About The Southern Grille of Ellendale
No one leaves hungry.
The landmark restaurant, originally opened in the 1980's, was brought back to Ellendale in 2011 by Chef Ronald White, a chef for over 36 years. The restaurant serves large portions described as “southern country comfort food.”
The locals love our dumplings, prime rib, flounder, cream of crab soup, lima’s and dumplings, candied yams, sweet potato soufflé, macaroni and cheese to list just a few… and we have fresh rolls and desserts daily.
Locally sourced Muskrat is a very popular dish. After The Wagon Wheel Family Restaurant in Smyrna closed in 2014, the characteristically Delawarean dish all but disappeared from the central part of the state.
They were served them for years in Smyrna at The Wagon Wheel, but since they closed down we’re one of the few, if not the only, restaurant that serves them here.
Wednesday nights are muskrat nights — or marsh rabbits as they’re sometimes charitably called — at the Ellendale & Dover locations during season, which runs from late November thru March. Chef White says that although not all patrons brave the taste-test, they’re actually a “big seller.” The Chef has done them boiled, fried or barbecued — head on or head off and served with gravy. If they’re cooked right, they’re really good. You have to cook them well enough to get the gamey flavor up out of them.
It’s fitting the dish is popular with local as lawmakers have risen to the defense of the right to continue hunting and eating the semi-aquatic rodent on a number of occasions in the past.
Eating muskrat really is a Delaware tradition, they’ve tried to stop it a few times over the years — mostly because it wasn’t USDA inspected — but politicians kicked up a storm each time and we’ve been able to keep it. It’s actually some of the only wild game we’re allowed to serve in a restaurant so it’s pretty unique.