Opening a restaurant during a pandemic may not sound like a good idea, but for the Allan family, it has worked out as well as they could have hoped.
Taking over the former Gilligan’s space on Route 16 in Milton, Beaches Seafood has already built a following of folks who crave a taste of the restaurant’s simple, down-home style seafood.
“We had to turn people away,” said owner Don Allan Sr.
The idea of opening in Milton has been appealing for some time for Allan, his wife Lori and his son Don, who will be managing the Milton location. Allan said he had thought about leasing the property before Gilligan’s came to town in spring 2019.
“We wanted to be here as a second location,” Allan said. “After a little investigating, it just wasn’t the right time.”
After Gilligan’s moved out in June, the Allans decided to make their move. They opened around Thanksgiving, while continuing to operate their original location in Lewes, founded five years ago.
Allan said the restaurant was already in the kind of shape they wanted it when they moved in.
“You would swear this was designed for us, even though it's bigger. It was like everyone who came in thought we did it. It was like a meant-to-be sort of thing,” he said.
The Milton Beaches will offer many of the same dishes that made it so popular in Lewes: steamed crabs, snow crab, fried oysters and crab cake sandwiches. Allan said while at this time there won’t be a market, as there is in Lewes, the Milton location will begin offering breakfast starting Sunday, Jan. 10.
“There’s nothing fancy about it. We’re doing the old-school breakfast with sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon, eggs, omelets. Simple,” he said.
While Beaches in Milton has not been open long, the Allans said they have already noticed a group of regulars. Allan said the first weekend they tried to do a soft opening was rough, because the high customer anticipation for Beaches combined with COVID-19 restrictions meant they had to turn people away. But since then, they have made adjustments to streamline operations. The Allans said they plan to start having chef specials’ nights to allow the cooks to showcase their creativity. Allan said they also maintained some of the staff from Gilligan’s to take advantage of their knowledge of the building.
Beaches was a dream job for Allan, who worked for 30 years in the construction business. In Lewes, the Allans had been longtime customers and friends of Jimmy and Lynn Parks, who owned Jimmy Lynn’s on Route 1. Allan wanted to do a restaurant like that himself, and when the opportunity to buy the former Jimmy Lynn’s came up, he dove right in. He said Jimmy Parks showed him his special steamed crabs recipe, which Allan has kept up with Beaches.
For the new Milton restaurant, the Allans have turned things over to Don Allan Jr. as manager. A Milton resident, Don had been in the construction business too, but he couldn’t pass up the chance to oversee the new Beaches.
“Being here and being part of the community is very important to me,” Don said. “Managing the restaurant has been really great.”
Beaches in Milton is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Monday. For more information, call 643-0196 or visit beachesseafood.com.