La Vida Hospitality's ultimate beach umbrella

January 23, 2017

Since last weekend’s surprise announcement, the Cape Region has been abuzz with news of the new Big Chill Beach Club. Not to be confused with the Big Chill Surf Cantina in Rehoboth (though it is part of the same restaurant group), the Big Chill Beach Club will dominate the southeastern beach/park area at the base of the Indian River Inlet suspension bridge. And with it will come breakfast, lunch and dinner seating for about 200 people and a wedding/event venue that can accommodate 150 to 175 partiers. Visitors to the space will be treated to a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Rehoboth Bay and that majestic span that paints the nighttime sky a deep, cobalt blue. 

La Vida Hospitality Group and the Delaware State Parks have teamed up to develop this family-friendly rooftop restaurant at the Delaware Seashore State Park South Side Beach area. As part of the process, La Vida won the RFP (request for proposal) that the state put out to interested parties. La Vida’s concept focused on making the additions to the park environmentally friendly while adding to the existing beach appearance for which that area is so well known. 

A large upper deck capable of seating around 200 people will be constructed atop the existing concession building at the park. The menu will emphasize a beachy theme, with simple food that’s easy to take down to the water or to enjoy on the casual upper deck. Perched atop the deck will be the centerpiece of the project: A 10-ton, $400,000 “umbrella room” that measures 11 meters in diameter. This Austrian-built piece of technology can withstand 110 mph winds, and provides visitors with a 360-degree view in total comfort. A high-tech system opens and closes the “umbrella” depending on the weather. The structure is being delivered to the United States on a container ship. Adjacent to the restaurant/dining building will be a tented and floored wedding/event venue that will also afford a view of the ocean and the bridge. Proposed future improvements include a live stage venue at the mouth of the river as it meets the Atlantic. Existing state park pass owners will of course be able to enter and park free, and non-pass holders will receive a discount off their dining check to offset a portion of the parking fee. 

La Vida Hospitality is the ownership entity of Fork & Flask @ Nage, Crooked Hammock Brewery, the Taco Reho truck and Big Chill Surf Cantina. La Vida also provides the food service and restaurant management/catering at the new Lefty’s Alley and Eats in Lewes. A talented team that includes La Vida boss Josh Grapski, Taco Reho’s Billy Lucas and Fork & Flask’s Executive Chef Sean Corea is putting together the perfect menu for the Big Chill Beach Club. The emphasis will be on simplicity, portability, affordability and value beyond the price point. 

The purpose of this groundbreaking cooperation between the public and private sectors is to continue attracting guests to the South Side Park at the Indian River Inlet. In addition, the Big Chill Beach Club will provide yet another way for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the natural venue formed by the confluence of the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • 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

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.