Lanice Wilson set out a plate of jicama wraps at her Rooted AF stall on Wednesday afternoon during a media-only viewing of the new Chancery Market Food Hall & Bar in downtown Wilmington and was more than ready for viewers to sample her vegan dishes.
“It’s completely plant-based,” said an eager Wilson, who also plans to serve curry “chicken,” empanadas and “meatball” sandwiches when the market in the former Hercules building at 1313 N. Market St. opens to the public on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 a.m.
It’s a second culinary venture for Wilson, who has been running The Juice Joint at the Wilmington Riverfront since 2020.
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Now, she’s excited to be part of another growing area of the city.
“I think this is a great opportunity. It’s a destination,” she says of the Chancery Market, which currently has seven food vendors. An eighth vendor is expected to be announced in the next few days.
“I feel like there’s a movement on this side of Wilmington and I wanted to be a part of it,” Wilson says.
The 12,000-square-foot culinary collective in the 12-story building in Wilmington’s business district off north Market Street near the banks of the Brandywine also has lined up Dan Butler, chef/owner of Wilmington’s Piccolina Toscana, to make Neapolitan-style pizzas, panini on ciabatta rolls, sourdough sandwiches and salads.
Pizzas, topped with everything from braised short ribs and gorgonzola to grilled chicken breast with pesto, artichokes and fontina cheese, will cost between $12 and $18. Sandwiches are $11 to $14, and salads are $8 to $14.
Butler, who has been running Toscana for 30 years, says his stall at the market is a way to share some of the casual, contemporary Italian foods he serves at his Trolley Square restaurant, adjoining to-go shop and catering business.
New Wilmington restaurateur Justin Womack says, like Butler and Wilson, he also felt the pull to bring his New American cuisine to another part of the city.
Womack, who runs Oath ’84 restaurant in the Renaissance building at 405 N. King St. across from the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center, says his market stall will offer similar versions of the small plates he makes at his modern restaurant, but with twists.
Womack says instead of the lamb chops he serves in his restaurant, he will be making lamb meatballs at the market. He also plans dishes such as jerk chicken egg rolls, and he will incorporate flavors from India and Mexico into his food.
The 1313 N. Market St. building housing Chancery Market and a nearby 23-story site being redeveloped at 1201 N. Market St., the tallest building in the city, is owned by TSG Hospitality LLC.
Both buildings house several prominent law firms, including Potter Anderson & Corroon, one of the oldest and largest in Delaware; Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr; and Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. The growing area also now includes two new hotels.
The market’s name is a nod to the Delaware Court of Chancery, widely recognized as the nation’s preeminent forum for the determination of disputes involving Delaware corporations and other business entities.
Chancery Market, a $5 million project, is the second food hall for Wilmington.
DECO, a 13,000-square-foot food hall with eight food stalls at 111 W. 10th St., has been operating since April 2019. It was developed by the Buccini/Pollin Group and is just three blocks away from Chancery Market.
Gaby Indellini, a spokeswoman for TSG Hospitality, says the idea for Chancery Market was initially a way to woo working-from-home employees back into the former Hercules office building.
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“When tenants started coming back, it really became about amenities and how to get workers back into the office when things used to be so easy for them at home,” she says. “That was how it started, and it really has grown into welcoming all the residents in the community around it.”
Indellini says Chancery Market isn’t competing with the nearby DECO food hall because it has a different feel. She says Chancery Market has been planned to have an “upscale” feel so attorneys can come there and meet with clients.
Customers can sit at tables, scan QR codes and order from any vendor while seated. Food runners will then bring food to tables. At DECO, customers order at the counter or from smartphones and pick up their food.
Chancery Market also has heated and refrigerated lockers at the doors near the building’s lobby for customers who want to order food ahead of time or have food delivered via Door Dash.
The space has a mix of high and low tables, as well as a shuffleboard table and a large bar.
The market will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Parking is available in a garage under the building and is free for two hours. A parking garage across the street eventually will be connected to the building via a skywalk.
Indellini says live music is coming soon and the market will have a movable stage.
A 10,000-square-foot communal plaza featuring outdoor dining with seating for 150 will open this spring.
HQ Hospitality, a Brooklyn-based culinary consulting and food hall management firm led by chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and co-founder Akhtar Nawab, is overseeing the management of the market and food hall.
The market’s other food vendors so far include:
- Fuku, a fried chicken venture from chef, author and TV star David Chang, known for founding the Momofuku restaurant empire that has restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Toronto.
- KatiRoll Wala, serving Indian street food staples. One item is Kati rolls, food originating from Kolkata, West Bengal, India, that can include grilled chicken thighs, farmer’s cheese or chickpeas, potatoes and cauliflower wrapped in a paratha, an Indian flatbread, along with sliced onions and sauces, like cilantro or butter masala. The stand also will sell a variety of rice bowls.
- Espresso, a stand offering pastries, coffee, fresh food and healthy options.
- Market Street Burger & Dog.
Contact Patricia Talorico at ptalor[email protected] and follow her on Twitter @pattytalorico.