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Brunch: One of the four basic food groups!

June 23, 2017

A great way to detox after a hard weekend on the beach and in the bars is with a stick-to-your-ribs brunch. Breakfast at the beach might be good, but brunch is even more effective at picking up where dinner left off. Add a mimosa, a bloody mary or a white sangria, and Sundays (or maybe even Saturdays) never had it so good. 

When Nage became Fork + Flask @ Nage, they capitalized on their popular Sunday brunch by adding Saturday to the schedule. And the new small plates menu provides something for everyone as we slog through the all-day process of waking up. Downtown Rehoboth brunch at Blue Moon is legendary, of course. Co-owner and Chef Lion Gardner gets playful on Sunday mornings (probably PTSD from Friday and Saturday night onslaughts), so you never know what you might find on the menu. Speaking of legendary, no discussion of brunch is complete without mention of the Back Porch Café. Now entering their 43rd summer, the Back Porch Café’s Sunday morning feast is as close to perfect as it can be. Start with the scones. Trust me. 

Another quiet spot for Sunday brunch is the diminutive but delicious Palate, tucked away near the Safeway on Coastal Highway. Longtime chefs Gary and Lorraine Papp offer brunch in the off-season only, so you’ll have to wait a couple of months for a redux. But it’s worth the wait! 

Morning takes on a south-of-the-border kick at Yolanda Pineda’s Mariachi restaurant. Spice up your Saturday and Sunday just steps from the water with chorizo Benedict, Yolanda’s handmade pupusas and darkly sweet fried plantains. Mariachi braves the ocean breezes to roll out weekend brunches year-round. 

The Dogfish Head food gurus don’t make a big deal about the Saturday brunch at Chesapeake & Maine, but it’s a winner nonetheless. The special menu includes Doggies Yeast Sticky Buns, a salmon BLT with Sriracha mayo and a cute Breakfast Sammy sporting over-easy eggs, Burton Baton-infused bacon jam and asiago. There’s also the bacon and egg waffle and the signature Chesapeake Benedict nestled up to an Old Bay potato cake. That’s not all, of course, but that should be enough to get you in there. 

Relatively new kid in town Blackwall Hitch (on the ocean block of The Avenue in Rehoboth) dishes up a classy Sunday buffet just steps from the Atlantic. A long line of chafing dishes proffer the standard breakfast fare, but things get exciting when you stumble on the fried chicken and waffles. Chef Chip’s fried chicken is quite good, and when the syrup from the waffles happens to splash over onto that crisp and salty crust, well ... excuse me, I need to be alone for a moment. 

You’ve probably noticed that the Fins Hospitality Group has been quietly adding to its list of eateries. One of the most popular is the Fins Ale House & Raw Bar on Coastal Highway, and apparently their Sunday brunch is a best-kept secret too. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and features raw bar favorites and Fins’ own seafood items alongside the breakfast goodies. Fins boss Jeff Hamer washes his down with a Big Oyster Stout (dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel - breakfast in a pint glass!). 

Lovers of big, generous buffets will go ballistic at Bethany Blues’ BBQ Brunch. Action stations for waffles and omelets operate alongside your favorite appetizers (like their Pigs on the Wing and regular wings!). There’s fresh fruit, bottomless salads and a colorful selection for kids. Slightly larger kids can enjoy bottomless mimosas. 

Breakfast at Café Azafrán Rehoboth actually got its start in Lewes, and lo and behold, it’s now back in Lewes. Olive & Oats by Azafrán just opened in the old Half Full/Patty’s Carryout spot right next door to Café Azafrán’s original Lewes location. And all the early-in-the-day favorites are back. Boss Richard Steele is very excited to finally return to early-morning Lewes. 

Big Fish Restaurant Group is incapable of doing anything part way. Sundays at Big Fish Grill include seafood and veggie frittatas, Milton Sausage from our friends at Kirby & Holloway (it’s delicious, by the way), beef, prime rib, tuna, salmon, muffins, chicken, salads, oysters, clams ... have I made my point? And the price is surprisingly moderate. 

Slightly west of the beach, Baywood Greens (now under the watchful eye of SoDel Concepts) is up and running on Sunday mornings with great views of the manicured links. Longtime Chef Tom Deptula loves to put his mark on these sorts of events, and depending on when you go, there’s always something special on the brunch menu. Hint: If it says “short rib,” get it. 

As I write this, I can’t help but think about the late ‘60s and early ‘70s when my fellow musicians and I ventured north to Rehoboth (in a VW bus - really!) from Ocean City after a busy weekend rockin’ Jack and June Fisher’s sadly long-gone Hideaway Lounge at 22nd Street and the boardwalk. Back then, few lights flickered on The Avenue: Grotto, Pappy’s Pizza and the Robin Hood were pretty much it. Those days are gone, and better days are here: Rehoboth sparkles year-round - especially on Sunday (and sometimes Saturday) mornings when there’s something waiting for everyone.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.

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