Josh Dalton intends to put the egg whites back into classic cocktails this June, when he plans to open a pre-prohibition themed bar in downtown Delaware.
Vino Veritas Tavern is to move into 15 E. Winter St., a few paces from 1808 American Bistro, which Dalton also oversees. He said the success of the 1808 establishment motivated him to open another restaurant in the downtown area.
Vino Veritas Tavern is meant to open guests’ palates with exotic appetizers, and to open their minds with new drinks.
The name itself originates from the Latin phrase, “in vino veritas,” meaning, “in wine, there is truth.”
“Hopefully people will get just inebriated enough to start speaking the truth,” Dalton said with a chuckle.
Not too inebriated, though. The tavern is expected to be an upscale, close-quartered alternative to rowdy drinking establishments, Dalton said. The space is large enough for about 40 people, with 20 sitting at tables and another 18 at the bar.
He hopes to create in Vino Veritas a place where people can get a taste of what classic cocktails used to be before the age of pre-mixed concoctions and store-bought flavorings.
“I think a lot of people forget about the old, classic cocktails and the old way of doing them,” Dalton said. “The cocktails over there (at Vino Veritas) will take longer and a lot more thought will go into them.”
In addition to wine, the tavern will also feature craft beers in 22-ounce “bombers” and cans, a selection of liquors and homemade sodas and syrups.
The menu of small plates will feature as much locally raised meats and produce as possible, with articles continuously rotating depending on the season.
“Whatever we can get in fresh, we’ll just make dishes up with that,” Dalton said.
From his experience at 1808, Dalton learned that Delaware’s drinkers and diners are more culinarily curious than one might suspect.
“I think we’ve done a good job of bringing eclectic things to the town with our (1808’s) draft system of 48 craft beers,” Dalton said. “A lot of people thought I was crazy, but it’s definitely worked out in our favor.”
He said he expects his pre-prohibition theme will be a hit, introducing locals to the “forgotten art” of mixology. Specifically, Dalton wants to bring back older types of bitters and create his own juice fusions. He also wants to revive the method of using egg whites to create frothier drinks. (The method, by the way, changes the texture more than the flavor.)
Dalton said he hopes to open the restaurant around his birthday, June 14.
“I told myself years and years ago that I would have my own restaurant by 30,” he said. “So that’s my crunch date.”
His plan is to serve food from 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, until midnight Thursdays and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar may be open as late as 2 a.m., depending on the level of business, Dalton said.
The tavern’s East Winter Street address was the former location of the Chelley Belly sandwich and soup shop before it relocated to Sandusky Street in January.
Dalton said he had been thinking about starting his own restaurant for about a decade, and jumped at the opportunity to establish one so close to 1808.
If all goes as hoped, Vino Veritas will be the first of Dalton’s many restaurants, he said.