Fast/casual dining: Not just for the vacationers!

September 29, 2017

Occasionally my schedule only allows me a very short time in which to indulge in a great breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fortunately, there are a number of local spots - often referred to as "fast/casual" in the business - where you can be pretty sure that they will deliver exactly what they promise to deliver - consistently, time after time. Case in point: You can be sure of two things at our Rehoboth Beach Panera Bread: (1) There will always be a line inside, and (2) you can wait in line in your car. Our Panera is one of the few with a drive-through.

Directly across Coastal Highway is the doesn't-get-more-casual-than-this Pickled Pig Pub. P3 shares a small shopping center with the Cameron Brothers' Grandpa(MAC) and Pam Minhas' Twice Baked Coffee Bar. Pickled Pig offers clever appetizers, BBQ, panini, creative salads and endless craft beers. And they are busy year-round. 

Speaking of the Camerons, James Beard-nominated chef Hari Cameron is already thinking of future locations for his and his brother's popular all-mac&cheese-all-the-time carryouts, Grandpa(MAC). The tiny emporium of fresh pasta couldn't be more different from his modernist fine-dining icon, a(MUSE.), and Hari's fresh salads and soups round out the reasonably priced menu. 

For casual ethnic eats on Rehoboth Avenue, don't miss Semra's Mediterranean Grill and Indigo Indian restaurant - directly across The Avenue from one another. I suspect you will quickly add these two exotic spots to your list of favorite (albeit hard to pronounce) menus. 

Hardworking restaurateur Leo Cabrera has worked magic at his original Modern Mixture on Rehoboth Avenue with those tart, Mexican-flavored salads made with crunchy nopalitos. Fitness instructor/chef/entrepreneur/bartender Leo is as creative with the cocktails as he is with his modern mixture of tortas, burritos and appetizers. 

The Chipotle Mexican Grill in the Tanger Seaside Outlets is adding chili con queso to its very basic menu. The bottles of green jalapeno Tabasco Sauce on the tables suggest that these people know exactly what works well on their made-right-in-front-of-you burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Try a few drops on the chicken, cilantro white rice, black bean, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole and red sauce burrito. 

The never-ending emails to often pose the eternal question: Who makes a great Italian sub? And who makes a great cheesesteak? Well, I have to live here after this column goes to print, so I will simply suggest that you try the Italian sub at Mike LaPenta's Casapulla's South. It's all about the construction technique. (Yes, I worry about these things....) Then, wander into Capriotti's in Lewes and try the chicken cheesesteak - and ask them to grill the chicken with hot pepper rings. Add pickles, if you please. Are these regulation 9th & Passyunk fare? No. But then we are not at 9th & Passyunk. So there. 

There's not nearly enough paper on this page for me to list every fast/casual joint in town, but if you want to escape from the ordinary when it comes to pizza, try Alex Kotanides' Greek pizza at Pat's Family Pizzeria in Lewes. Round? No. Thin? No. Extremely cheesy with a yeasty, aromatic crust? Yes. Ask for it well done. Different isn't a bad thing. While you are in Lewes you might also drop in to Matt's Fish Camp near B&B Music. Quick lunches are the order of the day, and Chef Maurice Catlett always has a surprise on the menu. 

The season might be winding down, but the great majority of Rehoboth Beach eateries do not wind down. For example, last Monday morning I had a great breakfast at Sunrise Restaurant in Dewey. They actually live up to the motto, "No shoes? No Shirt? No Problem!" It's all about breakfast and lunch at Sunrise, and I'm here to tell you they whip up one of the most moist and properly cooked omelets here at the beach. 

Lewes is not without a few quickie spots where a good sandwich, platter and a craft can be acquired with a minimum of fuss. And one of those spots is the Pig & Publican - just across the drawbridge in the Beacon Motel. Leave your diet at home and try Doug and Lisa's meatloaf, chicken and waffles and ... wait for it ... meatballs with a cheesy surprise inside. A well-selected array of crafts tops things off at this relatively new eatery. 

So get out there and check out our long list of quickie lunch and dinner eateries that are as gentle on your schedule as they are on your wallet.

  • 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

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

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