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Big Fish Restaurant Group got a little bigger the opening of Taco Grande.
A Mexican restaurant facing the Christina River had long been in the works, with one planned establishment encountering hurdles that included legacy environmental issues in the one-time shipyard area.
Big Fish, with its hugely popular Big Fish Grill nearby, swooped in and acquired the former Joe’s Crab Shack location. The former crab shack has some of the best outdoor dining views on the riverfront.
With a couple of dozen restaurants under its umbrella, Big Fish does have some experience in Mexican food with its Bar Roja in the Trolley Square neighborhood in Wilmington.
The savvy restaurant operator did its homework in rolling out Taco Grande, which despite its fast food-like name has more adventurous fare than some of its competitors.
One example on Taco Grande’s menu is birria, tacos that come with a soup-like consommé for dipping.
Birria has become wildly popular in some parts of the country and has quietly been introduced locally (See story below).
The restaurant also hopes to capitalize on the popularity of tequila with an inventory of 100 brands.
With diners accustomed to large menus, Mexican restaurants are not easy to operate even for seasoned restauranteurs. No national casual dining chain has ever emerged in that format.
Mom and pop operators are also adept at offering dishes at lower price points.
The riverfront area is already the home Del Pez, which describes itself as a Mexican gastropub.
Platinum Dining Group, which owns five successful restaurants in northern Delaware had to do a reboot of the menu at its El Camino restaurant in the former Concord Plaza in north Wilmington after a shaky start.
A birria option
By the way, you don’t have to head to the riverfront or other coast to find birria.
One option is El Pique, a taqueria with locations in Elsmere and on DuPont Highway south of the 40 split.
El Pique offers birria with a generous side of consomméfor dipping the taco French Dip sandwich style.
The consommé comes with a little heat, minus the saltiness of your average French Dip a jus.
UDairy Creamery now on Main Street
The new UDairy Creamery Café is now open in the Barnes and Noble University of Delaware Bookstore on Main Street, Newark.
The café will serve ice cream, waffle cones and offer the dairy’s cheese varieties.
Additionally, the UDairy Creamery Café will offer a full coffee drink menu and light fare, including sandwiches made with UDairy Creamery cheese.
Over the summer, the UDairy Creamery Café carries the same hours as the UD Bookstore — Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.
Once the fall semester begins, the creamery will extend the café’s hours.
Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the flagship location at 535 S College Avenue will continue to serve the full ice cream menu, including 34 flavors, waffle cones, and cheeses.