe; its fresh, made-to-order fries and chips; the homemade desserts; and the freshly squeezed lemonade and sour mix. Other differences not noted on the menu are the house-made dips and salad dressings.

“It’s really unheard of for any other chain to make everything from scratch,” Smith says. The menu also doesn’t detail how the burger meat is ground twice daily and the proprietary potatoes are boiled in garlic-infused water for the mashed potatoes.

“When you work in this restaurant, you can feel good about the things that you do and the things that you serve because it’s not processed,” Parkinson says. “It just really brings you a sense of pride in what you sell and what you give to people.”

Ted’s philosophy calls for buying locally, when feasible, so suppliers to Christiana include Fifer’s Orchards near Wyoming and mushroom growers in >

May 2024 | 71
The Avalon burger is the Christiana location's most popular menu item.

southern Chester County, he says.

Local libations include Dogfish Head (recommendations from Christiana means it’s now on the menu in all Ted’s), First State Brewing in Middletown, Big Oyster Brewery in Lewes, Evolution Craft Brewing in Salisbury (Md.), Stateside Vodka in Philadelphia and Yuengling & Son in Pottsville (Pa.).

The most popular items on the menu in Christiana are the Avalon burger (beef or bison, with Gruyère, blue cheese, bacon-caramelized onions, roasted garlic aioli and baby arugula), the bison ribeye and the gluten-free bison nachos (which sells more than at any other restaurant in the chain, Smith says).

The ability to localize means that the Christiana Ted’s serves a turkey dinner on Sundays and New England clam chowder. It also partners with First State Brewing for bison and beer tastings, usually quarterly, Parkinson says.

Ted’s has supported local nonpro ts, including the YMCA, University of Delaware boosters and the Delaware Burger Battle, which helps with food security, he says.

Whether it’s a matter of connecting with the community or simply serving a quality meal, the standard is a “warm and memorable experience,” Parkinson says.

And the standard is maintained to the very end of dining out. Twodollar bills given out as change to customers paying cash function as a take-home reminder of that nostalgic experience and unique touch.

72 May 2024 | continued from previous page MONTANA IN CHRISTIANA

Separation Day


JUNE 7th & 8th Join us in celebrating one of delaware’s oldest traditions!
Live Music starts at 2pm featuring: All American Band • JD Webb & The Good God Damn • Fuzaholics • What The Funk PARADE • CONCERT • FIREWORKS NOON START FOUR BANDS • 2PM-DUSK START AT 9:30! kick-off party FRIDAY 6-9:30pm Music by: Blue Cat Blues Beer/Wine Garden • Food Trucks • Benefits Local Fire Depts.
SEPARATION DAY SATURDAY Noon-10pm Artisan & Vintage Market • Kids Rides & Attractions Games • Beer/Wine Garden • Food Trucks
Free Admission!
Presented by: Free Admission!

The City


Applications are being accepted for the 2024 Youth Public Safety Academy — a joint initiative between the Wilm. Police and Fire departments with the support of JPMorgan Chase that will be held from Mon., June 17 to Fri., June 28, 2024.

e Youth Public Safety Academy is a FREE 2-week program for young people aged 13 – 17. e academy will be held Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes breakfast and lunch for participants. Apply by visiting Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 15, and class size is limited.

Participants will attend a mock police and fire academy involving roleplaying, teambuilding exercises, hands-on activities, presentations, and field trips. In addition, there will also be a physical training component. The curriculum features a range of topics, incl. conflict resolution, fingerprinting, crime scene investigation, fire safety, drug awareness, traffic and criminal law, building searches, K9 Unit operations, explosive and bomb investigations, physical agility training (push-ups, sit-ups, light calisthenics), first aid, gang awareness, a discussion about the juvenile justice system, arson investigations, report writing and internet safety.

“I continue to be encouraged by the many young people in Wilmington who aspire to a career in public service as a rst responder,” said Mayor Purzycki. “We have an excellent police department and an excellent re department,” the Mayor continued, “and the teens who participate in the combined Youth Public Safety Academy have much to learn from the ne men and women who are already committed to these noble professions. At the same time, this session is invaluable for our o cers and re ghters to learn more about how young people think and about how they interpret issues and circumstances related to safety.”

The Mayor thanked Police Chief Wilfredo Campos and Fire Chief John Looney and their teams for again organizing and implementing this joint effort, as well as JPMorgan Chase for its continued support. For more info. about the youth academy, please contact Sgt. Brian McCanney at or (302) 388-1470.

74 May |


Mayor Mike Purzycki celebrated Wilmington's own Chuck Hayward at the world premiere of his new movie “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” on April 11. Hayward, a film and TV writer known for his work on projects like “Ted Lasso,” “WandaVision,” and “Dear White People” over the course of a two-decade-long career, was joined by friends, family, and other well-wishers at Penn Cinema for a private screening of the film, an updated take on the 1991 dark comedy starring Christina Applegate. The Mayor gave Hayward a Key to the City and proclaimed Friday, April 12, 2024 (the official release date for the film) as “Chuck Hayward Day” in Wilmington.


ayor Mike Purzycki, alongside Gov. John Carney, members of City Council, State Sen. Sarah McBride, Parks & Rec Director, Ian Smith, cherished friends and family, and members of the community gathered near 18th & Broom streets on April 6th to commemorate the renaming of Wilmington Little League Park to Wilmington Little League Loretta Walsh Fields . This dedication was a heartfelt tribute to the late Loretta Walsh, honoring her commitment to our City.

May 2024 | 75
Chuck Hayward (2nd from left) and his family at the premier of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead Mayor Purzycki honors the late Loretta Walsh in April. Mayor Purzycki congratulates Chuck Hayward then gives him a Key to the City.
76 May |
78 May |
Wilmington’s Events Calendar FIND IT ALL HERE!
Danielle Johnson Arden Shady Grove Photo by Joe del Tufo

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