Sip, bite, enjoy - and make a deposit at the Food Bank of Delaware

November 10, 2017

One of the perks of writing a newspaper column is that I don't have to send out party invitations. It saves postage and keeps me from getting Terminal Stickytongue Disorder (you know ... the heartbreak of TSD) from excessive licking. It's a win/win for everyone, especially me.

This particular invitation is for an event taking place from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18. The Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Food & Wine Festival will kick off its inaugural fête at the beautiful 99 Sea Level restaurant on the ocean in Bethany Beach. Yes, I know you can't throw a rutabaga around here without hitting a food and wine festival, but next week's Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Food & Wine Festival is unique because, (1) it has one of the longest festival names known to man, and (2) all the proceeds go to benefit the Food Bank of Delaware. 

In spite of my interminable crowing about the restaurants here in the Cape Region, there are still people in Delaware who are hungry; not only can they not afford the majority of these eateries of which I crow, but they don't even have the resources and/or mobility to shop or otherwise rely on a source of basic nutrition. Through donations from events like this, the Food Bank of Delaware is able to provide nutritional education and benefits assistance to children and seniors through their mobile pantry, a school pantry and a food prescription program. They even have a culinary program in Milford and Newark that offers job training to adults. The 14-week program covers basic kitchen skills and life skills in general; culminating in ServSafe food safety skills certification (a requirement for key food-service personnel in Delaware) and a two-week paid internship at a food-related business. 

The Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Food & Wine Festival consists of a day of wines and cuisine from local suppliers and restaurants. Tickets include wine and food samples, a commemorative glass, door prizes and a great auction. As of this writing, featured vendors include Executive Chef Danio Somoza's 99 Sea Level restaurant, Managing Partner Kevin Roberts' Bethany Blues restaurants in Bethany Beach and Lewes, Marian Parrott's Sedona restaurant (one of Delaware's hidden gems!), SoDel Concepts' Northeast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View (get the chowder - trust me), Jeff Hamer's new Fins Fish House in Bethany Beach, Rehoboth's iconic Fork + Flask @ Nage, and longtime Delaware restaurant suppliers including Paul Karp at Vintage Imports, Karen Clayton at Bacchus Importers, US Foods, Specialty Wines & Liquors, Breakthru Beverage Group, Country Vintner and Southern Wine & Spirits. I suspect there will be even more as the date approaches. 

In between sips and bites there will be a cooking demonstration with 99 Sea Level's Executive Chef Danio Somoza punctuated by the musical stylings of the George and Pat Bilenki Duo. 

Bethany Beach Ocean Suites urges ticketholders to eat and drink their fill, and to that end (and to keep partiers off the roads) they are offering $50 off a two-night stay with the Food + Wine Fest package. When you call, use code CUE to get the discount. In order to keep things civilized, ticket sales are limited, so snap 'em up while you still can at 

As you eat, drink, bid and dance where Hollywood Street meets the Atlantic Ocean in Bethany Beach, keep in mind that all this revelry directly benefits the Food Bank of Delaware - helping to make sure that those less fortunate can eat tonight. I'll see you there.

  • 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

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.