The year is 1737. Not even a mile from the bank of White Clay Creek a group of Scots-Irish, Welsh, and English settlers have recently formed a hamlet along two old Lenni Lenape Indian trails. While most of these early colonial settlers were making a living off of fur trade and agriculture, one man saw opportunity elsewhere. Ebenezer Howell constructed a one story, log building and named it the Three Hearts Tavern. Its location is where Klondike Kate’s stands today, and from 1737-1880 it passed through the hands of many owners, changing names several times, and entertaining many patrons. One notable historian described it as “the rough looking, long, low-porched Newark Hotel.”
In 1880 the Newark Hotel Co. purchased the property and demolished the old log structure. In its place they constructed the three story building you see today. In the basement two jail cells were built. The Newark police paid the owners $10 a year to use them as “lock-up” for drunkards and disorderly citizens. The 3 floors were mainly used for civic and community organizations, and as the post office, until 1900 when Leonard “Pop” Lovett purchased the building. Pop placed a pool hall, courtroom, and barbershop on the first floor, a skating rink on the second floor, and Newark’s second movie theater, called Hanark Theater, on the third floor.
Following Pop’s death in 1922 the building was used for many purposes, including a flower shop, a horse harness shop, an auto parts store, and a barber shop. Prior to becoming Klondike Kate’s it was a gas station with pumps right out front. In 1979 the building was converted into a saloon and named Klondike Kate’s. In 1992 a fire gutted the second and third floors and consequently the building closed for many months. During repair the owners built the upstairs bar that you see today. The bar itself, along with most of the décor, is from the old Wilmington Railroad Station.
In 2005, several businessmen led by Alan Burkhard purchased Klondike Kate’s and created Delaware Hospitality, a group dedicated to providing service above and beyond what other restaurants had to offer.
After nearly 11 years as owners, Alan and his partners agreed to sell Klondike Kate's to Gianmarco Martuscelli and his wife Gilda in late 2016. They are part of the Martuscelli Restaurant Group that owns the Chesapeake Inn Restaurant & Marina (www.chesapeakeinn.com) & Ship Watch Inn Bed & Breakfast (www.shipwatchinn.com) in Chesapeake City Maryland. La Casa Pasta Restaurant and it's authentic italian cuisine (www.lacasapasta.com) in Newark Delaware since 1978 is also apart of their team.
By adding the iconic Klondike Kate's location to their group has helped round out their portfolio. Kate's is the perfect fit in many ways and by adding them to their the group has allowed gift cards from all locations to be shared and used as well as their very popular frequent dining program to expand to include Kate's as well.
After 270 years of entertaining people and serving the community, we hope that you feel the history when you walk through Kate's doors. Not just the history of a building, but the history of generations of all sorts of people that have enjoyed a meal and an ale in what was once just a log building in a small hamlet along an old Indian trail.