Caribbean-inspired restaurant coming to downtown Dover
DOVER — A key downtown Dover storefront has recently changed hands with a rising family property management firm that plans to lease it out as a restaurant.
First Flight LLC, managed by George Antoniou, bought 228 W. Loockerman St. for $190,000 in late December 2020, according to county land records. The property sits right in the heart of downtown Dover and used to be home to retailer 69 Flavors.
Antoniou is currently stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City. His father, Tom Antioniou, who serves as First Flight’s property manager, hopes that a new restaurant will continue to help Dover thrive.
“We raised our children here and it’s a great city. We’ve seen a lot of change over the years, and my son bought this property because we can see it playing an instrumental part in the energy in downtown,” Tom Antiniou told the Delaware Business Times.
The Antinious leased the property to Yvenel Sainsume and Devong Peck to launch the restaurant Room 228. With traditional dishes like steak and salmon but with Caribbean flavors, the pair hope to anchor a unique dining experience in downtown Dover.
“In Dover, there’s an idea that it’s just chain restaurants, which isn’t true. But we travel around a lot, and we realize that there’s not much in terms for people looking to step outside the comfort zone,” Sainsume said. “To get something premiere and different for special occasions, you might have to go to Wilmington, Baltimore or Philadelphia. We want to bring that here, fusing those spices with dishes you might see here.”
Sainsume and Peck plan on bringing a chef from Atlanta to craft the menu and will be looking for a bartender to come up with cocktails and to train bar staff.
Room 228 has been a dream of the pair for a while, and almost achieved in 2018 before the building changed hands but the lease fell through, Sainsume said. Now he hopes to take advantage of the Downtown Development District incentives for renovation of the property.
“It’s really beneficial to make this investment now. It’s Loockerman Street, it’s right in the middle of everything and it has access to lot parking right next door. That alone is a plus, even before there’s metered parking,” Sainsume said.