When Jerry's Seafood owner Chris Becker was stuck with an empty storefront on Savannah Road, she turned to someone she knew she could rely on to fill the space – herself. Rather than scramble to find a new tenant, Becker opened Oceanside Seafood Market & Deli just before Memorial Day.
Located in the same building as Lewes Wear on Lewes' main drag, Oceanside has an assortment of seafood selections to go, while also offering a variety of small deli items perfect for a quick lunch or dinner while downtown.
“I thought, 'Why not a fish store?'” said Becker, recounting her thought process after an expected tenant backed out. “We have the restaurant here, so I just started thinking about it in my head and how it would work.”
Due to Oceanside's small size, Becker said, the market and Jerry's work together. Much of the food is prepared in the Jerry's kitchen and taken over to Oceanside to be showcased and sold. If an item doesn't sell at Oceanside, it could be used as a special at Jerry's.
“Everything stays fresh,” Becker said. “We're constantly moving things around. Nothing stays over there.”
Oceanside operates as a traditional seafood market, offering steamed crabs, oysters, clams and more for customers seeking a seafood dinner at home or at the beach house. Accompanying the market is the deli, which offers small, bite-size items, like shrimp or crab deviled eggs and sushi, and seafood sandwiches, salads and soups.
A small seating area inside and a three-table veranda outside offer a place to eat with a good view.
“From that vantage point, it's a really interesting view,” said Becker.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, Becker hired Cindy Hammond as manager. Cindy has more than a decade of experience working in Cape Region seafood markets and brings a lot of experience to the table, Becker said.
“She's awesome. She really knows the business well, and she knows everyone in town,” Becker said.
Becker and her daughter, Suzanne, purchased Jerry's Seafood on Second Street in April 2005. While many people were initially disappointed to see the Rose & Crown close, she said, Jerry's has made a name for itself over the last decade, specifically with its signature 10-ounce Crab Bomb. The Crab Bomb is not available at Oceanside, but a smaller crab cake is, and it's made pretty much the same way with the same ingredients, she said, meaning there is no filler and no breading.
“A 4-ounce crab cake by itself will fill you up,” she said. “Try eating a 10-ounce crab cake, it's like eating a 10-ounce filet. You're going to be full.”
Becker said once word spreads, she believes the local community will embrace the new eatery.
“I'm hoping to build up a loyal clientele of Lewes people, so we have our own resource for fresh fish and seafood,” she said.
She hopes some of that local support will come from other restaurants.
“I'll sell to restaurants if they run out of something,” she said. “They can run down the street rather than having to run out to Route 1. It's funny, you never know what people are going to buy. I should have enough that I can do that for the local restaurants.”
The Beckers also own the Blue Sea Café, located in the same building as Jerry's. The cafe is geared more toward the breakfast and lunch crowd, but also offers a light dinner menu during the summer.
Oceanside Seafood Market & Deli, at 109 Savannah Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information call 302-313-5158. Jerry's Seafood is open daily at 11:30 for lunch and dinner at 108 Second St. Blue Sea Café, also on Second Street, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.