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New Owners Announced For South Front Street Restaurant

By Staff Reports, posted May 23, 2022
Little Dipper Fondue, 138 S. Front St., is under new ownership. (File photo)
A longtime downtown Wilmington restaurant has new owners, according to an announcement Monday.

Rachel and Jason McGhinnis recently purchased Little Dipper Fondue, 138 South Front St., from co-founders Pete and Kristen Gruodis, who have operated the downtown eatery since 2005.

The Groudises decided to sell the business because they wanted to spend more time with their young children, a news release stated. The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

"It was important to them to keep the impending sale confidential until they were sure that the restaurant they had poured so much of themselves into would remain in good hands," according to the release by MoMentum Companies, the firm that brokered the sale. "Buyers Rachel and Jason McGhinnis fit the bill."

Kristen Gruodis said the sale was a bittersweet moment for the couple.

“Building a business for 17 years involved a great combination of hard work, dedication, fun, close relationships and so much more. We like to say it was a lot like raising a child who’s now ready to go off on their own. While we focus on our young family at home, we are excited to turn the business over to a great couple, Rachel and Jason, who we believe will do a good job growing our original concept, but also add their fresh new take," Kristen Gruodis said in the release.

"We are so very thankful to our team members over the years who have helped make this business possible and really want to stress our pure gratitude to all of our wonderful customers who have supported us as owners and the restaurant itself."

Rachel McGhinnis said in the release that she and Jason are ready to take the restaurant to the next level, building on the foundation the founders created. “We aspire to be the place people think about when they want to celebrate, or when they're looking for a unique dining experience," she said.

Located in a historical building established in 1937, Little Dipper Fondue features three-course fondue meals, including a cheese fondue appetizer for the table to share, salads or soups, entrees to be cooked at the table and chocolate fondue. According to the release, the eatery emphasizes premium meats, fresh seafood, vegetables and homemade sauces for dipping. 

Joan Loch, MoMentum’s broker representing the sellers, said in the release, “I’m happy that both couples will move forward in their journeys, and downtown keeps a favorite restaurant.”
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