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 granchild 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 (!). The restaurant itself has seen better days and is uniquely surrounded by both the business district and a seedy neighborhood simultaneously and the diversity of its patrons reflects that, but Essex is a place where a game of checkers will break out before a gunfight does. There is no pretense here; businessmen and gangsters 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 plainest and simplest form and that’s what makes it superbly delicious.
219 W. 8th St.
Wilmington, DE 19801