Drip Café, a restaurant that has placed in several Delaware Food Battles — and was runner up at last year’s inaugural Grilled Cheese Battle — finally took home the trophy this year for a grilled cheese sandwich bursting with flavor.
At Wednesday’s second annual Grilled Cheese Battle at the Queen Theatre, the coffee shop/restaurant with locations in Hockessin and Newark had a premium spot near the entrance, a great tasting sandwich, and a business owner who’s not bashful when it comes to begging for votes.
“It’s almost become this running joke that I had never won at any of the Delaware Food Battles,” said Greg Vogeley, Drip Café’s owner. “So I worked with our executive chef to come up with a terrific sandwich and of course I was begging for tickets,” he said.
Votes were placed by guests who dropped tickets into voting boxes at each booth.
Drip Café’s winning grilled cheese sandwich was stuffed with prosciutto and caramelized leeks, arugula, brie cheese, and a balsamic blackberry reduction served on brioche bread. They grilled each sandwich with a homemade herbed truffle and fois gras butter. “So it was sweet, savory, fatty, peppery, and it just kind of hit on a lot of flavor receptors in your mouth,” said Vogeley.
This year’s runner up was last year’s champ: Mojo Loco food truck who whipped up a braised Korean beef short rib with sweet onion jam and Vermont cheddar cheese on Texas Toast.
Stitch House Brewery, on Market Street in Wilmington, earned Honorable Mention for their “pizza” cheese creation: provolone, mozzarella, pepperoni, soppressata on texas toast slathered with garlic herb butter and tomato bisque marinara.
Maiale Deli and Salumeria on Lancaster Pike in Wilmington – the last spot Diners, Drive-Ins and Dive’s Guy Fieri visited on his first restaurant swing through Delaware – won a medal for Best Traditional Grilled Cheese with their sharp cheddar, Muenster and Raclette Cheese.
“Theirs was voted truest to the original concept of a grilled cheese,” said Grilled Cheese Battle founder JulieAnne Cross. “Many entries had bacon or other meat, and some of our attendees think that it’s unfair to judge those next to ‘just’ bread and cheese.”
Drip Café will be serving the winning grilled cheese this weekend at their Hockessin location ($12 comes with a side of fruit). And mark your calendars for the 8th annual Delaware Burger Battle on Saturday, August 24th at Rockford Park.
Photography by Allessandra Nicole