TSDiner: Jerry Deen’s Aiming to Fill Big Shoes

For generations of ravenous, greasy-spoon-craving customers, a two-block stretch of Market Street in Wilmington’s northernmost reaches offered pound-for-pound (quite literally, as the Veep would say) the biggest one-two pancake punch in the state.

These twin-towers of bacon and eggs, these behemoth’s of breakfast – the Post House and Steak N’ Eggs (known colloquially by many a late-night diner as “Rob’s”) – long provided a diverse, often red-eyed clientele with good old fashioned high-calorie home-cooking, 24-7 (or pretty darn close, at least in the case of Rob’s).

And then the Post House went dark. In an instant, the neighborhood’s pan-fried panache was in jeopardy.

TSDinerThen, last year, into the breach came Charly Bass with a vision for restoring the Market Street diner swagger with a new comfort food offering in homage to her beloved mother: and up went Jerry Deen’s Restaurant (4304 North Market St.) in the old Post House location.

There ain’t many places in town offering fried chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and traditional breakfast fare – all at about ten bucks or less – and on our recent visit we sampled a little bit of everything.

The seafood offerings (including fried catfish on this morning) got high marks and the pancakes were light and hot off the grille. Scrambled eggs were … well, scrambled eggs.

Bass and her team make everything from scratch and they also seem to know everyone who comes through the door, whether to eat in or take out, which on a Saturday morning seemed to be a big chunk of the business.

IMG_1053Jerry Deen Coleman was a legendary chef among family and friends who never had her own restaurant, but served legions of locals from her own small kitchen. Charly Bass told us she learned a lot from her mother – and a little from the Food Network – and her maiden voyage as a business owner has filled a critical short-order gap – and lots of home-cooking-craving appetites – on Wilmington’s north side.

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