site stats
Coming soon: Downtown Wilmington’s only brewery |

Coming soon: Downtown Wilmington’s only brewery


Stitch House Brewery is bringing new brew and food to N. Market St. in the next coming weeks across from the The Grand Opera House.
Jennifer Corbett/The News Journal

When the final alcohol permits and brewing equipment arrived at the new Stitch House Brewery in downtown Wilmington, head brewer Andrew Rutherford didn’t waste any time getting to know his new system.

Even though it was Super Bowl Sunday, the former Yards Brewing Co. brewer spent his day making his first beer, an IPA.

Since he was toying with a new set-up, it took longer than expected. And by halftime, Rutherford was speeding north in a rainstorm to his Philadelphia home to see his beloved Eagles win their first Super Bowl.

The winning brew, which will have an as-of-yet undetermined Eagles-themed name, will be among the first beers served at the North Market Street brewery, which plans to be open “in some capacity” in time for the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 10, according to co-owner Daniel Sheridan.

For months, the faces of curious passersby have been pressed against the glass looking inside as craft beer fans eagerly await what will be only the second downtown Wilmington brewery in more than six decades.

The airy 7,000-square-foot space gives Market Street a taste of what it desperately needs — casual hang-outs for young professionals like the popular spots they regularly visit in Trolley Square and other areas of the city.

With a 30-foot bar with a zinc top, communal restaurant tables, plenty of TVs and an approachable sandwich-and-skillet menu, Stitch is gunning to be a major player at night with a promise to stay open until 1 a.m. seven nights a week — even slow nights.

“We don’t want people to guess if we’re going to be open,” says Daniel Sheridan, 35, who co-owns the vibrant 160-seat spot with fellow Wilmington native Rob Snowberger. “It might be a little rough some nights, but I think it’s better to be known as a place you know will be open.”

Sheridan is also co-owner of the city’s Locale BBQ Post and Wilmington Pickling Company and Snowberger’s day job is vice president of development for The Buccini/Pollin Group, owner of the building at 829 N. Market St., just steps from The Grand.

They’re confident that their quick, in-and-out lunches will do well thanks to downtown’s hungry army of workers and they plan on hosting happy hours to bring people back for a drink or dinner. Plus, Stitch already has a few office parties already booked.

The duo isn’t only targeting beer-drinking millennials with their tapas-style food, industrial decor and high-traffic location. Sunday brunches will start at 10 a.m. and a kids menu offers $7 child-size skillets such as macaroni and cheese, meatballs and pierogis.

As for adults, the menu is anchored by 10 different $10 skillet options, ranging from cheese fries and queso fundido to wings and a pepperoni “skillet pizza.” There are also 14 sandwiches on their sandwich board including Reubens ($13), pastrami on rye ($13), breaded chicken cutlet ($13), turkey press ($14), fried bologna ($9), along with both Cubano ($13) and short rib ($15) paninis.

Larger $13 dishes include short rib stew, chicken parmesan, chicken pot pie, scallops and more. Soups and salads ($7), hamburgers ($14) and meat and cheese boards ($22-$41) are also on the menu.

And, yes, just like Sheridan’s Locale BBQ Post, there is a smoker on site for the meats.

In terms of the beer, they’re still naming the brews they have already made. But among the first class of Stitch House beers to be available, there will be a lager, IPA, pilsner and stout, along with both a Belgian farmhouse and Belgian gold.

Customers will also be able to take out growlers and smaller crowlers of beer. And once the $75 million Residences at Mid-town Park apartment complex is completed on Shipley Street later this year, those residents will be able to order food and drinks to their pool deck, which will be visible from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the rear of Stitch House.

The arrival of Stitch on Market Street is actually a small piece of Delaware beer history in the making.

After Diamond State Brewery went bankrupt in 1955, the only other downtown brewery to make its own beer was Downtown Brewing Company from 2000 to 2003. (For the record, Iron Hill Brewery, which brews its own beer, is located in the city’s Riverfront area. In addition, the former Brandywine Brewing Company, which opened in 2005 on Orange Street, had its beer delivered from Greenville before closing after a short six month-run.)

While the craft beer boom has sprouted breweries of all sizes from Greenville to Delmar, it has left downtown Wilmington untouched over the past 15 years.

The city had long been the state’s brewing center thanks to breweries such as Hartmann Fehrenbach, which opened in the 1860s, along with others such as the Joseph Stoeckle Brewing Company, Diamond State Brewery and Bavarian Brewery.  

The opening of Stitch will come two years after the death of the man who was supposed to be the one opening a brewery at the location.

It was February 2016 when Chelsea Tavern and Ernest Scott Taproom owner  Scott Morrison died at the age of 54. Restaurateur Joe Van Horn and a partner have since purchased those two restaurants while Sheridan and Snowberger stepped in to replace Morrison in the brewery project.

Sheridan says even though Snowberger is an executive for building owner BGP, it’s their restaurant.

“This is no longer really a BPG project — they are our landlords,” says Sheridan, also a chef who has cooked at local restaurants such as Cantwell’s Tavern, Hotel du Pont, Big Fish, La Fia and more over the years.

Martin Hageman, executive director of the city’s nonprofit business group Downtown Visions, says Stitch House is what downtown needs and hints that more businesses targeting young professionals are coming soon.

He says about 200 people lived in downtown Wilmington five years ago, a number that now stands at an estimated 2,000.

“We can’t only have white tablecloth-type dining. There’s demand for less-expensive and more personal options,” Hageman says of Stitch House, whose name is rooted in the building’s history, having formerly housed Linen Mart and the Diamond Ice Coal Co. in the past. “A lot of the younger millennials want the socialization that Stitch House and other places will be providing.”

With a pair of owners in their mid-30s, Sheridan thinks they know what the younger, nightlife-seeking crowds want.

And that’s exactly what BPG wants to keep younger residents moving to downtown to fill their still-growing roster of apartment buildings that dot downtown.

“We are the actual demographic and when my friends get off work, they don’t necessarily want to sit down for a full meal. You want to be lounging with food on the cheaper side,” Sheridan says. “Even though this space is beautiful, the aim is not to get lost pretentiousness. We want to be a hangout.”

Contact Ryan Cormier of The News Journal at or (302) 324-2863. Follow him on Facebook (@ryancormier), Twitter (@ryancormier) and Instagram (@ryancormier).

Category: Skillets  Tags: ,  Comments off
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.