Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a preliminary site plan for a new Nicola Pizza in Lewes. The Caggiano family, owners of the iconic Rehoboth Beach restaurant and sports bar, announced last summer they would vacate their Rehoboth Avenue and North First Street locations, and build a new restaurant adjacent to Ocean One Plaza, which is owned by the family.
The family opened its restaurant on North First Street in 1971 and then its two-story sports bar on Rehoboth Avenue in 2010. The Caggianos plan to sell the two Rehoboth Beach properties.
The plan includes a 9,640-square-foot, two-story restaurant with a 1,726-square-foot covered deck and 144 parking spaces on a lot along Route 1 once occupied by the former Wright’s Self-Storage. The project is expected to be completed this fall.
During an earlier interview, the owners stated their reasons for leaving downtown Rehoboth. “We just want to get our brand out to more people,” said Nick Caggiano Sr., who operates the restaurant with his son Nick Jr. “We can’t do that in Rehoboth Beach – it’s just summer there. The highway is pretty heavily traveled, and we’re going to be visible to a lot of customers, new customers.”
He also said more space is needed and parking is an issue. The family plans to operate the two Rehoboth locations until the new restaurant is completed.
Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson questioned whether the plan could include interconnecting access to the adjacent Arby’s property to allow motorists to use the road that leads to the traffic signal on Savannah Road.
“We can see if that is possible, but we don’t want to hold up final approval,” said assistant county attorney Vince Robertson, adding that staff will consult with the developer and owners of the neighboring property.
Once all county and agency approvals are cleared, the planning and zoning staff will review and approve the final site plan.