The Business of Eating

The spring restaurant roundup: So what’s new?

April 30, 2013

The Post-it notes fluttering around the edge of my computer monitor look like used-car lot banners on a windy day. Each one bears a scribbled note about an opening, a closing, a remodeling or whatever else flows in from my vast network of spies, moles and operatives.

Something has to be done (all that paper could be a fire hazard). So let’s review the latest happenings so I can finally throw all that stuff away.

Leisa Berlin’s sweet and frilly Edie Bees Confections is going strong on Second Street in Lewes. Vintage candies, endless licorice and a veritable plethora of gummies and gels grace the shelves. Behind the candy store, Leisa’s daughter Amanda is putting the finishing touches on Nectar Café & Juice Bar. It should be open soon.

Just around the corner, Jay Caputo’s Rose & Crown in the Hotel Rodney is hitting its stride. I love ensconcing myself in the hotel’s austerely elegant lobby. It’s a great way to feel cosmopolitan (or drink one).

Slightly to the west, Surf Bagel’s Dave and Tom Vitella (and Tom’s delightful wife Liz) have made major changes to bring their über-breakfast & lunch spot to the dinner crowd. If you like chicken salad, you’ll love theirs on a toasted sesame bagel. Chip Hearn’s exodus from Midway Galleria to Five Pointe Plaza is complete, so chiliheads should reprogram their GPS units to keep track of what seems like about 3 million bottles of sauces, relishes and salsas.

Coldstone Creamery is out of Pelican Square. Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt and Jersey Mike’s Subs (founded in ’56 in Point Pleasant, N.J.) are in. Coldstone remains in the downtown location, but Capriotti’s Sub Shop fled its Avenue location in favor of the Safeway shopping center. Nothing says Thanksgiving like the Bobbie. Get the large if you don’t plan to eat again for a week or so.

Old Bay Steak & Seafood in Midway is soon to become Delaware Distilling Co., and the copper stills are bubbling up some tasty vodkas, rums and gins. Pete’s Steak Shop opened late last season, and its pizza is fast becoming one of the highway favorites. Speaking of pizza, Tim Gouvas of Louie’s Pizza downtown and his Long Neck partners turned Timothy’s Taphouse into Beachcomber, keeping the tasty bar noshes and live entertainment. Can his famous pizza be far behind? Tim’s not talking, so we’ll see.

It’s like they dropped a finished Chick-fil-A from a helicopter onto the parking lot of Kmart. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a building go up so quickly! It will be opening soon with lots of local employees. Just down the street, Touch of Italy co-owner Bob Ciprietti is turning the old Ocean Liquors into his second full-service restaurant and deli (the downtown carryout version remains open). It’s now one-stop-shopping there in Shore Plaza: Get a tasty Italian sub, a six-pack from Outlet Liquors, a bistro dinner at Nage, a bag of takeout from Root Gourmet, a couple dozen Hot Stix from Hickman’s - all while getting your vacuum cleaner fixed at Oreck! All this and heaven too.

Gelato Gal has moved to the north end of the canal bridge (across from Big Fish Grill). All the cool ‘n’ creamy treats are there, but when we weren’t looking she bought a big ol’ smoker. Wash your gelato down with smoked brisket, pork and ribs!

Downtown, former JAM Bistro sous chef Joe Churchman and his wife are turning the old South Pacific Flower Shop into Bramble & Brine restaurant. It’s a big job, so hang on ‘til mid-June at least. Morgan & Gower Cheesemongers on Baltimore Avenue has managed to squeeze about a million varieties of fromage into that tiny spot next to Café Azafrán, while at the other end of Baltimore Avenue, the affable brothers Bascio recently opened Frank & Louie’s Italian Specialties.

Around the corner on Rehoboth Avenue, Joy Quinn just unlocked her third installation of The Spice & Tea Exchange. Corner Grille’s Greek chef George Vrentzos and his daughter Irene are proud of their new dining room all decked out in brightly Hellenic blue and white. They call it the Banannies Room. Do you know why?

Finally! I can see my computer screen again. Thanks for helping me with my spring cleaning. Now get out there and eat!