Big Fish Restaurant Group has made creative new use of a historic old building — once a horse stable and then a print shop — tucked behind Mikimotos where it has unveiled its newest concept, Torbert Street Social. The indoor/outdoor restaurant on Washington Street is a welcome addition to Wilmington’s downtown and opening its doors in time to welcome diners and drinkers for the full stretch of a temperate fall season.
Torbert brings big-city quality to a previously unnoticed space. The speakeasy is a refreshing pivot from the restaurant group’s other concepts and quite different from anything else in the area.
Specialty craft cocktails, light fare, and a dress code!
It’s a cocktail-focused, light fare menu with specially crafted cocktails and a variety of indoor and outdoor seating. Pizza, salads, snacks and shareables include every favorite food you’ve ever had – escargot, lobster grilled cheese, Kobe beef sliders and 3 boozy milkshakes even make an appearance on the bar’s menu.
Tender and flavorful Twice Cooked Duck Wings fall off the bone; the tangy chili glaze is truly delicious. The Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sliders are almost impossibly crispy and well accented by herbed mayo, pickles and potato rolls. Both pair perfectly with a mountain of house-cut garlic feta fries.
Diners can get cozy at the bar or enjoy a more beer garden feel on the patio. The one thing noticeably missing were kids — the bar is 21+ after 9 pm. Torbert’s Facebook page says “proper attire always required” after 9 pm, which was actively being enforced Saturday night at the gate as the sun set. A bouncer will enforce the no sportswear and no sandals rule after 9 pm.
New saloon’s home is on the historical registry
Built in 1887, the fully renovated restaurant was originally the home to one of Delaware’s historic stables. The restaurant group had been using it for storage before they sparked the idea for the cocktail bar.
The massive patio extends the full length of the restaurant and includes a mix of bench, couch, bar and family-style seating. A built-in fire pit also keeps diners warm on cool fall nights. Giant ‘Connect Four’ and a stage for live music accent the fun vibe outside. The only downfall is the lack of service on the patio; outdoor diners are asked to order at the bar.
Inside, the speakeasy is warm and posh with an exposed beam ceiling, neon accents and well thought out decor. Multiple seating areas range from high top farmhouse tables to cozy booths for two.
The candlelit atmosphere is perfect for a date or drinks with a group. An open-air kitchen has a section of its own for diners to watch the action and enjoy the breeze from open garage doors that lead to the patio.
Overall, the restaurant is impressive in both design and quality. It’s upscale and well-executed. As Wilmington’s restaurant scene continues to boom, additions like Torbert are hopefully the new norm.