Go window shopping in Rehoboth Beach!

March 27, 2012
The quintessential window in the quintessential beach resort. BY BOB YESBEK PHOTO

In my ongoing effort to keep up with the latest scientific facts on nutrition and pigging out in general, I found myself engrossed in a recent newspaper article written by a local psychotherapist. I won’t mention the publication (I’d like to be here next week, thank you), but in his column he refers to the popular practice of eating while standing up. Apparently, conventional wisdom suggests that any food consumed while vertical - ideally while leaning over a sink - officially qualifies as a snack, and is therefore light and healthy. He goes on to say that this applies equally to leftover fried chicken, ice-cold pizza and pork pies.

But alas, my elation was short-lived. The good doctor finally concludes that vertical munching has no impact on the calorific consequences of that over-the-sink snack. Not even a little bit. In other words, food is food. Period.

Now wait just one darn minute! This young whippersnapper is obviously not well versed in the fundamental laws of beach eating. It’s a well-known fact that food ordered through a window - while standing up - does not count toward your daily maximum requirement of tasty stuff. In fact, nowhere in the Weight Watchers point system do they specifically refer to “window food.” So there.

Another hallowed principle of coastal consumption is that window food tastes good due to the very fact that it’s handed to you through a window. Want proof? I have a friend who has been a longtime fan of Grotto Pizza. (You know how people can be about their pizza!) When Joan and Nick Caggiano took a sledgehammer to their new Nicola’s on Rehoboth Avenue - thus creating the proverbial pizza pass-through - my friend waxed rhapsodic (and we all know how painful that can be) that Nicola’s must have changed its pizza. She couldn’t get enough of it.

Loyal fans know that the Caggianos are nothing if not consistent. Why mess with success? But, even as we speak, my friend still blazes a diagonal trail across Rehoboth Avenue between Nicola’s and Grotto - and back again. Chalk one up for window food.

What day on the sand is complete without the obligatory pilgrimage to Gus & Gus’ Place? Many a nor’easter has done its best to permanently shutter that window, but every spring it opens like a high-achieving crocus. With the Atlantic at your back and Gus clangin’ that well-worn spatula, those hot-off-the-grill burgers, dogs and cheesesteaks sure hit the spot. And what about Thrasher’s warm, peanutty fries? Or Kohr Bros. Frozen Custard? Or savory crepes at Café Papillon? Or crunchy filets from Go Fish! - yup: window, window, window … and window.

The “window effect” (my patented name for this phenomenon) is most pronounced at The Ice Cream Store, just a brief westerly waddle from the Boardwalk. Do you really think anyone would buy Chip Hearn’s terrifying favorites (motor oil, bacon, booger and dirt) if they weren’t scoopin’ ‘em up behind a hole in the wall? Directly across the street, of course, there’s Dolle’s - the granddaddy of them all. The homemade salt water taffy and caramel corn pass through a window that’s certainly seen its share of Rehoboth history.

So many windows, so little time! Just how satisfying is a crimson-sheathed dip’t cone at the Lewes Beach Dairy Queen? Or a Mack’s Pizza slice in Wildwood, N.J.? Or the long-gone Taylor Pork Roll stands in Ocean City, Md., and Atlantic City?

So, if that psychotherapist columnist is to be believed, all this vertical chomping may not be quite as virtuous as previously suspected. On the other hand, you’re at the beach. Treat yourself. Everything in moderation - especially moderation.

  • 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.