With an ambiance like the iconic pubs of New York, Philly and Boston, Fox’s Hole in the Wall in Wilmington is a friendly place to grab a beer and a burger.
I got lucky and found a parking spot for my Harley right across from a new pub on 2nd and Princess in ILM called Hole in the Wall. It was a beautiful spring day (and a great day to perambulate on two wheels), and the pub’s door was open and inviting. As I walked in from the brightness of the 1 pm sun, my eyes adjusted to the darker interior enough to see the barman, who greeted me.
Something about him looked familiar, and, dressed in my biker gear, I handed him my card so he could differentiate between myself and Jax Teller of Sons of Anarchy fame. I probably did not have to, as only a bloke pretty well “in his cups” would have mixed us up. Besides, I ride with the Sons of Ibuprofen.
“I know you,” he said.
“And I know you, “ I replied. “I met you while you were tending bar at New Anthem a few years ago. I was doing a story on the place.”
“That’s right!” he said. “I knew you looked familiar.”
And so, Rob the barman (and manager) and I had broken the ice and renewed our acquaintance. I had questions about the Hole in the Wall, and he had all the answers.
For starters, the pub has only been open a little more than a month.
“How’s business?” I inquired.
“Pretty good,” he responded, “especially considering we haven’t even had an official grand opening yet. We’re getting lots of business on the weekends and a steady stream of customers during the day.”
As you might expect, The Hole in the Wall isn’t a capacious area. In fact, it reminded me a lot of The Cork and Fork on Market — comfortable and cozy but not so small that you’d have to go outside to change your mind.
But it is certainly smaller than its sister pub, Rebellion, on Front Street, which I have reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed. Both places are veteran-owned by Wes, who was in the Navy; “Pops,” also a veteran; and John, whose middle name is Fox and who worked for ATF before becoming an owner/entrepreneur.
Hole in the Wall sports 19 beers, with three available on draft.
I had one of those — an old reliable Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, with the burger Rob suggested for me. Dubbed the “Smashburger,” it was absolutely phenomenal, every bit as good as those at that place down in Carolina Beach that earned a “4th-Best on the East Coast” from some famous Burger Meisters magazine.
Rob handed me a small pile of napkins before the burger arrived, so many, in fact, I thought it was overkill. But trust me, this burger is so good, so well prepared, and so stinking juicy, you’re going to need every last one. Especially if, like yours truly, neatness while eating is not your forte.
There’s a nice patio out back for those who might want to enjoy their meals and brews outdoors in good weather.
But to me it defeats the purpose of eating in a place called the Hole in the Wall, which by the way, the owners actually found when doing some renovations.
The place was originally called Crust and it offered a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. Wes, Pops and John tried to make a go of that business, but it really didn’t fit their vision of what they wanted. And Fox’s Hole in the Wall was born. And unique it is in many ways. Not every pub has a portrait of the Most Interesting Man in the World, either.
And the smart money says it will be here for some time. With good food, a nice beer and drink list, an ambiance like the iconic pubs of New York, Philadelphia and Boston and a friendly atmosphere, Hole in the Wall has great appeal to guys like me.
And hopefully to guys and gals like you.
If you go, ask for Rob and tell him The PubScout sent you.
Want to go?
Fox’s Hole in the Wall
124 Princess Street, Wilmington