Taco Reho is permitted to sell alcohol on an outdoor patio at its restaurant on Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach. It is also allowed to have live music both on the patio and inside the restaurant.
Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner Jacqueline Mette granted the requests after a June 15 public hearing where Taco Reho faced opposition from neighbors in the adjacent Maplewood development.
Taco Reho founder Billy Lucas said the intention is to have a wet bar with five seats facing Route 1. The outdoor bar area would have four external speakers to allow for live music performances on the patio; the speakers would be built to withstand weather. Taco Reho also revised its floor plan to allow for live music inside the restaurant. Lucas said live music fits in with the restaurant’s overall music-centric concept, which includes concert posters on the walls, and the exterior is painted to look like a Marshall amplifier. Lucas said he intended to only have live music outside four times per year. He said he was not intending to have a bar scene, but the wet bar and live music would enhance the dining experience.
Taco Reho’s application was protested by 29 people in Maplewood, which backs up to the restaurant. Those protesting did not object to indoor music or alcoholic beverage service on the patio, but did object to the outdoor speakers. Speaking for the protestors were Maplewood residents Mary Ellen Hassett, Michael Hayes and Angel Kerrigan.
Hassett said there are 178 homeowners in Maplewood, and that they were happy when Taco Reho opened, but the music and the noise that would come with it is a bridge too far. Hassett said Taco Reho previously had plans for outdoor music that Maplewood residents were prepared to protest, but those plans were dropped in order to open the restaurant. She said she believes Taco Reho’s customer experience will be enhanced by its menu and service, not through live music.
“We wish Taco Reho the best as a business, but not as a concert venue,” Hassett said. She said Taco Reho should have live music only inside or erect a fence or barrier to drown out the sound from the speakers.
Kerrigan said the noise from the music, which would be enhanced with amplification by the musicians, would ruin the peace and quiet of Maplewood. Lucas said live music would end at 9 p.m., but Kerrigan said she hoped Lucas would not pursue outdoor live music at all.
Hayes said residents had tried to reach out to Lucas to meet about the speakers, but they did not get a response. Lucas said the speakers would be angled down and attempts would be made to mitigate the sound, but the speakers were necessary in order to hear the music with the highway nearby. He said the intention is to only have acoustic acts, not bands.
In her decision, Mette said the protestors' concerns were hypothetical and did not rise to the level of a substantial objection. She said Taco Reho has met state statute requirements to operate a wet bar and have live music. However, she also said Lucas should meet with his neighbors to assure them the speakers and music would not affect their peace and welfare.