Culinary team named for new Thompson Island Brewing Co.

September 18, 2019

Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts, recently announced the names of the culinary team for Thompson Island Brewing Company. The hospitality group’s 12th restaurant is next to Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar, another SoDel Concepts eatery, in Rehoboth Beach.

Chef Doug Ruley, vice president of culinary operations, will lead the team. Lou Ortiz is the executive chef. Sous chefs include Efrain Martinez, Brenton Lyman and Joe Charles. Pastry Chef Dru Tevis will supervise the dessert menu. “With Jimmy Valm heading up our brewing operations – and assistance from Tröegs Independent Brewing – we will make world-class beer," Kammerer said. “The food is equally important, and Doug, Lou and their team have created a spectacular menu that will pair perfectly with our beer.”

Ruley, who joined SoDel Concepts in 2006, is an award-winning chef who’s been invited to cook at the internationally renowned James Beard House in New York a record-breaking five times. Thompson Island Brewing Company will be the seventh restaurant he’s helped open for SoDel Concepts. Born in New Castle County, Ortiz is a U.S. Marines veteran and graduate of the University of Delaware’s hotel, restaurant and institutional management program. Ortiz has worked in restaurants and brewpubs in Delaware and Denver.

“I love the brewery vibe and eating pub-style food,” said Ortiz, who lives in Millsboro with his wife and two children. “No matter the cuisine, a beautifully prepared meal can turn the day around for someone, which inspires me to do better every day.”

The sous chefs have all worked at other SoDel Concepts restaurants. Martinez comes to Thompson Island Brewing Company from Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria in Fenwick Island, where’s he’s been executive chef. Brenton Lyman moves to the new brewpub from Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach, where he’s been executive chef and general manager. Joe Charles was previously at Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Rehoboth Beach.

Tevis, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York (now the International Culinary Center), is the corporate pastry chef for SoDel Concepts.

“As with all of our restaurants, the menu will focus on beautiful, simple food,” Ruley said. “We look for fresh ingredients and then highlight their flavors with interesting combinations.”

Consider Sloppy Joe egg rolls with beer cheese and buttermilk ranch dipping sauce. Other dishes include fried chicken; tater tots topped with bulgogi short rib, kimchi and beer cheese; house-made Cracker Jack-style caramel corn; roasted mussels; Thai-and-peanut-smoked yard bird; pork shoulder meatloaf; and house-made beer bratwurst. The brewpub will also offer wood-fired steaks and chops, lobster and rockfish.

Desserts will include birthday cake, a classic vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles and vanilla cream frosting, served with ruby chocolate ganache. The custard in the Cold Brew Cream Pie, a version of chess pie, incorporates Thompson Island Brewing Company’s stout and cold-brew coffee. It’s topped with whipped cream and served with malted milk ice cream, which will also contain some of the brewpub’s beer.

Thompson Island Brewing Company is scheduled to open in October. For more information about SoDel Concepts, go to


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