DRA Releases ‘State of the Industry’ Report

A recent report released by the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) indicates that two years into the pandemic, restaurants continue to struggle to stay open amid a surge in coronavirus cases, inflation, labor shortages and supply chain delays. According to the report, the state’s restaurant industry is down 4,300 jobs from pre-pandemic levels. The report indicates more than 650,000 jobs were lost early in the pandemic. A recent DRA survey of members indicates:

• 90% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor on-premises dining in recent weeks, because of the increase in coronavirus cases due to the omicron variant.

• 86% of operators report that business conditions are worse now than three months ago

• 80% say their restaurant is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic

• 7 in 10 employers say their restaurant currently does not have enough employees to support customer demand; most operators expect their labor challenges to continue throughout 2022

• 70% have reduced hours of operation during days they are open

• 50% closed on some days when they would normally be open

• 30% reduced seating capacity

For more info, visit DelawareRestaurant.org

Wilmington Grand Prix Returns

After a two-year break due to COVID restrictions, the three-day Wilmington Grand Prix cycling event and festival returns to Wilmington May 13-15. For the 13th year, the event is part of USA Cycling’s National Race Calendar and is considered one of the premier criterium-format races in the U.S. In 2019, the last year the event was held, cyclists from 21 states and seven countries participated.

Grand Prix Weekend opens with the Monkey Hill Time Trial and Kick-off Party in Brandywine Park on May 13. The event features the nationally known cobblestone climb up Monkey Hill while the crowd enjoys live music, food trucks and a tailgate atmosphere. 

The Major Taylor Community Ride will kick off activities on Sat., May 14 as the public is invited to join regional Major Taylor cycling clubs and pro racers for a recreational ride of the Grand Prix racecourse. The amateur and pro races will follow with free activities and course-side cafes lining Market Street.

Sunday sees the return of the nationally acclaimed Governor’s Ride and Delaware Gran Fondo, where local riders join out-of-towners and pro racers for a scenic ride of the Brandywine Valley that starts at the Delaware Art Museum and takes cyclists past a dozen cultural attractions — including once-a-year opportunities to ride through the grounds of Hagley and Winterthur museums. 

Visit WilmGrandPrix.com

New Pedestrian-Cycling Connector Opens in Newark

The Charles Emerson Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge has recently opened in Newark. Named after a former director of Newark Parks & Recreation, the bridge provides a crossing for walkers, runners and cyclists over the White Clay Creek along Paper Mill Road.

The Bridge introduces a safe connection between Downtown Newark, Pomeroy Trail and Olan Thomas Park toward Paper Mill Park, the Newark Reservoir, neighborhoods north of the downtown area and White Clay Creek State Park.

Bike Newark and the City of Newark are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Visit BikeNewark.org

The End of a Book Lover’s Tradition

The Wilmington Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is ending its tradition of used-book sales. The 54th and final sale will be held April 2-3 (10am-5pm both days) at its Book Room (8 Germay Drive, Wilm.).

Since 1969, the AAUW Used Book Sale has united thousands of donors, buyers and volunteers — plus hundreds of thousands of books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games and puzzles. The events spread information and ideas, recycled physical media and, most importantly, funded college scholarships for New Castle County women. The Wilmington Branch hopes to continue the scholarships through donations.

“A college degree is such an important foundation for a lifetime of financial success and contributing to society, and we are happy to have helped so many deserving women,” said Trina Gardner, Booksale Chair. “And we will continue to do so, with your generous support.”     

Interested donors should reach out to the Branch at aauwwilmscholars@gmail.com. Information about the scholarships is available at Wilmington-de.aauw.net/scholarships

Wilmington’s Judy Johnson Included in Field of Legends Bobbleheads

Wilmington baseball legend Judy Johnson is included in the officially licensed Negro Leagues Field of Legends Bobbleheads recently released as part of Black History Month and the anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League. The bobbleheads, which replicate the 13 life-size statues featured on the Field of Legends at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City, Mo., features Johnson, who is considered one of the best third basemen to play in the Negro Leagues. Judy Johnson Field at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium is named for him.

This marks the largest bobblehead puzzle set in terms of both size and number of pieces. Proceeds from the sale will add to the total of over $35,000 raised for the NLBM through the sale of bobbleheads since the Centennial Bobblehead Series was introduced in 2020. Visit BobbleheadHall.com

Nomad Reopens March 10

After nearly two years of being closed due to COVID, Wilmington’s intimate music club known as The Nomad will reopen on Thursday, March 10 with a live performance by Darnell Miller and The Souldaires.

The reopening has been a long time coming.

“It feels good,” David Vandever who, along with his wife, Linda, has owned the club for 11 years. Being that the club is so intimate, the Vandevers felt that up until now, safety concerns and restrictions had left them with no choice but to keep The Nomad shuttered. 

“We’re optimistic,” he adds. “We feel the time is right.”

Following the Souldaires show, The Nomad’s opening weekend will consist of Tony “Big Cat” Smith on Friday, March 11 and Island Vibes on Saturday, March 12.

You can find The Nomad at 905 Orange Street. Look for the neon OPEN sign.

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