In the early 1970's the Village of Hockessin was primarily a farming community. Seeing the potential, Dan Lickle purchased the old Hockessin supply company which sold hardware, grain and coal. The railroad tracks behind the building carried the coal cars which were winched up to the second floor where they then dumped the coal into the bins below. In 1977, Dan's wife Missy opened a small gift shop in two sections of the six bay coal bins. In 1980 Dan and Missy opened the Back Burner Restaurant: realizing that if people were going to travel to Hockessin to shop they needed a place to eat. When the restaurant opened it started it served lunches three days a week and conducted cooking classes two days. The lunches and cooking classes quickly became a local favorite. Chef Hebba Lund's menu consisted of American cuisine with a Scandinavian flair. The open kitchen and mirrored ceiling allowed the guests to observe the preparation and cooking.
In 1982, the Back Burner discontinued the cooking classes and began serving dinner. In 1990, The Back Burner was the first in the state to become completely smoke free. Most guests were happy with this decision. However, we continued to have one guest who kept his "hot" pipe in his vest pocket ready for puffing at any time. As a frequent guest the wait staff overlooked the occasional cloud of smoke surrounding his table.
In 2000, the restaurant moved to its present location. The kitchen although not open, features windows for the guests to view the cooking of their food. The tavern has seating for 22 at tables and another 8 at the bar. The main dining room features both square and round tables, banquettes, and a few booths. The fireplace room has seating for 16 at individual tables and a cocktail area by the fire or can accommodate up to 26 for private dining.
Now more than 31 years later, The Back Burner is still a local favorite. People travel to the restaurant just to have the famous Pumpkin Mushroom Soup and Mideast Flatbread. While the menu changes frequently it has taken a new approach to food while keeping the old favorites.