New upscale dining restaurant and a gastropub to open within months.

Two new restaurants are due to open in downtown Middletown this fall and early next year, and nearby restaurant owners say the new attractions should be good for their businesses, too.

Metro Pub & Grill

The first restaurant coming to Middletown is Metro Pub & Grill on Wood Street, off West Main Street. The RH Hospitality Group, which owns the restaurant, expects to have it open by the end of October.

Metro Pub & Grill will occupy the building which was once the Shone Lumber Showroom. The facility is undergoing major modifications of its 4,267 square foot interior to accommodate the dining and bar areas, as well as the kitchen.

The restaurant will also feature a 5,590-square-foot outdoor seating area which will be enclosed with sliding glass doors and windows so that diners can enjoy their meals there year-round.

According to co-owner and Chef Patrick D’Amico, of Middletown, Metro Pub & Grill will be a gastropub, meaning that it will be a restaurant that falls between a pub and a fine dining eatery. The menu items will pair well with any of the 15-plus craft beers that will be served on tap, as well with selected wines, and signature cocktails.

D’Amico, who has worked as the chef at Wilmington’s Positano Restaurant, as well as at Eclipse, Hotel du Pont, and most recently at the Harry’s Savoy Grill and Ballroom, will bring over 30 years of culinary experience to the restaurant.

“I am very excited to be a part of opening Metro Pub & Grill. It will give residents another dining option to stay in Middletown, instead of traveling north or south out of the area,” D’Amico said.

The menu at Metro Pub & Grill will feature items such as as “East & West Coast Oysters on the Half Shell,” “Angus Beef Tartare with rosemary crostini, quail egg yolk and traditional seasonings,” “Spiced Bacon Caramel Corn with bacon, popcorn, peanuts and spicy caramel,” “Shrimp Fritters served with remoulade sauce,” and “Whole Duck Wings with Hawaiian barbeque sauce.”

The restaurant at the bank

D’Amico will also be the executive chef at the fine dining restaurant that will occupy the old Delaware Trust building on the northwest corner of Broad and Main Streets.

In partnership with Rick Clark of Clark Construction, D’Amico hopes that the new restaurant at the old bank will fill Middletown’s need for an elegant eatery where residents can celebrate special occasions and enjoy upscale dining.

D’Amico said that he, Clark, and restaurant general manager Adam Cofield are still toying around with the name for the upscale eatery, but have already made it a goal to have the restaurant open by January.

The restaurant will feature a main dining area, a full bar, and a rooftop lounge, D’Amico said.

The RH Hospitality Group is already also planning to open a third restaurant on West Main Street, but D’Amico declined to provide more details.

Bringing more business downtown

For Tony Immediato of Immediato’s Bistro on Main Street, which has been in Middletown for 10 years, having more restaurants in the historic downtown has the potential for bringing more foot traffic to the area thus giving more people the chance to come across his restaurant and also give it a try.

“I’m all about more restaurants. The more the merrier,” Immediato said. “For the longest time, I had one of the only restaurants downtown and the Everett was the only place that drove people here besides my restaurant. Now you have the pub on the corner – people eat there, and people come to eat at my bistro, too. It’s a great thing.”

Like Immediato, Chuck Sullivan, owner of Sully’s Irish Pub at the Witherspoon, agrees that having more places to eat downtown will be good for his business as well.

“What I do is a very different situation. I own the pub in the corner of town, so the more business that comes to this area and know that we’re here the better my business will be. So, by having another restaurant across the street from me, it can only help me,” Sullivan said. “If the concept was identical – if it was another Irish pub – I wouldn’t be nearly as [excited], but I still wouldn’t be pessimistic.”

Sullivan added that already his pub is offering new menu items that diners visiting the new gastropub and the new upscale restaurant may be interested in trying out. Sullivan recently hired the former executive chef of the Grill at Back Creek to upgrade Sully’s menu.

“We have amazing food – menu items that can be compared to the type you would find at the Hotel du Pont,” Sullivan said.

For his part Immediato also has his own plans for upgrading some of his bistro’s offerings. He is working on changing the beer selection to include more craft beer and continue the tradition of bringing to the table fresh, local ingredients for his menu creations.

Middletown’s population has grown enough to support current and new eateries D’Amico and Cofield said. There is excitement in the air that the town’s restaurant landscape will become one of the most vibrant in the state pretty soon.

“I absolutely think the population will be able to support all the eateries in town. Not only is Middletown growing, I also think the concepts and menus of Metro and The Bank will actually attract diners from outside of Middletown, creating greater awareness regarding the other restaurants and small businesses in the area,” Cofield said.