Chef James Smith first gained recognition in Wilmington with his wildly popular burger truck named The Patty Wagon. When he traded in the truck for permanent gastropub digs on downtown Wilmington’s Market Street, fans got a full taste of his comfort food with a twist. The intimate, 36-seat space at Fork ‘n Cork is all red brick, dark wood and artsy stained glass wall hangings. His famous burgers as well as brisket and meatloaf sandwiches still populate the menu (gluten-free buns available), but think gastronomic experience rather than typical pub food at this oh-so-comfy restaurant.
Scotch eggs and deep-fried, confit duck legs are famous here. Fans adore the mac ’n’ cheese creations. Sometimes short ribs or brisket gets tucked between the cheesy pasta layers. Carbonara mac ’n’ cheese with shrimp, peas, mushrooms, pancetta and parmesan cream sauce cushions a warm, runny egg yolk. Mini beef Wellingtons are made in house.
Sunday brunch is a must at Fork ’n Cork when you consider lobster pot pie that combines tender lobster chunks with corn, baby potatoes and fennel in a champagne cream sauce. For brunch, you also might encounter Texas-style barbecue brisket, two sunny-side-up eggs and Creole mustard cream sauce crowning a hefty buttermilk biscuit alongside home fries. Chef Smith likes surprises.
Polished wood wine racks hold nice but affordable labels. Cocktails might mean bourbon on the rocks, a spiked Bananas Foster milkshake or a Bloody Mary bar. Find craft beers here, too.
Fork ‘n Cork handily won Best New Restaurant in 2015. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m to 10 p.m. Sunday.
For more information visit www.theforkncork.com.