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The Labor Day newbie roundup

September 8, 2017

Those of you who have been hiding in the fetal position under your beds - you can come out now. I'm here to fill you in on what's new to try now that the rabble has subsided. 

Don't miss the (relatively) new Pig & Publican in Lewes. Free parking at the Beacon Motel, a rotating craft program and a menu with a Belgian accent make this place a don't miss. By the way, don't freak out when you pass Savannah's Deli & Grill on your way to P&P - yes, Savannah's is closed. You can also maintain your composure when you notice Gate House is closed. But they hope to reopen in about a month after a remodel. 

In Lewes where Savannah, Wescoats and Clay roads meet is the new Kaisy's Delights. You'll love their coffee, the tasty breakfasts, lunches and sweet treats. If you can't bring yourself to venture down to the now-even-farther-south Starbucks, you'll love Kaisy's drive-through. Coffee and a warm kaiserschmarrn! A match made in ... Austria. 

Speaking of Starbucks, Twice Baked is open in that space by Pickled Pig Pub. (Drop by and join me at 3 next Saturday, Sept. 16, when my radio show will broadcast live from there. Pam's stickybuns, cakes and pies are the stuff of legend. There will be on-air tasting.) 

Feeling Jewish? Feeling Vietnamese? Get both at the intersection of Route 24 and Coastal Highway at Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli and the even newer Minh's Bistro. Minh's owner Thinh Pham whomps up a smooth and savory pho - and don't miss the spring rolls! In the same commercial center is the just-opened Beef Jerky Outlet. This place will surprise you, and I dare you to walk out without giving in to some of their signature jerkys, candies, silly apparel and unusual sauces. The place is addictive. 

Over the 12 years I've been doing this, I've probably gotten more emails whining over the lack of Indian food than on any other subject. Well, during the summer we were the proud recipients of the shiny new Indigo Indian restaurant. Longtime restaurateurs Suraj and Rhagu Kumar placed their ethnic eatery just steps from the Rehoboth Boardwalk, a few doors east of Blackwall Hitch. I'm addicted to this place, and once you go, you will be too. 

A few blocks west, it was The Palm, then it was Cloud 9, then it was Lula Brazil, now it's G Cask Kitchen. Karly and her crew have shined up the place and word on the street is that things are doing well. Back east, rhyming Hooter's with Cooter's has been done, so I will spare you that. But yes, the new Cooter Brown's Twisted Southern Kitchen and Bourbon Bar has taken over the old Hooter's space on the second level of First Street Station. A big difference is that Cooter's is packed pretty much every night. John and Dale's cleverly designed outdoor dining affords a bird's-eye view of Rehoboth's busiest intersection. (Another great spot in First Street Station - lower level - is Olive Orchard Tasting Room. If you like to cook, then you need this place.) 

Behind First Street Station is Joe Lerch's Vineyard Wine Bar & Bistro. Keegan Dolan (Bramble & Brine/DiFebo's) is in the kitchen, and Joe's selection of wines – by the taste, by the glass or by the bottle - can't be beat. Get the meatballs en croute. Trust me. 

Directly across the street from the new Indigo Indian restaurant is Josh and Greg's Makin' Whoopie. DIY whoopie pies are the theme, but they also have other sweet treats. Don't miss the Chocolate Chiller. Talk about addictive.... 

Remember the old Roadhouse Steak Joint in Midway? New owners Bryan and Olivia Derrickson (also of Conch Island downtown) pay homage to a cool Route 66 vibe - with a few polite menu nods to Bryan's grandmother who used to feed moviegoers at the old Midway drive-in theater. Don't miss the 3 to 6 happy hour that applies to the entire restaurant. 

A bit farther north is the humble but delicious Beaches Seafood Market & Restaurant. Don and Lori Allen's steamed crabs are quickly becoming the area's favorites. He doesn't drop 'em into the steamer until after you call in your order. I love the fried oysters and fried shrimp combo. Walk on the wild side: Add jalapenos and hot sauce. 

I saved the three biggest until last.

First: SoDel Concepts celebrated the opening of their 10th restaurant by going big and beautiful. The new Bluecoast Rehoboth has two patios for outdoor entertainment, sipping and biting; a firepit, a playground, a raw bar, an open kitchen and a quiet event room lined with cookbooks! I love the crab dip appetizer, the softshells (in season) and SoDel Concepts' Vice President Doug Ruley's ribs. These ain't yo' mama's ribs – wait 'til you see the presentation! 

Second: The original (rather cramped and a little bit rickety but with lots of personality) Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats has given way to a cleverly designed, fully professional event venue/eatery with two floors, flying staircases, a wood-burning pizza oven, and of course every Dogfish Head beer and spirit you could wish for. Sam and Mariah Calagione's brainchild next door to their seafood-centric Chesapeake & Maine has been packed since the minute they turned the key. But now that the fall is upon us, it's time to check it out. Rehoboth Foodie pick hits include the mac and cheese, the pizzas and that darned burger. 

Third: If you love breathtaking views, then motor on down to the Big Chill Beach Club at the southeast end of the Indian River Inlet bridge. This partnership between the state parks and La Vida Hospitality (Fork + Flask @ Nage, Crooked Hammock, Big Chill Surf Cantina and the Taco Reho Truck) has been packed to the brim since it opened on Memorial Day. It's all about SoCal-inspired tacos, ceviches, sandwiches, brews, cocktails and oysters enjoyed in the shadow of that bridge with an unobstructed view of the inlet, the bay and, of course the Atlantic. The massive Umbrella Room is quickly becoming a major Delaware attraction. 

OK, kids! It's time to come out and play! Enjoy.

  • 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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