When you walk down Market Street, you can’t help but notice the change. There’s life on Market—in the form of apartments, restaurants and shops. The sidewalks are filled, and so are the seats of Bardea Food & Drink, located on the corner of 7th and Market Streets. Owned and operated by restaurant veteran Scott Stein and Executive Chef Antimo DiMeo, Bardea has been a project five years in the making, and now with a James Beard nomination under their belt, it’s been worth the wait.
Both Scott and Antimo have a family history in the restaurant industry. Scott is a fourth-generation restaurant owner, and Antimo grew up working in his family’s restaurants, and eventually, in the kitchen of a Michelin starred chef in Spain. Bardea is known for their modern takes on traditional Italian fare with locally sourced ingredients.
Their journey to Downtown Wilmington has been extremely fulfilling. “Bardea represents a lot of things. Downtown Wilmington is going through this renaissance right now—it’s on fire,” says Scott Stein, with a quiet enthusiasm. “There’s so much great commerce, great art, great business down here. It deserves a restaurant of this quality and greatness.” Chef Antimo agrees, with a hope that they can continue to add to the revitalization and support the City of Wilmington.
Funding a restaurant is no easy task, and both Chef Antimo and Scott knew that traditional banks were not going to be up for the challenge. They are grateful for the support of True Access Capital and the Corridor Revitalization Fund, which gave them the funding and support they needed to get Bardea to the finish line and open for business. “They were a big part of why we were able to open a restaurant here,” Antimo notes. “True Access Capital was really accommodating and helpful. They wanted this to work and wanted us to get the funding and make sure we were part of the Downtown resurgence.”
Scott notes that being properly funded is the key to a successful restaurant, and with the help of True Access Capital, Scott and Antimo were able to not only receive the Community Revitalization Fund award, but also an SBA Community Advantage loan. “When you meet them, and they actually explain the process, it’s much easier, and I felt that connection with them,” he says. “They allow for growth and allow you to reach your dreams and goals,” adds Antimo.
As for the future of Bardea in Downtown Wilmington?
“We haven’t even scratched the surface,” says Scott. “We’ll be keeping in contact with True Access Capital every step of the way.”
Funded by JP Morgan Chase and launched in 2016, the Corridor Revitalization Fund offers forgivable loans to entrepreneurs, landlords, and developers that are located in Wilmington’s Downtown Business District. Eligible program uses include site acquisition, construction/renovation, working capital, inventory, furniture & fixtures, and other business purposes.