Jump-start your beach day with a creative breakfast
My column from a few weeks ago that paid homage to Rehoboth’s venerable Robin Hood sparked a flurry of breakfasty emails. If the number of new early-morning eateries is any indication, I guess breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day.
The Nook in Milton and Eggcellent in Lewes are both run by delightful husband-and-wife teams. Dina (The Nook) and Elina (Eggcellent) both got their start at Dewey’s iconic Sunrise Restaurant, where owner and grillmaster Ismet runs a very tight ship. That efficiency is reflected in Dina’s and Elina’s restaurants with good service and attention to detail.
It’s only been a few weeks since Sunny Bay opened in the old Sydney’s/Pig & Fish/Cuvee Ray spot, and Laurie Orfanidis and Ben Stoner are busy dishin’ up early-morning goodies. (By the way, they will be guests on my radio show this Saturday at 2 p.m.) A few steps west of there, Egg restaurant (just east of the drawbridge) brings a bit of upscale to the first meal of the day with lemon curd crepes, peanut butter French toast and that famously addictive Sriracha Bacon Candy. Of course we can’t forget about George “Goolee” Stakias’ Goolee’s Grill at First and Wilmington, and the two Boardwalk mainstays representing both ends of the dining spectrum: Victoria’s Restaurant on the fine-dining end, and Gus & Gus’ Place dishin’ up morning treats through the window.
In Lewes, don’t forget Kaisy’s (quickie drive-thru bites are their specialty) where Wescoats, Savannah and Clay roads meet. A few blocks down Savannah is Honey’s Farm Fresh. Order their reimagination of the humble latke. Once you’ve had theirs, you can never go back. And it tastes even better on an actual train at the new Ocean View location (where Royal Zephyr and Salted Rim used to be). Consistently good breakfasts at Honey’s.
Memorial Day can now be referred to in the past tense, and The (year-round) Starboard is still one of the go-to breakfast spots in Dewey Beach. In the late afternoons, it morphs into party central and crush central. This place has been going strong since the mid-‘60s when Duke Duggan’s Last Resort Bar served up spaghetti, meatballs and wintertime singalongs for the few-and-far-between locals of the day. Addition after addition was built as the popular tavern began to catch on. In the mid-‘80s, the Hearn family’s DIY bloody mary bar (originally conceived at the long-gone Country Squire in Rehoboth) introduced breakfast to The Starboard. The resulting influx of hot sauces morphed into the famed Peppers store (and online sauce emporium) now headquartered in Lewes.
In 1999, The Starboard was sold to a trio of restaurant partners who continued to promote the belly-busting, hangover-curing breakfasts. One of those is Steve “Monty” Montgomery, a hands-on guy who seems to be everywhere at the same time. As the self-described “12-year-old kid who worked on the beach,” he sold hot dogs on the sand, rented umbrellas, and worked for the Hearns at The Starboard, which is still a morning magnet for groggy partiers. The DIY tradition continues with The Starboard Omelet. Early-morning diners should probably be advised to not operate heavy machinery until later in the day, but they can still build their own breakfasts with three eggs, any of seven fresh veggies, a choice of eight (count ‘em – 8) kinds of cheese and seven meats, including crabmeat and jerk chicken. Those who prefer to leave the construction to the professionals can choose from breakfast combos such as The Body Shop (egg whites and veggies may be compensated for by adding Velveeta and scrapple); The Hot As Huevos (a nod to former proprietor and celebrated chilihead Chip Hearn), and The Kitchen Sink (use your imagination, then top it with hollandaise).
The humble egg is further honored with Eggs Delmarva (Benedict and crabmeat), Eggs Arnold (what comes after Benedict, except scrambled) and the appropriately named Hangover Helper – a light and refreshing plate that starts with buttermilk biscuits topped with scrambled eggs, a choice of meat, hash browns and a choice of cheese. House-made sausage gravy will make you forget your hangover in favor of an entirely new one. True fressers can go a step further with The Full Monty: Everything above, plus pancakes or French toast. Do not order this if you are running a 5K anytime soon. Or a 1K. Or climbing steps.
Partners Steve “Monty” Montgomery (always there), Jim Weisgerber (Bethany Blues BBQ maven of note) and Dickie Heidenberger (still a kiteboarding fanatic and frozen custard maven) have genuine respect for the history that has made The Starboard what it is today: music, dancing and sipping-central in Dewey. Their traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar service have been keeping locals and vacationers lovin’ that Dewey Way of Life for a long time.