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Fast/casual means more time on the beach

July 30, 2021

There’s nothing like kicking back for a few hours in one of our fine-dining restaurants here in the Cape Region. But sometimes, vacationers and busy locals have limited time to indulge in a relaxing breakfast, lunch or dinner. Fortunately, there are a number of local spots, often referred to in the biz as “fast/casual,” where hungry diners can get a consistently good product in a consistently short time.  For example, you can be sure of two things at our local Panera Bread: (1) There will always be a line inside, and (2) you can even wait in your car, as our Panera is one of the few with a drive through.

Directly across Coastal Highway from there is the doesn’t-get-more-casual-than-this Grandpa (MAC), Hari & Orion Cameron’s all-mac&cheese-all-the-time carryout. Their particularly good salads and soups round out the very reasonably priced menu.

Hardworking restaurateurs Ellen and Todd have worked magic in the former Modern Mixture on The Avenue with their addictive fritters (think Italian arancini, but with an attitude). Venture past the carryout area to enjoy Todd’s fine dining artistry there at Federal Fritter & Bistro.

Chipotle Mexican Grill in the Tanger Seaside has added creamy chili con queso to its very basic menu. The bottles of green jalapeno Tabasco Sauce on the tables suggest that these people know exactly what works well on their made-right-in-front-of-you burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Over-the-counter burritos are also the theme at Moe’s Southwest Grill by the Safeway. Online ordering and delivery bring their Southwestern staples to you even faster.

Though last week I waxed rhapsodic (and we all know how painful that can be) about the Taco Reho truck, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include that here. (Did you see my great pic of Billy’s Danger Dog?) Speaking of trucks, new-kid-in-town Jamie Parsons has taken beach burgerdom by storm with his Smashmouth Burger Bus. A smash burger with Taylor Pork Roll and an egg? Who wooda thought!?

One of the most effective ways to start a brawl around here is to pose the eternal question: Who makes a great Italian sub? And who makes a great cheesesteak? Well, I have to live here after this goes to print, so I will simply suggest that you try the Italian sub at Mike LaPenta’s Casapulla’s Subs near the Giant Food. It’s all about the construction technique. (Yes, I worry about these things….) Then, wander into Capriotti’s in Lewes and try the chicken cheesesteak. Feeling frisky? Ask them to grill the chicken with hot pepper rings. Are they regulation 9th & Passyunk fare? No. But then we are not at 9th & Passyunk. So there.

There’s not enough paper for me to list every fast/casual joint in town, but if you want to escape from the ordinary when it comes to pizza, try Alex Kotanides’ selection of pies at Pat’s Family Pizzeria in Lewes. You’ll be surprised: Different isn’t a bad thing. While you’re in Lewes you might also drop in to Matt’s Fish Camp Lewes for an uncomplicated lunch. Another tucked-away Lewes spot for quick eats is Patty’s carryout at the Hazzard auto repair complex on the Medical Mile. The made-fresh-every-day egg salad wrap, the cheesesteak and those oatmeal-raisin cookies are Rehoboth Foodie pick hits. While you’re up there in the northern hinterlands, check out the even-more-tucked-away Cabanas Salvadorean restaurant. This place takes casual to entirely new levels, and the pupusas, tamales and lime soup will make you smile.

You can never go wrong for a quick, casual breakfast (especially the omelets!) at Sunrise Restaurant in Dewey. They actually live up to their motto, “No shoes? No Shirt? No Problem!” Same thing applies to Fat Vinny’s sandwich shop for lunch and dinner. You’re in and you’re out – and you’re full!  Quick breakfasts and lunches are also available at Goolee’s Grill and the longtime staple Robin Hood, both in downtown Rehoboth.

Fast sandwiches are the stars of the show at our local Arena’s restaurants and also Surf Bagel. My pick hits are the tacos and the nachos at the former, and the Taylor Pork Roll, egg & cheese on a toasted sesame bagel at the latter. Last and certainly not least is the longtime Boardwalk favorite, Gus & Gus’ Place. Behind that busy window lurks particularly good fried chicken and cheesesteaks.

This is by no means all-inclusive, but it should get you started. Get out there and check out our quickie lunch and dinner eateries that are as gentle on your schedule as they are on your wallet.

 

  • 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 byesbek@capegazette.com.

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