Longtime Rehoboth Beach restaurateurs Darryl and Joe Ciarlante-Zuber are looking to open a new restaurant in the space where it all began nearly two decades ago.
The couple took the first step by getting permit of compliance approval Nov. 15 from the Rehoboth Beach commissioners.
“For those who don’t know us, we originally started at 10 N. First Street in 2001,” said Joe during the hearing. “Hence the name Square One.”
The couple opened Dos Locos in the North First Street space in 2001 before it moved to its current Rehoboth Avenue home. They sold the restaurant a few years ago, but just last year, they opened Diego’s Hideaway, now Diego’s Bar Nightclub, on Rehoboth Avenue Extended.
“When we sold Dos Locos, we said we were done, and then all of a sudden there’s an empty void,” said Joe. “People say, ‘Once you get sand in your toes…,’ well, it’s the same thing for those in the restaurant business. It’s either in you or it’s not, and it’s definitely in us.”
Assistant Building Inspector Matt Janis began the hearing by reading the city’s official report. The restaurant calls for roughly 870 square feet of dining and bar space, with 56 dining room seats and nine bar seats. According to the report, the restaurant will be open 4 p.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
As part of the application, a menu for Square One was required. Appetizers include lobster bisque, homemade vegan meatballs, garlic shrimp and more. Main dishes include lobster cakes with mango sauce, Beyond burger, Baja fish tacos, cheese ravioli, beef tenderloin and more. The plan calls for a full-service bar.
Commissioner Pat Coluzzi asked how the trash would be taken care of.
Joe said the property shares a common space in the back with La Fable and DiFebo’s Italian Restaurant, with access to trash and propane tanks from Baltimore Avenue.
Most recently, the restaurant space on North First Street was home to Lily Thai. Darryl said they plan to increase seating from Lily Thai’s 35 seats. The new amount, 56 seats, is the same number as when the couple operated Dos Locos in the space nearly 20 years ago, he said.
Prior to the unanimous vote in favor of the permit, Commissioner Richard Byrne said he was excited to see another empty storefront being filled, especially, he said, by two business owners who are a known entity in the community.
During the meeting, Darryl said the next step is getting approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner. He said all the paperwork is ready to submit, but they were waiting for commissioner approval to see if there were going to be any changes to the proposed seating arrangement.