[caption id="attachment_230271" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden dined at The Quoin in Wilmington on March 18, making a rare public outing in Delaware. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
WILMINGTON – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have rarely gotten to enjoy the nightlife or scenes of their hometown, but the first couple did manage to sneak away for an impromptu visit to The Quoin, the new boutique hotel and restaurant on Market Street.Although the Bidens have returned to Delaware nearly every month since taking office in January 2021, they have rarely been anywhere other than their Greenville or Rehoboth Beach homes, the family’s home Catholic parishes or the private Fieldstone Golf Club. Their only other sit-down meal in Wilmington to date came on New Year’s Eve 2021, when they visited Bank’s Seafood Kitchen at the Riverfront.On Saturday, March 18, though, the Bidens were able to sneak in a little more than an hour at The Quoin, a trendy new spot that is home to Wilmington’s only rooftop bar.The visit came as a surprise to the staff at The Quoin, which was developed and is managed by Philadelphia-based firm Method Co. and opened in October. The restaurant got a call late in the afternoon about the president’s impending visit, which of course necessitated a Secret Service sweep.“Having the president and his entourage dine with us on a Saturday night at the height of service did require some juggling within just a few hours, but we pulled it off nicely," Tom Austin, general manager of food and beverage at The Quoin, told the Delaware Business Times.As always, the Bidens were “congenial upon arrival,” taking a few moments to mingle throughout the busy dining room and stopping to shake some hands and take selfies, Austin added.“It created quite the buzz for our Saturday night diners," he added.With a menu that melds Southern French and Northern Italian influences in modern wood-fired fare, the Bidens reportedly enjoyed a light meal. They tried the Pop Over’s to start along with the Hamachi crudo and beet salad before enjoying a lemon tart for dessert, Austin said.
[caption id="attachment_196146" align="alignleft" width="300"] President Joe Biden spends many days in Delaware, but hasn't made many public outings in his hometown. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
After dinner, the first couple took a quick tour of the hotel, including visiting the basement Simmer Down cocktail bar. That’s where Philadelphia-based artist Reverend Michael Alan has painted a mural with local notes, including a tiny Joe Biden sporting his signature aviator sunglasses.“President Biden was able to see his portrait on the mural and got quite a kick out of the likeness and had a nice chat in front of it with those around,” Austin said.The couple also made a quick trip to the rooftop bar and lounge, where they again surprised guests, took pictures, and greeted the staff, he added.It’s unclear if they dined with anyone else, but press pool photos show Robert Buccini escorting the couple out to their car. His real estate development firm, Buccini/Pollin Group, owns The Quoin and Buccini is a longtime family friend and a best friend of Joe’s late son, Beau. First daughter Ashley Biden has also reportedly been spotted at The Quoin by locals, and could have made the recommendation.The rare hometown presidential visit is even more of a boost to the new space amid a revitalized Market Street corridor."We are beyond honored to have the Biden’s join us in the dining room. It was a treat for our guests, our chef and kitchen team to cook for them, and our service staff to do their job so well in their presence. It certainly created a buzz for those present that evening and gives our team a feather in their cap that not many can say. It was a wonderful experience that went extremely smoothly thanks to teamwork by all,” Austin said.Randall Cook, CEO and co-founder of Method Co., said he was happy that their property could give the first couple a bit of a respite."One of the great joys of a long and happy marriage is a date night out on the town. This was definitely one of the ideas we had in mind when we developed the concept for The Quoin. It was truly wonderful to see the President and First Lady enjoying a Saturday night out together and we hope it was a nice relaxing night out for them,” he said.While the Bidens have taken in fewer meals in public than some of their White House predecessors – they often choose to eat at home or with other family members when here on return trips – the visit to Wilmington was a welcome sign for the state’s restaurateurs.“Although Delaware restaurants are already known to treat diners with gracious hospitality, it is exciting to see the president and first lady stepping out to explore what is new and hip in Wilmington. Delaware's dining scene is every bit as dynamic as most larger cities, and no doubt the couple had a fantastic experience at the Quoin last weekend,” said Carrie Leishman, president of the Delaware Restaurant Association.