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The House of William and Merry (Hockessin, DE)

Has anyone been to this new establishment? Stumbled across this today. From the looks of things, they just opened up in the last month or so.


The menu looks very appetizing, and the decor looks modern and breezy. it could be a real gem in the area. And they have Sunday Brunch to boot!

Will need to check this out soon, maybe for brunch.

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  1. We've been a couple of times. Its a nice comfortable place. The food has been pretty good too. We were there so soon after it opened that I hesitate to comment on details. I like the place.

    1. So far I have been once, for lunch on a weekday. I was pretty surprised to see how many people were there at that hour, during the week, but perhaps I underestimate the "ladies who lunch" crowd in this area, not being one of them! Anyway, I was quite happy with the food--creative, generally well executed, and tasty. Like sal_acid, I was hesitating on commenting before I'd gone a few more times, but I definitely want to go back, if that's any indication. The Sunday supper menu looks particularly intriguing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: travelmad478

        The menu looks interesting albeit a bit pricey. I am holding off going since I get the impression that there may be a few kinks needing to be worked out?

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Not too many kinks, but I'm holding off on a dinner there for a while. We had a couple of nice lunches though.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            What kinks have you heard about? I didn't notice any during my one visit, but maybe there are some that I don't know about.

            The restaurant is on the fine-dining end of the spectrum price-wise, but I'm OK with it because I feel like the area can use a place at this level (especially with what I presume to be the imminent demise of Domaine Hudson...see the other thread!). Lunch was actually quite reasonable, in fact. I think my mushroom-spinach flatbread was $12, and well worth it.

            1. re: travelmad478

              I've declined to discuss kinks because I thought it would be premature.

        2. We were travelling by the area the other day - I found this place on opentable.
          We were the first to stop by on Saturday morning around 11:30, though several others came in as we ate. It's a very pleasant space, with an open kitchen as you walk in. They do have what looks like a nice porch for outdoor dining as well. I'd also point out that it's well thought out for those who have a little more trouble walking, with ramps all the way in.
          The service was pleasant and well-informed.
          We were wowed by the corn and goat cheese dip-really nice flavor balance-it is a bit deadly, though, if you are looking for a light starter. We also tried the corn soup, which was very richly flavored without being too heavy-very tasty.
          For mains, we had a cheese omlet, which was nicely prepared, but about what you would expect for an omlet.
          The mushroom saute with flatbread was excellent, with an interesting tomato-jam concoction-highly recommended.
          And I couldn't resist the bacon-bacon-bacon burger, which was pretty much as advertised-a large burger full of flavor along with fries. A serious burger, nicely done.
          We shared a blueberry dessert, which was fairly light and nuanced, along with good coffee.
          I felt the wine selection by the glass was pretty good, too.
          As to price-well, I live in NY, so it seemed cheap to me. Two starters, three entrees, one dessert, one glass of wine and three coffees = 84.50 before tip.
          All in all, we were very pleased with this stop. If we lived nearby, we'd certainly be back for dinner, especially the $30 Sunday supper. A friendly, casual, serious restaurant. I wish them well.

          9 Replies
          1. re: David W

            Wow... a hundred dollars seems to be a lot to charge in Hockessin for a burger, a cheese omelet, a saute, et. al. If I was in NYC I'd feel more comfortable, but...

            Thanks for the post though!

            1. re: bluehensfan

              It is really not that expensive. Lunch entrees max out at $13, which for what you're getting is entirely reasonable. Yes, a shorti hoagie at Wawa is half the price, but then you have to sit in your pickup truck and get iceberg lettuce shreds all over your lap when you eat it. :-)

              I am not wantonly insensitive to the price/value relationship, either. I was horrified by the disconnect at the Fresh Healthy Cafe that was briefly located on the opposite side of Rte. 41. That place charged prices that rivaled William & Merry's but the food quality was a lot closer to Wawa's (and the service was a hell of a lot worse, too).

              I had that mushroom flatbread thing and really liked it--did not feel I was overpaying at all. And the burger is not a plain burger--it's massive, has multiple components of bacon in it, and comes with really excellent fries.

              1. re: travelmad478

                While a nice concept, Fresh Healthy Cafe was pretty much doomed from the start. Their prices were totally out of line for what you got. I would assume this was due to their high rent (speculation on my part). And their location, I thought was poor (we never knew the place was there until a few weeks before they closed). They opened in a tough economic climate and had an uphill battle all the way. A different location and cheaper rent = more traffic and cheaper prices might have saved the day. Who knows. At least they gave it a go, I commend them for their effort.

              2. re: bluehensfan

                Bluehensfan, understand your concern, but if you break it down, it doesn't seem unreasonable:

                2 - starters ($10/starter) = $20
                3 - entrees ($15/entree) = $45
                1 - glass of wine ($7.50/glass) = $7.50
                1 - dessert ($8.50/dessert) = $8.50
                3 - coffees ($2.50/coffee) = $7.50

                I believe that comes out to roughly $88.50. Something that you would expect to pay at a mid/high end restaurant for lunch in a metropolitan area. Yes, Hockessin isn't Philadelphia, New York or Washington, D.C., but if the food is excellent, the menu varied and imaginative, the waitstaff on point and the prices within reason, they will come. All of us here know that we are starved for mid/high end food in this area. Whether H&M survive will depend on how well they execute those points. I hear your concern regarding prices (and they are valid concerns), but let's see what H&M delivers in the next year or so. You might be correct in assuming that those prices will not fly hear in this area. Time will tell.

                As it turns out, my S.O. has met up with her girlfriend and are currently enjoying drinks, maybe dinner without me (sad) at this very moment. So hopefully I will get the 411 on what's what and report back.

                1. re: genevapics

                  Actually I think the place is doing reasonably well, prices be damned. I drove by at 8 this evening (picking up my pizza at Two Cousins, post-workout at HAC, how sad is that!) and the parking lot was quite well populated, as was the porch dining area. That's on a Tuesday. So, looks like they are doing something that this area wants.

                2. re: bluehensfan

                  One thought concerning cost - when we travel and stop at a place we are not likely to get back to anytime soon, we tend to overeat...I probably would have been happy just sharing the corn/goat cheese dip and having the burger-you might want to try that before deciding it's too expensive. I'd urge you to give this place a chance-I think it's a labor of love, and the real thing.

                3. re: David W

                  Thank you for your review. Sounds like a serious restaurant with a casual vibe; exactly what we need in the area. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you stop by the next time you are in the area.

                  1. re: genevapics

                    Thanks for the posts. I guess my concerns were more about $45 for an omelet, a scramble and a burger before tip. I just don't know where else serves up a $15 omelet around here. I just hope they don't price themselves out of business, as I really do hope they succeed because it would be great to have an alternative to Sovana Bistro if you are looking for a good meal in the area.

                    I though Fresh Healthy was ok but I never found the wraps to be much better than those you get at Trader Joe's, and not being into wheatgrass drinks or whatever, never had an appreciation for the smoothies. And they had so many employees but it stil seemed slow... Personally, I kind of wish Bruster's was back there but there is always Woodside.

                    As an aside, I did have a very good rare sushi-grade tuna sandwich on homemade bread at Bella Vista Trattoria in Pike Creek a few weeks back. For what it is, it was darned good. And it's a short walk to Berri Yummi (my latest downfall...)

                    And finally, what's with the takeout place next to William and Merry? I went in on a Saturday afternoon looking for a good bite to take out about a month ago and all they had were pre-prepared trays of salads and some-type of pudding dessert. It looked like an extension of the Acme....not a good thing.

                    1. re: bluehensfan

                      I just noticed that takeout place last night as I was sitting in the parking lot of Two Cousins waiting for Mr. tm478 to emerge with our pizza. I had no idea what it was or when it opened. It was still open at 8 PM. I didn't go in, and from what you've said, it doesn't look like I need to!

                4. OK. I've been there a few times and they've now been open a while. I like the place. Nice people, good to great food, timely service, pleasant decoration. We had a Sunday dinner there...$30 prix fixe for three courses Sunday nights, and it was a real bargain. Inventive (but not weird) dishes in ample amounts. Easily the best food in the area.

                  1. OK, had dinner there last night, so that was my second visit. I thought the service was very pleasant, not super polished yet, but trying hard to be as professional as possible while still friendly. That works for me. No screw-ups at all during our (long) meal.

                    The food was mostly very good. To start, I had the corn soup, which I liked very much--definitely creative, not just a run-of-the-mill corn and cream concoction. There was good spicing to it (I believe cumin was involved) and some very fine croutons hiding in there. For my main course I had the seared scallops, which I thought was less successful. There were four scallops (plenty, IMO) on top of what was billed as a summer bean salad. That consisted of green beans, another kind of bean (great northern??), sliced cherry tomatoes, and sliced boiled fingerling potatoes. It was very simple, kind of too simple, because there didn't seem to be any dressing on it at all. I'm sure there was something, but it was so faint as to be indistinguishable. It did taste awfully healthy, probably a good thing after the corn soup, but it was a little bare.

                    Mr. travelmad478 got the pork plate starter, which was absolutely gigantic. I'm not sure I could have finished it as a main course. It included a hunk of pork belly the size of a potato, plus a lot of other things. He loved it, of course. For his main course he had the roasted chicken, which he also liked (I didn't taste it), and which came atop a huge pile of mashed potatoes that he couldn't finish.

                    Our dining companions were also quite happy with their food. One had the rib-eye steak, which came out cooked perfectly in line with her exacting instructions, and the other had a pan-fried trout special over wild rice. I was eyeing that trout because it looked delicious, and I guess it was since every scrap on that plate got eaten. If I go again and they have it as a special, I'm going to get it.

                    No room for dessert--the portions are too big. Sadly, the desserts aren't printed on the main menu, so I didn't have the early incentive to save room for them. Next time I will!

                    Dinner pricing is substantially higher than lunch, so we paid about $235 before tip for four cocktails, four starters, four entrees, a bottle of wine, a glass of wine, a beer, an espresso and a tea. This seems about in line with Domaine Hudson pricing, OK by me. Some of the food was not quite up to the level of DH at its best, and the wine list cannot compare, but I think HoW&M will get there. Plus, it's a quarter mile from my house, vs. ten miles!

                    The dining room is small and every table was taken on a Wednesday night. Only one turn for each table, but that's not bad at all for a weeknight. Good to see that this place is getting early traction.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Thank you for the many reviews. Sounds like a wonderful restaurant.

                    2. I live very close to Hockessin, but have never heard of this place. The menu looks wonderful. Some of the bills people are reporting seem high for this area, but then again, I never order drinks or starters or desserts. The actual price being reported for an entree seems fine. My mom is a "lady who lunches." I'll have to recommend this place to her.

                      1. W&M looks like a great option for the area. Over the years we have met up with my mother-in-law at the Back Burner. Which had gone from a favorite to a just "OK" sometimes. We found some items to have very questionable price/quality ratings. I do not find the prices at all out of line at W&M, even for Hockessin, De. Making a drive from Valley Forge it is nice to have a menu and venue of good quality. We look forward to making our own discoveries there. I believe I may be able to overlook the supercilious use of "Merry" after a nice dining experience, maybe!

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Bacchus101

                          A small adjustment/retraction if you will. After making some comparisons with other favorite places, many of more renowned ( not in the same area) ; the prices do seem to be on the high side at W&M. Of course that is without any accounting for quantity and quality. Yes a bit pricy by comparison, indeed!

                          1. re: Bacchus101

                            I'm not so sure its really that much different in cost. The prices are a little higher than RedFire, by a few bucks an entree, maybe. About the same as Back Burner if memory serves. To my eye W&M is in their general price level. Definitely cheaper than the Farmhouse or duPont which are a rung up in price.

                          2. re: Bacchus101

                            Just a note on the name-the restaurant is a venture of a husband and wife who's names are William and Merry...

                            1. re: David W

                              Thanks David, I thought I could be doing the old- foot- in- the- mouth routine after posting. So it is her parents we should be forgiving for the all to joyful spelling of her name. I yield on this one.

                              But in my comparisons to well known and well respected Philadelphia Restaurants the pricing is on the high side. I am sure one could find the exception. I look forward to paying a bit more if the quality follows. I am not sure that the published prices might not discourage some potential customers. But that too is a business strategy, isn't it!

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                What Philly restaurants are you referring to?

                                1. re: gfweb1

                                  Too many to list, even if I was inclined to, which I am not. Google any menu and you may find that a $26 gets you an entree and in most cases change at many if not most places. A $26 chicken entree at the low end and going up from there $28, $30. Entrees below are not available where most restaurants do offer lower priced choices. As I have not been to W&M I have no reference to quality and service or in fact venue, it looks nice enough. As noted by genevapics the area is starved for mid/high end options and as noted if all thing are executed the price point will fade and the area will have a successful restaurant. But it is now on the high side. Not sure why a few good items in the low 20's or high teens would not make it to the menu? Best wishes to William and Kate, ahh Merry. We look forward to our visit.

                                  1. re: Bacchus101

                                    I think I am ok with the prices at B&M assuming that the quality of the food is commensurate with what is being served (ie. not like the overpriced stuff at the Paupers a stone's throw away). If it's as good as say Sovana Bistro, it would be a good thing for Hockessin's (lack of) restaurant scene.

                                    1. re: bluehensfan

                                      I think that it is as good as Sovana. I didn't study W&Ms wine list though.

                                    2. re: Bacchus101

                                      Bacchus, you speak with great authority and much attitude, but I doubt that you would speak to someone face t o face using such a tone. Try to be nice.

                                      I dined at Sovana Bistro last night in Kennett. It was significantly more expensive than W&M, with several entrees over $30. One app was $18.

                                      1. re: gfweb1

                                        I was at Sovana Bistro the night before (Saturday) and had that $18 app. It's an antipasto, positively big enough to be shared by two (or even three). I've had it before as an entree, with a shared salad to start, and it makes for a satisfying (and delicious) meal. That said, a meal at Sovana Bistro can easily run $50 per person.

                            2. The October issue of Delaware Today has provided an interesting review of The House of William & Merry. After paging through 129 surgeons in 34 specialities the article provides a welcome uplifting(non-surgical) commentary. "Chefs Gone Wild" describes the adventure in store for those who choose this culinary exploration and also cautions that price are "aggressive" BUT worth it! I suppose that judgement will be for each guest. We have not gotten their but it is on our list.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                That's good news abut W&M. The only problem with Delaware Today's dining reviews is that they are equally as solicitious as the rest of their publication. In fact, I can't recall ever reading anything critical about any place they have ever reviewed.

                                1. re: bluehensfan

                                  Exactly correct! I have noticed the same regarding Delaware Today! It is more of an introduction than a critique . Their description of the prices being "aggressive" is an indication that they are being very kind with their words.

                              2. Reviewed this past weekend in the News Journal: http://blogs.delawareonline.com/secon...

                                I thought the review was pretty much right on. The place has a lot of promise, some missteps, but in general worth rooting for as a creative, high-end option.

                                1. My wife, sister-in-law and mother-in-law were at W&M for lunch yesterday. All thought that their
                                  food choices were excellent. The specific choices were Butternut and White Bean soups, Mushroom goat cheese flatbread, and a turkey club. Each item was consider tasty and of more
                                  than ample proportion. An old victorian home nicely redone with an open kitchen and an attractive bar. The only negative was that the service was painfully slow with only one server noticed. Perhaps a weekday lunch issue. The pricing was of no notice or concern as the lunch offerings seem to be priced appropriately and /or cost was trumped by the very good food and a pleasant experience. Good show, William and Merry!

                                  1. We did their Sunday dinner last night. $30 fixed price. Choice of three apps (ceasar salad, white bean soup, pork belly), three mains (rainbow trout, pasta, sirloin steak), and three desserts (apple tart, creme brulee, and I forget).

                                    A great bargain, plenty of food for $30, well -prepared and tasty.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: gfweb1

                                      Had a very good meal there tonight. An appetizer sampler (rabbit grillade, deviled egg, duck liver mousse, salumi, chicken cracklings...and something else) which was really good. Pork "steak" with chorizo dust and sweet potato puree was a huge serving and very tasty. Waiter erred on the chatty side, but was a good fellow.

                                      1. re: gfweb1

                                        gfweb1, you inspired me with that post. As soon as I read it, I marched right over to OpenTable and made a reservation for brunch today, which we just returned from. Really excellent, I am glad to say.

                                        The meal started with complimentary eclairs, which in addition to being topped with very rich chocolate were also filled with a chocolate-chunk cream. Wow. I wolfed down half of it before coming to the realization that perhaps I should save some stomach room for my entree. I had the biscuits and gravy, the name of which does not do justice to the very well-executed plate I received: two fluffy biscuits, a good-sized pile of seared strips of corned beef, two crispy-fried (yet "easy"-yolked) eggs, and a fine, light, well-seasoned gravy with shallots. I love biscuits and gravy but I too often sausage gravy comes out gluey, over-salted, and kind of overpowering; this was the polar opposite. Fabulous. My one quibble was that there should have been more gravy--the biscuits needed more to mop.

                                        Mr. travelmad478 had the bagel toasted with lox, gruyere, and pickled onions, plus a side of bacon. (We remarked on how this was an appropriate lead-in to Passover!) He was very pleased with all of that, and shared his very generous bowl of fruit salad with me. Between my food--which I ate every crumb of--the eclair, and the fruit salad, I don't think I need to eat again until tomorrow.

                                        With one coffee and one tea, the total bill came to $36: extremely reasonable, if you ask me, particularly considering the very high quality of the food. We really need to get to this place more often.

                                        W&M really should do more marketing and events. We were thinking how great it would be for them to do things like beer dinners and wine dinners; as far as I know, they haven't. We are big on this sort of thing, and would be thrilled to be able to drink a lot of beer and then walk home!

                                        1. re: travelmad478

                                          Note to self: make reservation for brunch at House of William and Merry (after Passover).

                                        2. re: gfweb1

                                          Great meal at W&M recently. Charcuterie sampler (salmon "pastrami", cappacola, pickled veg, duck liver mousse, pickled egg, deviled egg), pork tenderloin medallions, scallop "BLT" with five big scallops, bacon, tomato, aioli, and fried lettuce. Only the fried lettuce was less than perfect.