A midsummer night’s stroll through the newest beach eateries

July 28, 2017

It’s a yearly race to an imagined finish line as new restaurateurs fall to the temptation of opening their doors just before Memorial Day - whether or not they are ready. Apparently some of them read my recent Cape Gazette column that urged them to avoid putting their not-so-best foot forward - only to stumble through a couple of busy days that end as quickly as they began. 

And apparently some didn’t. They broke their virtual necks to open at the last minute - and then shut down rather ignominiously for several days in an attempt to regroup. But as we pass through the halfway mark of the 2017 season, even those few spots are now up and running smoothly. So it is again time for my often-imitated-yet-never-quite-duplicated Midsummer Restaurant Roundup. Wanna know what’s new on the menu? Read on. 

Indigo, Rehoboth’s second authentic Indian restaurant, is packing them in on the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue. Many are not aware that our first Indian restaurant opened – and closed shortly thereafter – many years ago in the storefront that is now Gidget’s Gadgets in the second block. My how things have changed! Indigo is just a few steps east of the also relatively new Blackwall Hitch (Sunday brunch is a sleeper there!). Yet another long-awaited ethnic cuisine is finally available on Coastal Highway. Minh’s Bistro is a treasure trove of Vietnamese food sharing the new construction at Route 24 with Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli. Both places are open for lunch and dinner. Rosenfeld’s even serves breakfast. 

I get lots of emails asking me to recommend this or that. When people ask about steamed crabs, I’ve been sending them to Don & Lori Allen’s Beaches Seafood Restaurant & Carryout on The Highway next door to B&B Music in Lewes. Don takes great pride in his steamed-to-order crustaceans. By the way, the spicy fried oysters & shrimp are sleepers there. When people ask me about wine, I send them to the brand new Vineyard Wine Bar & Bistro in the old Espuma spot at the corner of First and Wilmington avenues. Proprietor and noted oenophile Joe Lertch offers flights, tastings and full glasses to satisfy your every grape-centered need. And The Vineyard has a full menu of things to pair with your wines. 

SoDel Concepts continues to bat a thousand with their new Bluecoast Rehoboth in the Gateway Center near Fresh Market. The place seats around 250 and weekend dinnertime waits are around an hour. Scott Kammerer and crew must be doing something right. Bluecoast is also open for lunch and has a huge outdoor dining area complete with its own bar with entertainment, a firepit and a playground. Well, it’s not like these guys haven’t done this before! 

Then of course there’s the new Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in downtown Rehoboth. The reconceived menu bears little resemblance to the one in the old brewpub, and is as impressive as the cavernous dining/entertainment venue that includes the James Beard-nominated Chesapeake & Maine restaurant. Executive Chef Zach Dick has a few surprises on the menu, including wood-fired pizzas and a kicked up mac & cheese that will certainly get your attention. 

Cheryl Tilton’s longtime eatery-in-a-boat has yielded to bright and roomy new digs for her Gilligan’s Restaurant in Lewes. Big windows provide views of the canal, and the outside bar and dining area have been completely revamped. And Cheryl’s crab cakes are still as good as ever. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but hanging out at the dock bar with a frosty cocktail and a light bite is lots of fun on the other days. 

Conch Island boss Bryan Derrickson and his wife Olivia recently took over that huge and storied spot at Midway, paying homage to one of the former occupants by naming it The Roadhouse. But the mechanical bull and the cowboy theme have been put out to pasture in favor of a Route 66 look. The new Roadhouse Bar & Grill comes complete with neon lights of classic cars, along with a few menu items that recall his grandfather and grandmother’s Midway Drive-In Theater that used to stand where the Midway Shopping Center is now. 

Downtown Rehoboth recently became the new home to two other new concepts. Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen replaced the ill-fated Hooters on the second level of First Street Station. Several blocks to the west, Meg Hudson’s Lula Brazil (where Cloud 9 used to be) has morphed into G Cask & Kitchen. Try as I might, I haven’t made it to either of those spots yet, but they are on the front burner and both menus look promising. 

No restaurant roundup would be complete without mention of the massive dining, sipping and event venue that La Vida Hospitality has installed at the southeast end of the Indian River Inlet suspension bridge. SoCal-inspired eats assembled by none other than rock ‘n’ roll Taco Reho guy himself, Billy Lucas, are easy to tote to the beach for lunch and dinner. Sandy toes are welcome as you hang at that state park venue and treat yourself to a 360-degree panorama of the bridge that glows cobalt blue at night, the Indian River Bay, the Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. How’s that for a side dish! 

Believe it or not - there’s more to come (and several that will be leaving). So keep an eye on The Business of Eating for the lowdown on restaurant comings (and goings) here at the beach.

  • 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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