A seven-year itch finally got scratched in downtown Lewes this week when the Rose & Crown reopened its doors in the Hotel Rodney on Market Street.
The original incarnation closed its doors in 2005 and one-time regulars and some-time visitors of the British public house have since been directed by seldom-updated websites to check out the once-lively nightspot on Second Street, which has since disappeared. Beseme, which closed last year, was the last restaurant to operate at this site, which is also the first home of The Buttery, which moved down the street.
Recognizing that a void left by the exit of the Rose & Crown had yet to be filled, Hotel Rodney owners Jim and Rachel O'Hare contacted Chef Jay Caputo to join them in a collaboration for their hotel's vacant restaurant space, bringing the old favorite back to town as an updated high-end gastropub.
"The ceiling is new, the lights are new, the booths, the fabric, the floor; everything is new, except the place," Rachel O'Hare said. "I think Rebecca really understands what lights and color do to the imagination. I think people really responded to that tonight."
Intricately involved in the overhaul, designer Rebecca Fluharty selected modern prints and tracked down vintage accessories in addition to acquiring wood from a church in Philadelphia that was built and furnished around the same time as the hotel.
A new bar was created from the reclaimed oak pews that came out of that church, Fluharty said, and is now stocked with high-end scotches and craft beers, a selection of wine varietals and eight beer taps.
Updating an old favorite meant the designer walked a thin line when she began renovations in March, Fluharty said. Working to retain the history of the building while still adding some modern designs has been a rewarding challenge.
“We wanted to have a place that had touches of old, but mixed with the new,” Fluharty said.
The result of the collaborative efforts is an updated British gastropub with an affordable menu featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and entrées such as a 10-ounce New York strip steak, fish and chips, and bangers and mash.
Caputo said he wanted to add a modern twist to the menu, so expect to see the British standbys alongside nouveau appetizers like fried pickles or Dogfish drunken clams, all $18 or less.
"It was just a really good opportunity for me and I think it was a good opportunty for the hotel," Caputo said of bringing his talents to the Rose & Crown. "They needed someone who they could believe in and trust. It just had a really good feel to it.”
For more information, call 302-827-4475 or go to www.roseandcrownlewes.com.