(Photo by Holly Quinn)
When DECO, downtown Wilmington’s indoor food hall, opened in April 2019, it fulfilled a promise for a new, vibrant downtown space.
Business commuters and city locals alike filled the hall on the ground floor of the DuPont Building during its busy midday rush, hit up its bar for happy hour and the occasional dinner, and treated themselves to fancy pastry on the way in to the office. You could go and get takeout, sure, but it wasn’t really designed for that. It was a place for people to meet, gather and share a drink or a meal from one (or more) of its seven vendors, whether it be sushi from Al Chu’s or Phub’s pho or Connie’s chicken and waffles. Delivery wasn’t an option.
When DECO, like all other restaurants and bars in Delaware, shut down in March, there was a hope that the downtown offices the hall relied on for a good portion of its customer base would reopen soon, and things would go back to normal.
Six months later, many downtown offices still haven’t reopened, or are operating on a reduced in-office staff. After gauging the safety of reopening throughout a summer of pandemic ups and downs, Sept. 14 became the date for reopening.
Customers will be able to enter the hall again, as long as it doesn’t exceed 60% capacity, per the state’s social distancing guidelines. Instead of going up to the kiosks, diners will place no-contact orders from their phones at the table. Outdoor sidewalk seating, which has been a fixture of DECO since the beginning, will be encouraged when the weather is nice.
Pickup orders will be placed online. And now, notably, delivery is very much an option.
“We’ve worked with our POS company, Toast, to develop touchless ordering,” said Rich Snyder, DECO’s director of food and beverage. “You’ve always been able to do online ordering, but it was one order per vendor. Now we’ve created a market technology where you can place an order from any of the seven vendors and do one transaction.”
It’s all part of DECO’s new delivery platform within Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats.
DECO’s variety and the ability to order from multiple eateries with a single delivery fee is the showpiece of its delivery model — one that Snyder hopes will draw in new customers from the suburbs, including North Wilmington and Hockessin, who have never been to the food hall but are getting tired of ordering delivery from the same rotation of restaurants.
“It’s unique to a food hall,” Snyder said. “I don’t know any other place in the area that offers that.”-30-
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