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New chef joins Serendipity family

Restaurant celebrates 10th season in Oak Orchard
May 15, 2013
Chefs Rich Dondarski and Michael Leaman say they are ready to launch into a new season at Serendipity. BY MOLLY MACMILLAN

It was fate that brought a restaurant opened more than 30 years ago in Pennsylvania to Oak Orchard, its owners say.

Peter Stipa and Matt Rydzynski came to the Cape Region to retire after 20 years at their original Serendipity location in Conshocken.

After they opened a hot-dog shop on Rehoboth Avenue and discovered they were working longer, harder hours than they had at the restaurant, they jumped on the Oak Orchard location and Serendipity was reborn.

They built a staff that has stuck with them in Oak Orchard, the owners said, and they've built a business on a dining location overlooking Rehoboth Bay, where customers can come by land and by sea.

The restaurant serves a mix of Italian and Polish entrees, pizzas and local favorites like cheesesteaks,. Open year-round, it will soon be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

With a cast of regulars, long-time staff and an upbeat work atmosphere, the colorful restaurant maintains a family-friendly feel. Many of the recipes at Serendipity are straight out of Stipa and Rydzynski's family cookbooks.

"Our menu is very large," Rydzynski said. "We have a lot to offer, from a grilled cheese sandwich to colossal jumbo-lump crab cakes."

Chef Michael Leaman, who has been at Serendipity since the opening in Oak Orchard, keeps an eye on the quality and consistency regulars have come to count on.

With the addition of their new chef, Rich Dondarski, the owners said their clientele can look forward to their favorite entrees and some inventive new specials.

"It was love at first sight with us," Rydzynski said. "We knew right away when he walked through the door. Your staff has to mesh, and he's a really good fit."

Items such as Stipa's family-recipe meatballs and have been o the menu as long as Serendipity has been open, and they will remain, Dondarski said, but he's been able to bring his talents to expand the menu as well.

"Its a great atmosphere," Dondarski said. "The owners are here just as much as we are, so we don't mind working hard, and I've got a lot of freedom to play with dishes."

For more information, call 302-945-3600 or visit www.serendipityde.com.