Nestled between Philadelphia and Maryland, Wilmington has some pretty tough competition when it comes to dining. Yet, many of us know how amazing our options in Wilmington are. On May 23rd, a new eatery in Little Italy opened for business and became an addition to the ever-expanding list of awesome dining options in our dynamic small city. Chef Rock’s Kitchen and Catering, owned by chef Jim Rock is a comforting Mom and Pop diner-esque addition to Little Italy. The tiny eatery brings some huge flavor with an even bigger feeling of Amore.
Growing up just outside of the Poconos, head chef and owner of Chef Rock’s Jim Rock, has always had an affinity for cooking and a great love of family. Jim has invested over 30 years into his culinary passion. He completed his studies of advanced courses at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y. and worked as a sushi chef in Stroudsburg and a banquet chef at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia before bringing his skills down to Wilmington. He admitted that his move was due to finding his childhood sweetheart. So, in the name of love he decided to put that passion of love and food into more… with that, Chef Rock’s Kitchen and Catering was born.
Alongside Jim, his right-hand man, Delaware transplant “Nash”, is as hardworking and passionate about love and food as Chef Rock. Chef Rock’s Kitchen and Catering offers a relaxed, family-like atmosphere. It gets busy for lunch, but these two will always have something to say that’ll put a smile on your face and make you feel as though you’re part of the family. On rare occasions, they might even serenade you at the register. You can tell they take their customers seriously and want to make them feel at home.
His passion for Community
One thing that Chef Rock takes very seriously is the community. The glorious smell of Italian food and fresh basil – picked straight from the flower box outside – hits you upon walking in, and when your taste buds meet the freshly-prepared dish you’ve ordered (the Italian Frittata is amazing) you inevitably ask the question “Where do you get your ingredients from?” you shouldn’t be surprised to listen as he gladly (and very proudly) rattles off the local suppliers he buys from. Sansone’s for fresh fish and meats, and shops at Papa’s Italian Market especially for their amazing fresh sausage. He believes strongly that, as he puts it, “food creates ritual, ritual creates community.”
Staying true to Italian culture, the round family-style table in the center of the room is complete with oil, vinegar, balsamic and fresh ground pepper. So what are they cooking up with all of these fresh local ingredients? You can expect to find the menu complete with 17 salad options, 18 different sandwich selections, hoagies, panini’s, calzones, specialty pizza, and pizzettes/flatbreads. But don’t worry, they have gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, and eggless options as well.
So don’t hesitate to stop by. The doors are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm or, if you can’t make it, that’s alright! They’ll come to you, as they offer free local delivery on purchases over $15.00. If you prefer a more intimate dining experience, the roundtable sits up to 8 people and can be reserved for a private dinner party.
Lastly, Chef Rock also offers all-premise catering for corporate and private affairs for many, or a private in-home dinner party and is available 7 days a week.
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