Market Street’s storied past and its promising future come together in Wilmington’s newest restaurant: Stitch House Brewery.
Located at 829 N. Market Street, the brewery and restaurant occupies a site that once served as a coal house for Diamond State Electric Co., an ice house, and a linen shop. With an appreciation for the building’s history and a clear vision of it’s future, Chef / Managing Partner Dan Sheridan settled on “Stitch House Brewery” as the name of his latest project. He brings to the venture a history steeped in culinary experience, and deep ties to a city that is seeing new life along one of its oldest arteries.
Other than his time at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Sydney, Australia, Sheridan has been a lifelong resident of Wilmington, growing up in the Forty Acres neighborhood and attending local schools. His father, John Sheridan, served as Wilmington’s City Solicitor and Dan was named after family friend and former Wilmington Mayor Daniel J. Frawley. Sheridan is excited to be part of the resurgence of the city that is so important to him, noting, “The Market Street area is continuing to add attractions that make it a true destination point; not only for people in Delaware, but for people around the region. It’s a great time to be downtown.”
Chef Dan Sheridan brings a swath of industry experience
Chef Sheridan’s culinary and management skills have been honed over several years through affiliation with names that are well-known to Delaware diners, including La Fia, Sugarfoot, Hotel DuPont, Big Fish Grill, and Cantwell’s Tavern. In 2015, he opened Locale BBQ on Lincoln Street, which quickly drew rave reviews and long lines. Locale BBQ and another of Sheridan’s ventures, Wilmington Pickling Company, remain important parts of his growing enterprise.
Dan’s restaurant and management mettle has been forged by the flames of the grille, the heat of hungry crowds, and the pressure of opening nights. He has served as chef, cook, and busboy. He has managed menus, schedules, budgets and inventories. He is ready for his biggest project — and so is Wilmington. The arrival of Stitch House Brewery will be a rare return of a brewery to Market Street since Diamond State Brewery ceased operations in the 1950s. But that’s not the most noteworthy thing about this venture.
Market Street’s newest restaurant is notable for many reasons. It represents the ongoing commitment to Wilmington of developer Buccini Pollin Group (BPG). It showcases work of carpenters from the innovative non-profit Challenge Program, and it supports — and benefits from — the Wilmington Housing Partnership’s East Side Rising initiative.
The restaurant highlights the talents of local space planners, graphic designers, and craftsmen. It has been watched over by City Police and Downtown Visions personnel, and has been encouraged by other downtown business owners. The venture has been aided by government programs designed to encourage downtown development, and in return is creating dozens of new jobs. Stitch House Brewery’s handsome facade and and the business behind it are adding to the critical mass of Market Street attractions that are strengthening the city.
“I can’t stress enough how important our partnerships have been in bringing Stitch House to Market Street,” said Sheridan. “The other Market Street business owners, the carpenters from the Challenge Program, and the staff at BPG are just a few examples. People involved in the development of our city understand that a win for one of us is a win for all of us. Even those not directly in the restaurant business, like the City Police and Downtown Visions, have been a great help.”
Delicious brews, from lagers to IPAs
Of course, Stitch House Brewery plans to also be noteworthy for its food and drink. A selection of brews is designed for broad appeal, and Andrew Rutherford, who previously worked for Philadelphia’s highly regarded Yards Brewing Co., is overseeing the mixtures of grain, hops, yeast, and other ingredients that will distinguish Stitch House’s tap offerings.
Andrew and Dan promise an interesting selection at the March opening, with a variety of lagers, stouts, pale ales and IPAs growing over time. These signature brews will be available for take-home in 32-ounce cans, sealed fresh at the time of purchase. In addition to “crowlers” from the brewery, food from the kitchen will also be available for take-home — though with seating for 160, there is ample room for everyone to bend elbow at the bar, grab lunch, or linger over dinner.
The menu has received the same careful attention as the beer list, and is designed to please foodies and families alike. It includes salads and soup, more than a dozen sandwiches (e.g. short rib panini, smoked chicken salad, fried bologna) and as many skillets (e.g. scallops, pierogies, roasted vegetables, queso fundido, chicken pot pie). There is also a separate brunch menu, desserts that include UDairy Creamery ice cream, and locally roasted Little Goat Coffee.
Sheridan explained that, “As the father of a 3-year old, I was thinking of kids and adults when starting the restaurant; I think people will find not only the menu, but the whole operation, very family-friendly. Of course, we do have ‘Brewery’ in our name, so the beer will probably be the bigger draw!”
Bright, open atmosphere
The restaurant offers a comfortable setting that is warmed by the building’s bare brick and wood, and made interesting by its iron details and stainless steel apparatus. A separate room can be reserved for private parties. Parking is available on the street and in nearby garages. Additional parking will arrive with the completion of The Residences at Mid-Town Park, located immediately behind the restaurant at 9th and Shipley.
Stitch House Brewery, slated to open to the public in mid-March, will bring value and vibe; a menu that is comfortable and creative; and beers to suit any taste. It is a nod to Market Street’s past, a great example of its promise, and another excellent reason to visit the area.