Lewes has lost one of its mainstay restaurants.
Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant, known for its crab cakes and spectacular canalfront view, officially closed its doors Jan. 25. Its Milton location will remain open.
“Because of health concerns and family obligations, I am unable to commit the time and energy needed to continue running the restaurant,” said owner Cheryl Tilton in a Facebook post. “I have had a wild ride over the past 17 1/2 years, but it is now time for me to step back.”
The original Gilligan’s was torn down in 2016 and replaced with a brand-new building. Although Cheryl and her husband Garry had operated Gilligan’s for nearly two decades, the restaurant predated their time on the canalfront. The original structure was built into a boat said to have originated from Key West, Fla., that had sunk in the canal. The original restaurant grew over the years as new sections were added.
When designing the new restaurant in 2016, Tilton was excited about the prospect of a clean slate. The new restaurant has indoor dining for about 60 people, with nearly 70 outdoor seats and another two dozen at the restaurant’s indoor and outdoor bar areas.
“I’ve met so many good people during this time,” Tilton wrote. “I want to thank you for the support and love you have given me, and I will cherish the memories of my time spent with all of you.”
Stewart Becker Properties, owner of the property, will soon begin searching for a new tenant.
“We look forward to identifying a new restaurateur who will operate and utilize this unique waterfront location to its full potential,” said Ted Becker, who owns the building and neighboring Inn at Canal Square with Joe Stewart.
The Tiltons opened a second location on Route 16 in Milton in March 2019. Tilton said popular bartender Andrew Drawdy will be behind the bar in Milton on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Milton location, 200 Broadkill Road, is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday. For more information, go to gilliganslewes.com or call 302-664-2875.