Even the most discerning foodie craves unpretentious comfort food every now and then and Wilmington’s long-standing neighborhood eatery, Essex, is the place to find it—proving that simple food is sometimes the best food.
A hundred years from now when people are eating freeze-dried astronaut food and getting to work via flying cars, there will be a grandfather who will sit his grandchild upon his knee and reminisce about those long-gone good ol’ days and he will explain to the wide-eyed, curious little tyke how there used to be diners called greasy spoons that served food that wasn’t dehydrated or manufactured by NASA. That grandfather will describe Essex…
Essex is a Wilmington staple; the restaurant serves lunch as well but it’s famous for its breakfast. A short stack, bacon, sausage, and eggs are served up for about $6.00!! The restaurant is no-frills, old school at its best and its location straddles both the business district and the surrounding neighborhood and the diversity of its patrons reflects that. Essex is a place where a game of checkers is just as likely to break out as a heated stock market discussion. There is no pretense here; suited businessmen and neighborhood regulars are treated alike and there’s no frou-frou. You won’t find confit of anything, the menu does not refer to pancakes as gallettes, and thankfully nothing comes with an emulsion or foam.
It is food in its simplest form and that’s what makes it superbly delicious.
219 W 8th St.
Wilmington, DE 19801
Image: Iris McCarthy
Iris 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.