WILMINGTON — The restaurateurs of a popular Castle Street eatery that opened in fall 2022 are expanding into another district on the outskirts of downtown one year later.
Corey and Phallin Scott have signed a two-year lease at the corner of Nixon and Fourth streets in the Brooklyn Arts District to expand their On Thyme brand. Formerly Chicken in the Box, the restaurant will focus on takeout brunch and be operational from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., likely six days a week.
“We are still working out whether we will open Sunday or Monday,” Corey Scott said Thursday morning. “We like to have time for our own lives, too.”
The Scotts landed on Brunch Thyme as the name of the space, which is roughly 1,000 square feet — ”800 of it is the kitchen,” according to Corey — and will have a few patio tables, but no interior dining.
“Eventually, we will want a bigger space,” Corey added, though the goal is to ease into operations to see how well Brunch Thyme is received.
The location came on his radar only two weeks ago. The Scotts said they weren’t really considering adding to their footprint, as the 918 Castle St. restaurant has kept them busy in its first year of operation. Many weekend nights, cars line the street as people pack the outdoor patio, often with live music playing.
“It was a bit of a shock,” Corey admitted.
They also run their On Thyme food trucks for large private events in addition to the brick-and-mortar.
“There were times we were so busy, I almost gave up,” he added. “But at the end of the day, we are blessed to have that support, and now that we know what to expect, we are going to be more prepared for next summer.”
Currently, he staffs more than a dozen employees at On Thyme and will add more in the spring as tourist season approaches. He plans to staff BAD’s restaurant with four full-timers working 40 hours a week.
He said the space spoke to him the first day he and Phallin walked in to scout it.
“A light bulb just popped up of what I wanted to do,” Corey said. “We went home and prayed over the weekend. I look at it, like, if God sends me bad signs, then that means I shouldn’t do it. But that didn’t happen, so we looked at the space a couple more times and it was just a go.”
Brunch Thyme is project he is looking forward to taking on; he and his wife travel a lot and have a love for breakfast-and-lunch eateries in other cities like Houston and Miami.
“They’re the first places we Google or TikTok or Instagram,” Corey said. “They’re always popular and have such a vibe.”
Some specials that have been featured at On Thyme — shrimp and grits, fish and grits, and chicken and waffles — will become permanent at Brunch Thyme. They plan to have three versions of chicken and waffles: traditional, served with fried chicken wings on top of fresh-battered waffles with syrup, or topped with peach cobbler or strawberries and champagne.
The popular Philly egg rolls served at On Thyme are being reinvented as a breakfast item to serve across town. Corey has been testing bacon, eggs, cheese and potatoes in one version.
“It was really, really good,” he said. “But I love anything with eggs.”
The menu will stick to Southern comfort food and consist of around 15 items, also to include lunch — such as wings or fried shrimp and fries.
“But we’re trying to keep the menus totally different,” he said.
Though the restaurants are positioned on the southside and northside of the downtown region, they’re also only 2 miles apart. Corey said he isn’t worried about competing against himself.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he said. “My wife is an almost five-year cancer survivor, so after seeing her go through that transition, we have a very different outlook on life and are just grateful for all of the opportunities we receive.”
Corey hopes to have Brunch Thyme open within 60 days and has already ordered new equipment for the space; little renovation needs to be done. The plan is to keep its “cool, funky look,” with white, yellow and black making up the color palette — it’s more homey and relaxed than Castle Street’s On Thyme, he explained.
Brunch Thyme will be located at 1124 N. Fourth St. next door to Sugar Shack nightclub and adjacent to the Belle Vue Wilmington events space. It will join a handful of other restaurants in the district, including three10, Don Luca Pizzeria, Kitchen Sink, Angus Grill, The Jelly Cabinet, Boombalatti’s and the soon-to-be-opened Commodore Public House and Kitchen.
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