A little more than two years in the making, and after more than 50 years since the beginning, Nicola Pizza served up its last round of pizza and Nic-O-Bolis in Rehoboth Beach Sept. 5.
“We’re as ready as we’re going to be,” said Nick Caggiano Jr., in between making the rounds with customers wishing him, his family and his staff good luck on the impending move.
A little before 5 p.m., there were no tables available upstairs, limited availability downstairs and standing room only at both bars. Waitresses, cooks, bartenders and staff at the to-go counters were all wearing black T-shirts, with the Semisonic lyric, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
“Last night was crazy. We’ll see how tonight is going to be,” Caggiano said.
Nicola Pizza was founded in 1971 by Nick Caggiano Sr. and his late wife Joan. The original restaurant opened on North First Street, then a second location opened on Rehoboth Avenue in 2010. In August 2020, the Caggiano family announced the restaurant was leaving downtown Rehoboth for a new site on Route 1 outside Lewes on property adjacent to Ocean One Plaza.
The original restaurant stopped offering in-person dining in mid-June. Almost everything is now off the walls. As of Labor Day, the only thing still hanging in the original location was the track of the rickety model train set; Nick Jr. has said in the past that’s the only thing not making the move to the new location.
Don and April Irelan have been eating at Nicola Pizza since it opened. April’s sister worked with Nick Sr. at his last job before the restaurant was opened. They were seated upstairs in the corner. They said they don’t usually come into town while it’s still summer, but they also had to enjoy one last meal in Rehoboth.
Stanley and Cindy Silverblatt were also enjoying one last Rehoboth-based Nicola meal with their daughter Allisin Colker. They’ve been dining at the restaurant for nearly 40 years.
It’s sad, but there will be a new beginning, said Stanley.
Camille Caggiano, daughter of Nicola Pizza founders Nick Sr. and Joan, was also on hand enjoying a mini Nic-O-Boli that’s only on the menu for her. She was there with her caregiver Sherry Williams and friend Mike Workman.
Camille said she’s looking forward to the new location because it will be closer to where she lives.
Now that the two Rehoboth restaurants are closed, Nick Jr. said it will take about a month to fully exit the two buildings. The expectation is to open the Route 1 location sometime in October, he said.
As for the two Rehoboth restaurant spaces, both have already been claimed.
Longtime downtown Rehoboth Beach property owner Dr. Michael Trahos purchased the two locations soon after the announcement that Nicola was leaving. Earlier this summer, Bethany Blues announced it would be opening Downtown Blues in the original Nicola Pizza. Chris and Anthony Jacano, owners of Zogg’s, the Sea Hogg food truck, the Wheelhouse and Bushels Crab House & Seafood, will be taking over the Rehoboth Avenue location, but they have not announced what they will be doing there.