Agave granted permit of compliance in Rehoboth

Two-story building planned with 239 seats
January 7, 2019

Story Location:
230 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

By unanimous vote, 6-0, Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners issued a permit of compliance to Agave Dec. 21.

City Building Inspector Damalier Molina prepared a report Dec. 7, and he read it into the record during the meeting.

According to the report, applicants Agave Tequila Bar and Restaurant owners Chris McKeown and Mike Firetti want a two-story building on a vacant lot at 230 Rehoboth Ave., owned by James Matthews of 232 Rehoboth LLC.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner; hours will be noon to 1 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday through Sunday.

The restaurant will have 1,100 square feet of dining area on the first floor and 801 square feet on the second floor, with a total of 239 dining seats and 35 bar seats. Additionally, there will be a three-season, 750-square-foot outdoor patio with 54 seats on the second floor. The restaurant’s gross floor area will be 10,000 square feet – 5,707 on the first and 4,293 on the second.

Chris McKeown opened the original Agave in Lewes in 2008, and he said he’s been looking to open another restaurant for years.

“Truly my heart has been here for five years,” he said. “This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time.”

Firetti said they discussed opening on Route 1 versus downtown Rehoboth, and he said he can’t help but think they made the right choice with the Rehoboth Avenue location.

“We believe we made the right choice. Now it’s up to us to prove it,” he said.

The only real point of discussion about the future restaurant was related to the placement of the trash dumpsters and propane tanks. As proposed, they would be on city property immediately behind the restaurant on Wilmington Avenue, which is a one-way alley in that block.

City Solicitor Glenn Mandalas said a licensing agreement would have to be drawn up and agreed upon. He said the document was not ready for the meeting, but if the permit were approved, the agreement would be expected.

Commissioner Stan Mills said it was one of the few times in his 20 years of attending commissioner meetings that a permit of compliance was being granted for a building yet to be built. He said he liked the idea of having trash dumpsters and propane tanks covered, but he was concerned it would be setting a precedent for future applicants who desired use of city property.

Mayor Paul Kuhns said that section of Wilmington Avenue isn’t heavily used and there are four or five other restaurants grandfathered to do the same thing.

Commissioner Richard Byrne said the commissioners should go on record saying each application is situational, and that trash dumpsters and propane tanks on city property won’t always work.

Representing the business community, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce President Carol Everhart said she supported the restaurant because having an empty lot on Rehoboth Avenue is not a good thing.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the owners say the total number of seats will be 239 and that the two owners of the restaurants are Chris McKeown and Mike Firetti.

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