After nearly a year of delays, caused entirely by COVID-19, Rehoboth Beach restaurateurs Darryl and Joe Ciarlante-Zuber are expecting an early February opening for their new Rehoboth Beach restaurant, Square One.
During an interview Jan. 12, Joe said the plan was to open April 1, 2020, but Darryl ended up in the hospital a few days before with COVID-19. He spent 30 days at Beebe, 23 of them on a ventilator, said Joe.
“If it weren’t for Beebe, Darryl would not be here with us on this earth,” said Joe, heaping praise on the local hospital.
Joe said there was some talk about opening in a limited capacity after Darryl made it home, but ultimately, the decision was made to hold off because there were so many unknowns last summer.
“2020 was just not the year to open Square One,” said Joe.
The name Square One hearkens back to when the two men opened Dos Locos in the very same space on North First Street in 2001. A few years later, Dos Locos moved to its current location on Rehoboth Avenue. Joe and Darryl sold that restaurant a few years ago and then opened Diego’s Hideaway, now Diego’s Bar Nightclub, on Rehoboth Avenue Extended in 2018.
Also joining Joe and Darryl in the Square One adventure is friend, long-time employee and now business partner Eddie Adam and his wife Laura. Eddie worked with Darryl behind the bar at Dos Locos for many years and has been a partner in Diego's with his wife for the past three years, said Joe. Eddie will continue to run Diego's and assist in the partnership of Square One Grill, he said.
To begin, Square One’s menu will be to-go, but the restaurant interior has been modified to allow for 30 percent seating, said Joe. A chef, sous chef and some front-end staff have been hired, he said.
Describing the menu as whimsical, Joe said there will be eight entrees to choose from, a customizable charcuterie board, appetizers and 30 martini flavors. He said the menu will also feature a couple of favorites from when Joe and Darryl owned Dos Locos – crab quesadillas and crab enchiladas.
“Customers have been asking for us to bring them back, and it ties back to the Square One theme,” said Joe.
As for Darryl, he is still recovering from his fight with COVID and not able to do the physical work related to running a restaurant, said Joe. Darryl usually tends the bar, but Joe said he can’t be on his feet right now for much more than an hour without being in a lot of pain.
“It’s OK. He’s here, and that’s what matters,” said Joe. “He’s supporting me and if I have a question, he’s there.”
For more information on Square One, 10 N. First St., go to squareonegrill.com, call 302-226-6368 or go to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the correct phone number and with acknowledging business partners Eddie and Laura Adams.