Bidens dine at Banks’ Seafood for first Delaware meal
WILMINGTON – It took nearly a year for the first family to take in a meal at a Delaware restaurant despite frequently coming back to their Greenville home on the weekends, but President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden honored Banks’ Seafood Kitchen and Raw Bar with that visit on New Year’s Eve afternoon.
In nearly a year living in the White House, the president publicly dined with the first lady or the vice president at a few Washington, D.C., restaurants, but had yet to grace one in his hometown. His previous trips to Delaware were largely contained to their family homes in Greenville or Rehoboth Beach, their church, or two country clubs where they are members.
In some Delaware-related food stops, the president did pick up Capriotti’s subs for a union hall gathering on Labor Day and later took in coffee and breakfast with his grandchildren at the Trolley Square Brew Ha Ha! in October. But sit-down service remained elusive for the first couple.
The Bidens broke that streak in a quiet visit to Banks’ Seafood, where the first couple gained more notice from national media when they commented on the death of actress Betty White and their New Year resolutions just outside of the Riverfront restaurant’s doors.
“What an honor for them to choose us for the visit. I guess it comes with some bragging rights,” Banks’ Seafood owner and chef David Banks told the Delaware Business Times.
The Bidens are no strangers to Banks’ Seafood, though they probably remember it best as Harry’s Seafood Grill when then-Sen. Biden reportedly most often visited after disembarking at the nearby Amtrak station.
Banks, the longtime corporate executive chef of Harry’s Hospitality Group and a co-owner in three company ventures over the decades, amicably split from his longtime business partner Xavier Teixido in 2017 and rebranded the Riverfront mainstay to its current eponymous name.
On the last day of 2021, Banks was at the restaurant preparing for the usual lunch shift when he got a hunch that the day would be a bit different in the end. Secret Service agents arrived unannounced shortly after the doors opened to inform Banks of the visit and scope out the premises, he said.
Joe and Jill Biden arrived shortly thereafter for an impromptu date lunch during the traditional vacation period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The couple dined for about an hour before heading back home, according to White House Press Corps reports.
Banks said that after they were done eating, the president came back to the restaurant’s kitchen for a few minutes to talk with staff and take a group photo. After photos of the press gaggle outside of the restaurant spread on social media, Banks said that friends and colleagues began calling to congratulate him on the visit.
“There’s a lot of places that they could have chosen to go to, and it just made me really proud that they chose us. It was a really nice gift,” Banks added.
And what did the first couple order for their meal?
Jill had the lobster salad while Joe had a hamburger, Banks said.
*Editor’s note: The story has been updated to reflect the president’s stop at Brew Ha Ha! café on Oct. 3, which could be seen as his first Delaware restaurant stop, and his local takeout from Capriotti’s.