The Green Room at the Hotel Du Pont served its last meal Jan. 1, ending a 107-year era that never really left its post-Civil War Guided Age beginning behind.
Instead, 2020 will see the opening of a new, reimagined French brasserie in the space, which is being renovated by Stokes Architecture & Design until sometime this spring. The new restaurant will have 125 seats, a small bar, a private dining room and seasonal outdoor patio seating on Rodney Square, which is undergoing its own transformation.
Currently called the restaurant at the Hotel Du Pont, the space will be run by chef-partner Tyler Akin, known for Stock and Res Ipsa Cafe in Philadelphia. This new concept is a bit of a homecoming for Akin, who is originally from Wilmington.
The restaurant at the Hotel Du Pont will join other recent additions to Wilmington’s downtown dining scene, including DECO, Faire Market & Cafe, Green Box Kitchen, Maker’s Alley and the Market Street El Diablo Burritos. Unlike The Green Room before it, which most people only visited on special occasions, the vision for the new restaurant is to be refined, but informal.
“We’re opening an approachable and casually refined brasserie that the community will feel comfortable visiting several times a week,” Akin told Technical.ly. “The ambiance will be relaxed, but will also be elegant enough to remain a destination for the most special occasions.”
The menu will include heritage chickens from Keiser’s Pheasantry in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, served with sauce meunière, Castelvetrano olives and fried caperberry, for instance.
“I’m really excited to serve the rougette de veau, a tender red wine-braised veal shoulder that is glazed and crisped, served with roasted maitake mushrooms and pearl red onions,” Akin said. “This special entrée is scaled to party size and culminates a family-style tasting of the menu for the whole table.”
The rebranding won’t be without attention to the institution’s historical legacy, Akin said. In addition to designers and development teams, including the hotel owners Buccini Pollin Group, historical consultants at Powers & Company are working to help create a balance of modern and historic.
“The twin guiding lights in updating the restaurant have been responding to the community’s desire for a more contemporary experience and respecting history and the legacy of this institution,” Akin said. “[There are] deep and widely held memories by guests as well as the beautiful and timeless bones of the space. ”
Working with a whole team of specialists and experts, he said, makes this experience especially efficient: “In my run as an owner, we have opened smaller restaurants with much less breadth of experience and shoestring budgets.”
As of Jan. 2, the former Green Room is closed for the renovations, with a 56-seat popup in the Brandywine Room within the hotel taking its place in the interim.
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