A little more than a year after Agave Tequila Bar and Restaurant announced it would be opening its second location on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach, ground has started to be moved.
Chris McKeown, who opened the original Agave in 2008 on Second Street in Lewes, said it’s exciting to be done with the design process.
McKeown, wife Jocelyn and business partner Mike Firetti announced the new restaurant in August 2018. The land at 230 Rehoboth Ave. was cleared of trees and vegetation in the end of October. Shortly afterward the trio met for an on site interview.
Firetti, a retired businessman, said seeing physical progress being made was a long time coming. There’s a lot of pent up demand for another Agave, he said, predicting a summer 2020 opening for the Rehoboth location.
“It’s amazing. We really appreciate the loyal customers being patient,” said Firetti. “Soon we’ll be able to serve double the amount of customers.”
Jocelyn runs the restaurant’s social media accounts. She confirmed the pent up demand. As soon as something was posted about the recent progress, so were positive comments, she said.
This past winter, a drawn out, and sometimes heated, permitting process had the future of the restaurant on Rehoboth Avenue in question, but ultimately, the city, Firetti and McKeown were able to reach common ground. Firetti said a lot was learned through the procedure, but the most important thing was being where they are today.
Firetti said City Building Inspector Damalier Molina was just doing his job in pointing out issues. “It all worked out in the end.”
Over the years, Agave in Lewes has undergone a number of painstaking renovations. Jocelyn said the renovations were fun, but getting them done within the confines of the Second Street building was extremely challenging. That won’t be the case here in Rehoboth, she said.
“This is a completely blank canvas,” said Jocelyn.
Since opening in Lewes, McKeown has been the head of the kitchen, producing a quality of food that customers will wait hours for, but also being the watchful eye monitoring what was being served. McKeown said he knows he won’t be able to be in two places at once when the second restaurant opens, which is why training a new staff is beginning now, and veteran staff will also be working in Rehoboth.
The training of staff for future locations is something both McKeowns and Firetti will have to get used to, because it appears the Rehoboth location won’t be the last. Firetti said Agave has plans to expand beyond the Lewes and Rehoboth locations. He said they’re currently negotiating leases for two more sites.