No, I haven’t forgotten Lewes

July 22, 2021

I’m occasionally accused (unjustly) of eschewing Lewes in favor of downtown Rehoboth eateries. I take umbrage (and a side of fries) with that. If anything, the First Town in the First State is a bit smaller and just doesn’t have as many restaurants. But there are some great tastes waiting for you there, so fasten your seat belts:

The newly rebuilt-from-the-ground-up Gilligan’s is reborn as Harbour restaurant. Expert barkeep Rob Bagley has created a one-of-a-kind bar program with some one-of-a-kind cocktails. Over the drawbridge, the Pig & Publican in the Beacon Motel (brewpub eats with a Belgian accent) still draws the crowds with upscale comfort food. Just a few doors away is Harvest Tide Steakhouse (don’t miss that Wagyu New York Strip). It’s now one of three – Bethany and another in … wait for it … Washington, D.C. At the foot of the drawbridge, the Jacona Brothers’ Wheelhouse sports one of the best outdoor dining decks around, with live entertainment and a casual menu that hints of their Rehoboth mothership, Zogg’s. Follow the canal a few doors down to the longtime Lewes mainstay, Irish Eyes. A big menu, dockside dining and live entertainment have kept this place hoppin’ for years.

The Lewes ferry terminal finally has a full-service restaurant! Grain on the Rocks is one of four Delaware eateries from Lee and Jim’s OMG Hospitality Group. Huge indoor and outdoor seating areas are cleverly connected so all can enjoy the regularly scheduled live entertainment. Early morning pick-me-ups are the thing at the adjacent Lewes Coffee.

Two of Lewes’ fine-dining stars, Raas Asian/Indian Fusion restaurant and Heirloom restaurant, are conveniently next door to one another on Savannah Road. Both are expertly operated, and they rarely - if ever - disappoint. Reservations are a must.

The quietly austere Hotel Rodney plays host to the Rose & Crown restaurant, a lunchtime favorite for locals. Directly across Second Street are the long lines waiting to get into Agave while their palatial second location continues to take shape near Rehoboth. A few doors down is Lisa McDonald’s Nectar Café,  tucked behind Edie Bee’s on Neils Alley. Her breakfasts and smoothies are whipping Second Street into a froth. Kindle on Bank Street is a Wednesday tradition where mouthwatering burgers are on special, and next door is the tiny Half Full with endless pizzas and wine. At the corner of Second and Savannah are Touch of Italy (overstuffed Italian heroes, wood-fired pizzas, fresh Italian pastries, meats & cheeses) and the under-new-ownership Striper Bites.

The fried oysters and fish ‘n’ chips are must-gets at Jerry’s Seafood. At the other end of Second Street, Lewes locals still mourn the loss of the original Café Azafran, but take heart: Olive & Oats on Market Street takes up the slack with Azafran’s breakfast & lunch favorites. Speaking of breakfast, Elina Kamalova and Ibrahim Sen’s Eggcellent restaurant turns out generous breakfasts and lunches – in the original Café Azafran spot!

Honey’s Farm Fresh enjoyed a total makeover several years ago and is now part of a trio of three popular Honey’s – one in Ocean View and the other in Ocean City. A bit farther up Savannah is Patty’s super-friendly carryout - masquerading as a gas station. But don’t be fooled: her made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and grab & go goodies are not to be missed. Up around Five Points are Kaisy’s (early-morning coffee & kaiserschmarrn-central), the friendly Full Belly Bistro (another that you might confuse with a gas station), SoDel Concepts’ Fish On, and new-kid-on-the-block Sticky Rice Thai tapas next to Capriotti’s.

Crooked Hammock Brewery on Kings Highway is now part of three Hammocks – one in Middletown and the other a bit farther south in Myrtle Beach. Just down the road are Big Oyster Brewery (wait ‘til you see their huge outdoor entertainment venue!) and Station on Kings, Leisa Berlin’s sunny café, bakery and garden store combo.

It’s inevitable that I’ve missed something, but this should get you started. Check out what small-town Lewes has to offer. I promise you will not leave hungry.

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