Commemorative Delaware dishes mark Biden presidency
As President Joe Biden takes the oath of office in Washington D.C, some businesses are commemorating the First State’s day in the sun with sandwiches, beer and cocktails all honoring the president’s Delaware roots.
Leading up to Inauguration Day, the “Joe Biden” sandwich has been flying out of the deli at Janssen’s Market in Greenville. Paula Janssen said that’s nothing new.
“It’s always been popular, even way back when we first introduced it a few years ago. It’s just even more popular now that people are starting to catch on that we have it,” Jannsen, the co-owner of the independent gourmet grocery store that is a favorite of Biden, who lives nearby.
The “Joe Biden” sandwich — a panini with a half pound of maple turkey, havarti cheese, champagne mustard and arugula — was first created when President Barack Obama chose Biden as his running mate in 2008. Since then, Jannsen said it sells well, either take-out or freshly pressed at the J’s Cafe, mainly because it’s just a really good sandwich.
“It’s absolutely raised our profile, and the sandwich is even more popular than before,” Janssen said. “It’s an exciting time and we’re proud to see a Delawarean make it to the White House. It’s kind of our way to have a fun celebration.”
Janssen can’t deny there’s been a so-called “Biden effect” the sandwich brings to the family-owned grocery store. With the intense interest in the 46th president and his home state, she’s been fielding interviews with local CBS affiliates as well as news outlets in Ukraine, Chile and Portugal and more.
As the spotlight on Janssen’s Market grows and sales climb for the sandwich, there’s one question left unanswered: has Biden tried his namesake sandwich?
“I don’t think he has, because he’s mostly a breakfast customer, especially after mass [at St. Joseph on the Brandywine] with his grandkids,” Janssen said. “But he’s been a great customer of ours, we’ve seen him come in and pick up a few things or flowers for Jill [Biden]. He came out in 1991 when we had our grand reopening when he was a U.S. senator.”
So far, Janssen has the only Biden sandwich. But Capriotti’s may be cashing in on the “Biden effect” as revenue at the sandwich chain’s sole D.C. location jumped 30% in the week Biden won the election, according to the Washingtonian. Capriotti’s has no plans for a Biden-themed sandwich at this time, although the company already has a brand on its “thanksgiving sandwich,” the Bobbie.
Meanwhile, there has yet to be an ice cream flavor in Delaware named after the president, although the UDairy Creamery Director of Operations Melinda Shaw said “our heads have been spinning with ideas for a flavor” and hope to work with him to come up with a flavor.
Cornell University already has a flavor named after Biden: Big Red, White and Biden, a vanilla-based ice cream with chocolate chips.
Meanwhile, the “Joe Biden” sandwich is not the only Biden-themed refreshment the president has likely not sampled. Wilmington Brew Works debuted Rail Car One: Wilmington to Washington, a Indian Pale Ale beer that celebrates Biden’s favorite method of transportation.
The beer is a triple dry-hopped brew, made with Mosaic, Citra and Sultana hops, that Wilmington Brew Works is calling a “Double Delaware IPA.”
Its label is reminiscent of a Works Progress Administration train poster, complete with the train number 0046, referencing Biden being elected the 46th president. The side of the label also features aviator sunglasses, Biden’s trademark accessory.
“It was about meeting the moment,” Wilmington Brew Works CEO Craig Wensell said. “We started to brew this beer before the election, and then the news broke so we wanted to have a tongue-in-cheek way to honor the moment.”
Rail Car One: Wilmington to Washington debuted on Dec. 7, or Delaware Day, and sold out quickly. A second batch was brewed on Jan. 1, with some cases held until Inauguration Day for a limited sale. The beer has been so popular, Wensell said that people travel from out of state to sample it or pick up some cans.
“We were going to send cases of it down to D.C. on a historic Amtrak car as a send-up, but that obviously was postponed,” Wensell added. “I’d love to get him in the tap house even for a visit someday.”
Wilmington Brew Works is currently fermenting another batch of Rail Car One, and it should be ready in a few weeks. The brewery anticipates brewing the beer a few times a year for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, the city of Wilmington has celebrated its new status as “hometown of the President of the United States” by debuting a cocktail of its own: “The Wilmington.” The Tapp Network, a marketing agency overseeing the city’s “It’s Time” campaign, leaned on its existing connections with Aviation Gin to launch a cocktail creation contest to best showcase the city that’s now in the national spotlight.
The winning cocktail — one and a half part gin, ¾ part peach-infused simple syrup, one part lemon juice and ground cinnamon garnish —was created by two University of Delaware alum Fazal Vandal and Kate Ganter who live in Wilmington’s Forty Acres neighborhood. It beat out entries from Wilmington’s restaurant scene like Bardea, Copper Dram, Torbert Street Social, Columbus Inn, and Crow Bar, among other entries across the nation.
“We both really like making cocktails, and when we started doing our research about Delaware, it turns out that the state had one of the largest peach farms in the country,” Vandal said. “Lemon goes well with that, but the cinnamon was added to make it a full-bodied drink.”
The “It’s Time” campaign unveiled the “The Wilmington” cocktail in a live-streamed event on Jan. 14, and can be found at the Le Cavalier at the Green Room with future restaurant locations planned. Aviation Gin will include the recipe with branded materials as it continues to hit the liquor stores across the country.
“It’s been kind of surreal, actually, to know we created this cocktail named after this awesome city that’s getting more attention. I feel like people think of Wilmington as ‘a place out of Philly,’ but that’s not all it is,” Ganter said. “It’s a city with a lot of culture and none of the drawbacks from Philadelphia, and it’s a diverse state. It’s a special place.”