THE BEERS OF SUMMER
Where we’re having lunch: Ernest & Scott Taproom (902 N Market St.) on a bright summer day.
What we’re eating: It’s Taco Tuesday, so it’s hard to resist three tacos for $10. Some of our favorites are crispy fish tacos with a spicy chipotle aioli and the pulled pork taco with coleslaw and crispy onions. Dominic Fauser, former head chef at Chelsea Tavern, is now both part-owner and executive chef at Ernest & Scott, and the menu has gotten a serious upgrade.
What to drink while enjoying Taco Tuesday: The three beers of summer: Allagash White, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Dogfish Head Namaste White, as chosen by Elvis Rosales, manager.
Ok, we have to ask: “My mom was in love with Elvis. In high school, even the teachers would make jokes about how ‘Elvis just entered my classroom!’ I heard all of the jokes. I explain to people who come into the restaurant that I don't sing and I don't dance. But nine out of 10 people will never forget my name, so I embrace it now. More than when I was in high school.”
So back to beer: “In the summer, low alcohol beers give you the satisfaction of drinking two or three and not feeling bad. It helps that we have them on happy hour too. You come in here and can drink them for four bucks.”
Picking the featured beers: “We try to taste every single beer that comes through here. I personally do a lot of research – Beer Advocate, RatedBeer.com – and I took a Cicerone Level One course. When we do lineups everyday before lunch and dinner service, we’ll do 4-ounce pours for everyone – staff, kitchen, back of the house, front of the house – so all of our servers and bartenders learn where the beers come from. It is a challenge when I'm at home with my wife and she's like, ‘Are you drinking again?’ I got to do it! Somebody's got to do it for the restaurant.”
On how things are changing on Market: “In 2012, when we opened this restaurant with [the late Scott Morrison], there were not a lot of people living in the city. But now, BPG has invested. The building going up right behind Chelsea Tavern is going to have 400 parking spaces. There are all these apartments coming right on top of Walgreens, we have a brewery coming in, so all of these things are little steps that are bringing in more people. It’s becoming more of a destination. Hopefully more investors and entrepreneurs decide to open on Market.”
This Saturday: Chelsea Tavern and Ernest & Scott Taproom team up for the Wilmington Downtown Brew Fest, featuring 100 craft beers, 40 local breweries, live music and DJS, 11 local restaurants and two local food trucks on the 800 block of Market. VIPs ($50) get in at noon and general admission ($35) starts at 1:30 p.m.