We Have a Winner!
The new Prost Biergarten has all the makings to become a long-lasting bar and eatery in Downtown Wilmington.
The building at 115 S. Front Street in Historic Downtown Wilmington has been through many iterations. From a popular ’90s bar called Mickey Ratz to a fine dining spot called Aubriana’s to a jazz piano bar called Tails, the space has hosted its share of businesses.
But its latest iteration — Prost Biergarten — may finally be the one that takes permanent root. With a magnificent beer menu, and food that is well prepared, satisfying and filling, Prost, open just a couple of months, is already making great impressions with guests.
Before we go any further, a quick word to the wise: The parking lot adjacent to the building is NOT a municipal lot. It’s privately owned, and while it’s exceptionally convenient, it’s also extraordinarily expensive. $8 an hour is exorbitant, especially when there are street spots that can accommodate your car for just $2 an hour.
That’s why, after initially pulling into the private lot with my Harley, I quickly exited and parked directly across the street. $8 could buy me a La Chouffe at Prost, for goodness’ sake. But that was just the first of many wonderful moves, which are not always part of the restaurant visit equation when I do them.
The second move — and a winner it was — was walking into the front of Prost to be greeted by a cheery bundle of sunshine called Kyleigh behind the bar. Combine an affable demeanor with open friendliness and classic beauty, and you get Kyleigh. The NY transplant, who also plies her craft at the Brunswick Beer and Cider in Leland, is perfectly suited for the job.
It being just after 11 am with few customers to tend to, we struck up a great conversation about Prost, its mission and its owners. Turns out, that’s Justin and Bekah Smith, who also own Husk and YoSake, popular spots elsewhere in the city.
“They’re very open to suggestions,” Kayleigh said. “If something’s not working on the menu they’ll axe it. Conversely, if they get feedback asking for something different, they’ll take the plunge. They pay attention.”
The inside area of Prost is quite inviting, and it seats about 40 plus.
Two biergarten-style tables off to the right can accommodate 10 to 15 customers each, and the table seating can accommodate the rest. Then there’s the outdoors biergarten, which can seat between 50 and 60. It’s covered, too, so inclement weather can’t ruin a fun time.
The draft beer list is rather basic and representative of local Wilmington breweries. Only one beer is more potent than 5+% — and that’s a staple called Tropical Lightning. On my visit, there was a dopplebock from Waterline as well. But the bottle and can list on the back of the menu sports some truly wonderful offerings, including the aforementioned LaChouffe.
And speaking of wonderful offerings, the food menu will definitely not disappoint. Kyleigh shared that the Beef Stroganoff (available after 5 pm) is to die for, but she also had extremely high praise for the Spaetzle Mac and Cheese, the Shrimp and Spaetzle and the Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich.
She also said the ReisenBrezel (2 Large Pretzels, House Cheese Sauce, Beer Mustard) “absolutely FLIES out of here.” After having it with my cousins for lunch, I can attest to having become a pilot (which, ironically, my cousin Amy actually is). I’d get that ReisenBrezel again in a heartbeat.
The house cheese sauce is out of this world, and the beer mustard is incredible.
Just a word of warning: If you get it as an appetizer, you may not have any room left for an entree. (Happens to me ALL the time, when the house bread is really good.) The Potato Pancakes and the Crispy Brussels Sprouts were a big hit at our table as well.
The service was effective and efficient, but since Kyleigh was my server, I anticipated it would be. Her assistants, however, were equally good.
In sum, I believe Prost, which sits directly across from Barbary Coast (the oldest bar in ILM), will be a hit in the southern section of this historic city for a long time to come. Good food, good beer and good service make for popularity and longevity.
Just mind where you park. That money could be put to better uses — in Prost.
Want to go?
115 S. Front Street, Wilmington