by Meg Ryan for Delaware Today

Finally, Tyler Akin can exhale a sigh of relief… sort of.

Le Cavalier at The Green Room, the French brasserie restaurant opening in Wilmington’s Hotel Du Pont, is set to open on Sept. 1 after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. The eatery, which will focus on lighter, brighter French food, won’t be cutting any corners with the interior redesign, and the menu will still reflect original intentions. The restaurant is a partnership between chef and partner Akin, PM Hotel Group and The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc..

While opening during Phase 2 of Delaware’s economic reopening plan does come with challenges of reduced capacity, socially distanced seating and mask requirements, getting to welcome customers inside is what Akin has been waiting for.

“The entire idea of an opening is a silver lining and a source of excitement for me,” he says. “This has been almost the last two years of my life, planning and thinking and doing to make this possible. I’m thrilled that we’re doing it, I feel confident in the measures we have in place.”

“Le Cavalier” (pronounced: luh-KAH-vuhl-YAY) honors the equestrian tradition in the Brandywine River Valley. When the hotel opened in the early 20th century, visitors would arrive by horse as often as they would by automobile or by foot. The eatery’s name also nods at the du Pont family’s history of horsemanship.

Akin’s opening menu draws influence from the South of France and North Africa. The summer seasonal menu offers riffs on French classics with an emphasis on Delaware’s foodways.

Dishes include the ​Steak Tartare ​(filet, preserved citrus, Calabrian chili, white endive, tzatziki), ​Poulet Frites​ (roasted half chicken, sauce meunière, olives) and ​Trout Amandine​ (almond, Tunisian eggplant, espelette). Side dishes focus on French classics including ​pomme purée, frites, haricots verts and ​salade verte.