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For decades, Delawareans looking for an upscale shopping experience would take to the highway and make tracks to places like King of Prussia whose expansive behemoth of a mall offers everything from designer duds to fine dining. But with the recently completed $125 million overhaul of Christiana Mall, many First Staters have stopped defecting to other cities in favor of playing in their own backyard—and what a backyard it is.

Big-time retailers like Nordstrom and hipster favorite Anthropologie have set up shop and helped make the newly renovated mall prime real estate. Even the food court got a makeover and, while there aren’t too many surprises in the fast casual arena, it’s the installation of a few notable knife-and-fork restaurants that should send foodies’ heart rates aflutter. Three noteworthy newcomers are worth a visit:

Brio Tuscan Grille
First things first, this Italian eatery gets kudos for being ahead of the culinary curve. Beautifully appointed and swankier than your typical mall resto, this place is anything but average. The menu is substantial enough to offer both Italian-American standards to more daring dishes like velvety risotto, succulent rack of lamb, and beef carpaccio.

Brio Tuscan Grille

Sixth & Pine
Borrowing its name from the intersection on which Nordstrom’s flagship store sits, the bona-fide deli is surprisingly casual given the fact it’s housed in one of the nation’s poshest department stores (it’s tucked away behind a forest of designer label-dressed mannequins). Those looking for a break from trying on Manolos will take comfort in a menu that borrows from several cuisines, from nosh-worthy bites like a chicken, artichoke, and goat cheese salad to a grilled skirt steak with lime vinaigrette.

JB Dawson’s
A grownup grillhouse, JB’s offers a sophisticated take on American classics but is restrained enough to not ruffle the feathers of not-so-daring diners. A plate of butterflied roasted chicken and mashed potatoes is a comfort food seeker’s dream and filling enough to warrant a take home container (as are most dishes on the menu). Familiar takes on fare like spinach-artichoke dip, burgers, steaks, and ribs will satisfy pub food enthusiasts.

JB Dawson's Baby Back Ribs

Images: Brio Tuscan Grille’s Facebook Page, J.B. Dawson’s


Iris McCarthy - LWP Blogger BadgeIris McCarthy is a freelance food writer and blogger in the Greater Philadelphia region with a passion for writing and food culture. Iris lives in the Philadelphia suburbs, but spends much of her time eating, working and playing in the city. When she’s not attending local food events, scoping out new ice cream spots to satiate her sweet tooth, or covering the Philly food scene, Iris can be found checking out the latest community theaters and museums. Follow Iris as she dines around Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs on her popular food blog The Palate Princess and via Twitter @PalatePrincess.