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Now’s the time to dine out - outside!

August 31, 2018

Next week officially ushers in our cherished shoulder season! The weather is (generally) more reasonable, and … well, I’ll get right to the point: There are around 110 spots up and down the Delaware coast where you can dine out - outside. And, given the temperate fall weather we enjoy here at the beach, there’s still a lot of time to enjoy a meal in downtown Rehoboth without having to deal with some nasty ol’ roof.

Love upscale dining in the sun and under the stars? Back Porch Café is open well into October, and the back porch at the Back Porch is the place to enjoy breezy sunsets - and an amazing Sunday brunch. Victoria’s on the Boardwalk is also a good bet for fine dining and ocean views. At a(MUSE.) on Baltimore Avenue, award-winning Chef Hari Cameron serves up modernist cuisine on his cozy patio.

As you might expect in a family-friendly resort, mid-priced eateries offer the greatest number of outdoor dining choices. And one of the best is the treehouse atop Azzurro in Rehoboth Beach. Enjoy a happy-hour aperitif while monitoring the sunset. Remember Cloud 9 and Lula Brazil? See what Karly Gamaitoni has done with the back patio at the (relatively) new G Rehoboth. Near the Boardwalk on Wilmington Avenue is Yolanda Pineda’s Mariachi restaurant where a seat on the elevated front porch comes with an ocean view. Just across the street is one of Rehoboth’s best-kept secrets, Zogg’s. This little taste of Key West punctuates an outdoor tiki bar with live steel drums in season, burgers and fried alligator - along with the largest selection of rum at the beach. Prefer beer? Sit and sip outdoors at the new dining plaza between Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats and Chesapeake & Maine on the fourth block of The Avenue.

On the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, JAM Bistro’s front-porch hi-tops provide a panoramic view of the party life. Across the street, Rich Steele is still doing his amazing paella feasts on the back patio at Café Azafran. Give ‘em a call to be a part of this one-of-a-kind, reservations-only treat. In that same block is the popular outdoor patio at DiFebo’s. There’s always a build-your-own sandwich waiting for you on the covered deck at Arena’s in Village by the Sea. On the Boardwalk, Obie’s by the Sea, one of Rehoboth’s most relaxed in-season eateries, punctuates crab cakes, hot dogs and five varieties of burgers with in-season DJs and dancing.

Sandy toes on a warm day often entail food being acquired through a window. Maya Contractor and her French-speaking crew at the tucked-away Café Papillon in Penny Lane (between Rehoboth and Wilmington avenues) whomp up authentic crepes at her in-season-only noshery. About a half-block to the east, hurricanes, nor’easters and hulking waves have tried to put Gus & Gus’ Place out of business, but it’s going to take more than that to move this longtime beach-eats favorite. Gus and the boys will open when you least expect it on warm winter weekends. (By the way, the fried chicken is a sleeper there.) Slightly west is the beautifully appointed veranda dining area at Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen & Bourbon Bar. Where else can you enjoy an aerial view of 1st and The Avenue while digging into a Frito Pie?

No mention of outdoor dining would be complete without Cultured Pearl and their water-filled al fresco extravaganza. It’s fun to nibble and watch your future sushi swimming right below you - on the hoof, as it were…. And don’t forget the huge Avenue-side dining area at Jeff Hamer’s new El Jefe Gordo right next to Catchers and Lupo Italian Kitchen.

Some places have heaters to take the edge off of chilly nights (check out the flaming tornadoes at Victoria’s). So grab your knife, fork and maybe a sweater to enjoy whatever outdoor lunches and dinners still remain. Bon Appétit!

  • 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 byesbek@capegazette.com.