Keeping your summer visitors fed in 17 easy steps
May is here, and many of us will begin to receive carefully orchestrated calls from friends inquiring as to whether they can come to … “visit.” Fortunately, many of us beach residents are generous and willing to play bed & breakfast for a few days. (Note the time limit!)
The proper guest will always try to make as many reciprocal gestures as possible, and one of the ways is to treat their host(s) to dinner. We are fortunate to have everything from white-tablecloth dining to a quick bite handed through a window. So there’s something for everyone here at the beach. In order to jump-start the eating season, I’ve cobbled together a list (certainly not all-inclusive) of a few culinary pick hits entirely for reference.
Note my reference to “reference.” Many local eateries change their menus as often as the tides, so some of my picks might – or might not – be on the menu at any given time. I trust you will govern yourself accordingly.
Area visitors who like something slightly more exotic than corn dogs will definitely love Raas Asian/Indian Fusion restaurant in Lewes. But beware! Try not to fill up on Chef GG’s spectacular garlic/cheese naan before devouring the crispy honey-chili water chestnuts, the Chana Masala or the Lamb Rogan Josh. Wash ‘em down with the Mango Lassi cocktail.
The 1776 Steakhouse in Midway combines quiet elegance with expertly prepared steaks. The black ravioli stuffed with lobster is a must-get. 1776 and Raas are currently among the most popular eateries in town – reservations are a must at both!
Fins Ale House & Raw Bar continues the tradition of consistent, well-prepared seafood and fun happy hour specials. Hungry? Get the Peacemaker: fried oyster po’boy meets bacon – the perfect marriage. Even better with Fins’ signature bloody mary. You can also get the Fins experience in downtown Rehoboth and – as of the day before this page was published – just west of Fenwick in the old Smitty McGee’s spot. Also on the highway, the (relatively) new Atlantic Social is making waves with its apricot-glazed pork chop. Kick it off with the Fried Green Tomato Tower with a feisty Sriracha mayo. Oh, and the Watermelon Frozé cocktail.
A few miles north takes you to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal, now host to Grain on the Rocks and Lewes Coffee. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be consumed in their huge outdoor seating area that boasts a seamless connection to the indoors where live entertainment, the short rib grilled cheese and the Citrus Avocado Salad can be found. Continuing a bit west, you’ll find Chef Kevin Reading’s Brick Works Brewing and Eats. It’s in the Taormina Square Center. Hungry? Get The Schnitz.
Bethany Blues Lewes just reopened after a complete remodel. One of the new features is the Blues Express grab & go. Everything on the menu is available for quick takeout, including the Pigs on the Wing appetizer and the St. Louis ribs. Sides should include their smooth and creamy mac & cheese and the not-too-sweet baked beans. You can even get cocktails to go!
Touch of Italy continues to bat a thousand with their one-of-a-kind chicken parm, lasagne and wood-fired pizzas, though I suggest you enjoy the pizzas on-site. The delicate crunch of a wood-fired crust can sometimes lose its personality when closed up in a box.
Kids of all ages love mac & cheese. And our go-to spot for mac & cheese is none other than Grandpa MAC, across from Midway Galleria in the strip center where Pickled Pig used to be. Don’t miss the salads and soups!
Pat’s Pizzeria in Mariner Plaza in Lewes is a lot more than just pizza (though it is quite good). Check out the lasagne, the meatballs and, interestingly enough, their cheesesteak. It’s all available for delivery, too. Just around the corner from Pat’s is the tucked-away but oh-so-delicious Sticky Rice sharing the little strip center with Capriotti’s. Authentic Thai at its most delicious. I love the green curry.
Dewey is quickly becoming a dining destination in itself, sporting the crabcake-centric Woody’s Dewey Beach Grill (also try the french dip and the burger!). Across the street is the always reliable Starboard. Yes, it’s mostly bar, but wait until you try one of the breakfasts! These people are not shy when it comes to portions. You will not leave hungry.
I wrote last year that the longtime Dewey breakfast favorite Sunrise Restaurant was closing, but it has been resurrected by a loyal employee (with the help of the former chef/owner), and it’s just as good as ever. I checked it out myself.
Your friends will be impressed by Café Azafran on the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue. The veal sausage and the haricots verts (green beans with a French accent) are my faves, though I urge you to watch for their next reservations-only paella feast. It’s a unique experience. Also on Baltimore Avenue is Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits. An excellent ribeye is enhanced by some of the best mashers in the area. Start with the Cajun shrimp and Theo’s Manhattan.
We all love our cover bands (I play in one, so I hope that’s true), but sometimes it’s fun to escape from the ordinary. You can do that at Sydney’s Restaurant & Lounge at Paynter’s Mill in Milton. Unusual bands, singles duos and trios are often featured on their stage. You’ll come for the music, and you’ll stay for the fried chicken.
So many restaurants, so little ink! Try out my suggestions on your visitors, but be careful: Our food’s so good, they might want to move here full time. Be sure you’re OK with that ... .
Bob Yesbek writes and talks beach eats nonstop. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.