It’s a few hours into an Oct. 22 soft opening for Thompson Island Brewing Company and Matt Patton, the restaurant’s director of operations, is standing at the far corner of the newly minted bar with a smile.
“Everything is going good,” said Patton. “It’s exciting to see all the hard work come to fruition.”
Thompson Island Brewing Company, a 250-seat brewpub off Route 1 in Rehoboth, is the 12th restaurant for SoDel Concepts. It’s located immediately south of the company’s Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Raw Bar, which opened in 2017.
Patton, who started working at SoDel Concepts in 2013, has been involved with every step of construction with both restaurants. He said the opening of Thompson Island is a years-long vision he’s shared with SoDel Concepts President Scott Kammerer and SoDel Concepts Founder Matt Haley, who died from injuries sustained in a 2014 motorcycle accident while on a humanitarian trip in India.
“During my very first meeting with them, they asked me where I saw myself in five years, and I told them I would be running a brewpub,” said Patton. “We’re a year late, but I think Matt would be excited and proud to see what’s become of that conversation.”
Thompson Island is SoDel’s first brewpub. Patton said the company partnered with Pennsylvania-based Tröegs so they would be making good beer from day one. He said he’s not worried about entering a marketplace that includes a number of well-known and well-liked breweries. In the U.S., he said, Delaware is No. 2 in beer consumption per capita, but only No. 30 in beer production.
“There’s plenty of room for more beer,” he said. “Plus, we’re proud to work with and serve the other great beer that’s produced around here.”
SoDel restaurants are known for their food. Patton said Thompson Island has a number of people working in the kitchen who have been head chefs at their other restaurants. Thompson Island’s food offerings will not disappoint, he said.
“We’ve assembled a culinary dream team of our best chefs,” he said. “They wanted to work here. They all like beer and they put their egos aside to make this work.”
Thompson Island opened to the public Oct. 24. Patton smiled when asked about opening up the weekend of the annual Sea Witch Festival, which will bring more than 100,000 people to Rehoboth Beach over the weekend.
“We’ll be fine,” he said. “The staff is experienced, and we thrive under pressure.”
Patton said Thompson Island will be open year-round and for the first couple of weeks, while kinks are being worked out, the hours of operation will be 4 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Soon, he said, the restaurant will add lunch hours.
For more information on Thompson Island Brewing Company, 30133 Veterans Way in Rehoboth, call 302-226-4677 or go to thompsonislandbrewing.com.