For almost all of her adult life, Lori’s Oy Vey! Cafe owner Lori Kline has spent her summers working behind a counter in Rehoboth Beach. It hasn’t always been easy, but 25 years into being the proprietor of this popular Baltimore Avenue eatery, she wouldn’t change a thing, she said.
“I still enjoy coming to work every day. The people I work with and my customers are awesome,” said Kline. “It’s about having fun.”
Kline opened the cafe, located off the courtyard of the CAMP Rehoboth property, in the summer of 1997. A few days before reopening for 2021, Kline was reflecting on the difficulties of surviving the past year’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“I know not everyone was as lucky, but I was very, very fortunate last year,” said Kline. “I’m grateful to be here still. We’ve had a great run and we’re not going anywhere.”
Surviving meant adapting, which for Kline meant making online ordering available, removing the 13 seats inside the cafe and rearranging the 400-square-foot location to better accommodate window pickup.
“We had to switch things all around, but we’re still serving the food with a bright smile behind our masks,” said Kline.
After beginning her professional career as a teacher in Silver Spring, Md., Kline made the permanent move to Rehoboth after spending a few summers working in the city in her late 20s. She said she knew immediately the ocean-side town was where she wanted to be and put plans in motion.
“I fell in love with the beach,” said Kline, on why she gave up a steady teaching career to open her cafe. However, she said, she considers her cafe her classroom now. “There’s still an opportunity to teach; the difference is instead of homework, there’s cookies,” she said.
Kline’s signature offering has been and always will be her chicken salad, which is to die for – according to the menu, the chalkboard inside and the cafe’s legion of fans. The day of the interview, Kline said she was receiving three cases of chicken – 120 pounds – to prepare the salad by hand, 40 pounds at a time.
Like all good chefs, Kline was hesitant about sharing too much information on what goes into her famous salad. “Cook it. Cool it. Make it,” said Kline, who then revealed the salad’s secret ingredient: “Love.”
Two of the cafe’s fans are President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. In honor of her most famous customers, Kline has introduced a combo sandwich to this year’s menu called The Bidens, which is half a tuna sandwich and half a chicken salad sandwich.
After the opening weekend, Lori’s Oy Vey! Cafe will be open Thursday through Monday. Kline said the expected hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday and Monday. She said when the season is in full swing, the cafe will also be open on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the best thing to do is call ahead to confirm.
For more information on Lori’s Oy Vey! Cafe, 39 Baltimore Ave., call 302-226-3066 or go to lorisoyveycafe.com. Lori’s is pet-friendly.