Chef Robert Lhulier is leaving Snuff Mill. Jason Heyes photo.

Chef Lhulier leaving Snuff Mill, seeks to open new eatery

Ken MammarellaCulture, Headlines

Chef Robert Lhulier is leaving Snuff Mill. Jason Heyes photo.

Chef Robert Lhulier is leaving Snuff Mill. Jason Heyes photo.

Chef Robert Lhulier is leaving Snuff Mill Restaurant, Butchery & Wine Bar, the Brandywine Hundred establishment that Delaware Today said in 2022 is “staking its claim as Delaware’s hottest new eatery.”

He is looking for space for a restaurant that he can run, ideally in northern Delaware. “Creatives need to create,” said Lhulier, who majored in art at the University of Delaware.

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“There is a large population of sophisticated diners in this area who support independent restaurants. We witnessed the demand at Snuff Mill, and people want more options.

“I was a minority partner at Snuff Mill, and that was fine. I learned so much and forged strong friendships. Now it’s time to move to the next step.”

Lhulier, Bill Irvin and David and Joanne Govatos opened Snuff Mill in 2021, and the steak-centric restaurant was a hit from the start.

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“Our guests appreciated the high-quality ingredients, the service and the attention to detail,” he said. “They trusted us to deliver on our promises.”

The Govatoses left the restaurant in 2022 to concentrate on Swigg, their boutique wine store across the Independence Mall parking lot from Snuff Mill.

Lhulier’s experience beyond Snuff Mill

Lhulier, a 57-year-old Delaware native, has cooked in multiple restaurants, with one of his first jobs after college at Air Transport Command near the New Castle airport, “a kitschy concept built around a World War II theme,” Out & About reported.

He later worked in places with finer cuisine, such as The Green Room in the Hotel du Pont and Piccolina Toscana in Trolley Square. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he was the opening chef of Deep Blue Bar & Grill in downtown Wilmington.

Lhulier has overseen the kitchens at Harry’s Savoy Grill in North Wilmington, the University & Whist Club in Wilmington and Union City Grille in Little Italy. He also owned The Chef’s Table in Old New Castle.

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And he was known for pop-up dinners that often had a theme.

The opportunity to open Snuff Mill was tempting enough for him to close his catering business, he said.

He maintains a djjazzychef page on Instagram that combines food and fun.

His last official day at Snuff Mill is April 4.

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