At the beach? Well, ya gotta eat!

July 5, 2024

The week of July Fourth is the quintessential “summer at the beach” moment. And nobody knows that better than our local restaurants, bars, food trucks, carryouts … you name it, we’re ready! What was once an off-season ghost town is now a year-round culinary destination. The Zagat guide, the prestigious James Beard Foundation, Food Network, the National Restaurant Association and even Netflix – just to name a few – have acknowledged the talents of our Cape Region food industry. Even the word “summer” in Nation’s Summer Capital is beginning to get a little long in the tooth as hungry diners cruise Rehoboth Avenue from October to March in search of a parking spot.

Virtually unlimited choices await our peckish populace. Some of those choices might be passed through a window on the Boardwalk. Others might be whipped up in moderately priced or upscale restaurants in Rehoboth, Lewes, Milton, Milford, Millsboro, Fenwick Island, Ocean View, Dewey, Bethany or out on the Coastal Highway that strings them all together.

Moderately priced dining runs the gamut from funky raw bars clad in knotty pine to big, family-friendly fish houses, to straightforward spots with blaring TVs, burgers, wings and nachos. Seafood is certainly a mainstay, and those in the know, know where to get it. From crab cakes to fried shrimp, from matcha mochi ice cream to grilled octopus, from smashburgers and Detroit pizza to huevos con chorizo, there’s something for everybody.

Resort restauranting isn’t easy when access to potential patrons varies from season to season. Around 25 years ago, restaurant news and reviews website coined the phrase “Only the strong survive” in reference to resort dining, and competition is most certainly fierce. That can make everybody better. Indeed, if an inexperienced or negligent restaurateur can’t rely on locals’ repeat business and the all-important visitor trade generated by those locals’ recommendations, he or she won’t last very long. It plays out every fall and spring as “For Lease” signs appear – and disappear.

Upscale restaurants are not immune to this cycle, and each one has carved out its own culinary niche. In fact, several have been carving for some time – boasting upwards of 50 years or more dishin’ up breakfasts, lunches and dinners to visitors and locals alike.

In Rehoboth, vacationers (and locals who know the difference) can enjoy dining with an international accent, selecting Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish, Chinese, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Salvadorean and Mexican-flavored dinners. There’s even a drive-thru that boasts authentic Austrian pastries!

Quiet, romantic feasts in Rehoboth compete with fine-dining/bar complexes sporting whimsical menus and mirror balls. In Bethany Beach, authentic sushi is just a few blocks away from chef-driven small plates and low ‘n’ slow-smoked BBQ. Fenwick isn’t far behind with wood-fired pizza ovens, upscale seafood, Lowcountry cuisine, a classic short-order breakfast joint and a coastal taqueria. Historic Lewes gets into the act with seafood served right by the canal, elegant fine dining in Victorian mansions, rectangular pizzas and pub grub dished up with a Belgian accent.

The Cape Gazette makes it easy to figure out where to go for all this good stuff. Go to for up-to-the-minute info. Last and certainly not least is my Business of Eating column – required reading for anyone who can hold a newspaper and chew at the same time. Dining by the water is a one-of-a-kind experience, and I believe actor Anthony Hopkins said it best: “No one leaves here alive. So please stop treating yourself as an afterthought. Eat delicious food. Walk in the sun. Jump into the sea ….”

My sentiments exactly.


  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter