It only seems like Capriotti’s is taking over the world.
The fast-growing chain, with locations in Lewes and downtown Rehoboth Beach, has opened in the Safeway shopping center off Route 1.
Owner George Buchwald, who also owns the Lewes franchise, said, “Now’s the time. I’ve built up the business enough that I think the area can handle another one. I want to get mainly the people going to Dewey or Ocean City on Route 1.”
Buchwald said he was also hoping to generate business from Tanger Outlets shoppers, just as the Lewes location attracts patients and employees of Beebe Medical Center.
Although he has had the location since earlier this year, the opening was timed to coincide with the shoulder season.
“We purposely waited until after summer so we can get it right and do it for all the locals,” Buchwald said.
He said he chose the location because it allows the restaurant to face Route 1.
“I want southbound coming in. I want to cater to those people while still having a year-round business,” Buchwald said.
The new location will be larger than the Lewes location and will have fountain sodas and eventually, online ordering.
“It is the new prototype for Capriotti’s moving forward,” Buchwald said.
That prototype includes a new look – brick walls and hardwood floors for a restaurant look – and a more streamlined and simpler, more health-conscious menu that eliminates burgers, hot dogs and fried food while adding a salad menu.
“You don’t want to walk into a place and have nine million items,” he said. “As long as you do the narrow items and do them the best, you’ll be successful. And that’s the recipe for Capriotti’s now.”
Buchwald said all Capriotti’s locations across the country are slowly phasing in these changes, including the Lewes location. Still, Capriotti’s will still have all the favorites, such as the Bobbie, the Capastrami and turkey and Philly cheesesteaks served on fresh rolls.
Capriotti’s will still cater, offering up all its cold-cut sandwiches such as the Bobbie, Italian and SlawBeJoe. Buchwald said Capriotti’s would also offer meatball trays for catered events to allow customers to make meatball subs for football parties and other get-togethers.
As for what makes Capriotti’s so successful, Buchwald broke it down as simply as possible.
“Quality. Freshness. Friendliness as you walk in. And consistency. It’s been my goal that it will be the same product here as in Lewes. That’s the Capriotti’s goal across the country,” he said.
Capriotti’s has its roots in Delaware; the first location was opened in Wilmington in 1976. The franchise is now established in 14 states, with 18 restaurants in Delaware alone.
Buchwald said the new Rehoboth location would have the same hours as the Lewes location, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. He hopes to be open an hour later during the summer.
“I’m very excited to get this going,” Buchwald said.
For more information, go to www.capriottis.com.