New Business: Hollywood Diner reopens in Dover

Ronald White, new owner of the Hollywood Diner in Dover, reopened the landmark restaurant last week. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — After purchasing Dover’s landmark Hollywood Diner back in late March, new owner Ronald White reopened it last Wednesday under its new name: The Southern Grille Hollywood Diner of Dover.

Cosmetically, little was changed. But the new owner overhauled the menu, he says.

“The diner has a great look that people recognize and enjoy. We want to keep that for the folks around here,” Mr. White said in March. “We’re just going to bring a different type of food and some more energy to the place.”

Mr. White, who also owns The Southern Grille of Ellendale, said the diner will act as an additional location serving roughly the same cuisine. He describes the menu as “southern country comfort food.”

“We sell anything from a hot dog to a lobster tail and everything is homemade,” he said. “People love our flounder, cream of crab soup, limas and dumplings, candied yams, sweet potato soufflé, macaroni and cheese and we have fresh rolls and deserts daily. No one leaves hungry.”

He’s confident the change in menu will drive new customers to the U.S. 13 diner and revitalize it.

“We’re going to blow the doors off this place,” he said. “With a little time, I guarantee you there will be a line out the door for our food.”

Comparable in size to his other location, the Hollywood Diner has about 100 seats to his 70. The Ellendale location currently employs about 30 people, he says.

Later this year, Mr. White even plans to bring the characteristically Delawarean dish of muskrat back to plates in Dover. After The Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant in Smyrna closed in 2014, muskrat all but disappeared from restaurants in the central part of the state.

The “marsh rabbit” — as muskrats are sometimes charitably called — are very popular at his Ellendale location, notes Mr. White.

“We’ve done them boiled with gravy, fried or barbecued — head on or head off,” he said. “If they’re cooked right, they’re really good. You have to cook them well enough to get the gamy flavor up out of them.”

Muskrat will likely be available at the diner in late fall, coinciding with the trapping season.

“The muskrat season usually runs from late November to late March, so we probably won’t start serving them at the Hollywood Diner until later this year at the start of the next season,” said Mr. White. “But, hey, that’s just something to look forward to.”

The diner is now open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ribbon cutting

• The Center at Eden Hill — to host ribbon cutting at 300 Banning Street in Dover on June 14 at 5:30 p.m.


• Brick Hotel Restaurant & Tavern — the Georgetown hotel and tavern will be closing its doors at the end of the year after 10 years in business. Owners Lynn and Ed Lester are retiring and seeking a new owner.

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