In this episode of Coastal Cuisine, host Michael Sprouse visits one of his favorite spots in downtown Lewes, Delaware for gourmet pizza, delicious wine and craft beer. Michael joins Half Full co-owner and Executive Chef Ian Crandall and General Manager Stacy Fitzgerald for a cozy look at the popular eatery and some insight into their signature pizzas and specialty wines.
Half Full relocated to their “new” larger location just about two years ago and the warm, welcoming vibe that was such a staple of the previous locale has mellowed beautifully into their location at 125 Second Street in the heart of the historic section of downtown, Lewes.
During our shoot for Coastal Cuisine, the much beloved restaurant was full of patrons so dedicated to their superb, gourmet pizza, that they had braved the promised coming onslaught of a winter Nor’easter. Of course, the steady Wednesday night special of free pizza with the order of a bottle wine may have helped those in the know to brave the gathering snow clouds on a cold, January night.
Wine at Half Full is another one of the main attractions sharing the stage with their famous, foodie focused pizza. General Manager Stacy Fitzpatrick knows her wine well and forms her wine purchasing decisions based on several factors that she has fine-tuned over the course of her career. During our interview, she remained low-key and charmingly casual about her skill with comments such as, “in general, pizza and wine are just two things that just go so well together” and that her goal is to “just give people new and different things to try.”
And while all that is true, it’s easy to tell that there is more to Stacy’s selection process. New wines come to Half Full almost weekly according to co-owner and Executive Chef Ian Crandall who was quick to mention that Stacy has “a fantastic palate” which has clearly been put to great use.
There is also a wide variety of craft beers in bottle and on draft (which rotate frequently) plus, host Michael Sprouse reported that it was the first time that he had ever come across a cocktail on draft! In this case, it was a Copper And Kings Brandy Old Fashioned. And for those less adventurous, there is also wine available on draft.
Outside of the realm of wine, beer and spirits, Half Full has also been busy creating and introducing salads and soups to the menu. During our session, Ian suggested his “Tough Guy Salad” which is a glorious tossed mix of raw brussels sprouts, kale, red cabbage, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon and blue cheese dressing. This is a hefty, pungent, crunchy and very tasty salad and Ian mentioned that it had quickly become the most popular salad on the menu after it was introduced.
After a few bites, Sprouse was hooked and he stated that he felt like he “could probably head off into the woods and build a log cabin overnight” after eating the hearty portion. In fact, he ordered one to take home – a testament to how good the salad is – as to whether he managed to build a log cabin overnight, well, that remains to be seen.
And finally, the pizza! Most regulars that frequent Half Full have their treasured favorites but Ian frequently introduces new flavor combos that will tempt even the most stubborn of pizza stoics. While Sprouse’s favorite has been the “Midnight Moon” (a mouthwatering mix of Midnight Moon firm aged goat cheese, ricotta blended with oregano, thyme & parsley, red onion, crushed red pepper and grana Padano) Ian presented the “Lobster And Leek” and the “Saltimbocca” (a super-aromatic blend of prosciutto, local pork Italian sausage, fresh sage, capers and roasted tomato sauce) – both of which were superbly delicious.
Half Full is open year-round and their specials stick around yearly too. If you’ve not been in a while, warm yourself and a friend up at the cozy, glowingly lit, eatery with the intoxicating aroma. And when the weather turns for the better in a few months, don’t forget that outdoor seating is available then as well. For more on Half Full, visit them online at www.halffulllewes.com.
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Coastal Cuisine is hosted and Executive Produced by Michael Sprouse and appears every Friday evening during the Live At 5 and 11 PM newscasts and again on Saturday morning during the NBC TODAY show on WRDE NBC CoastTV (www.WRDE.com)
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