Venture out to some hidden culinary gems

August 3, 2017

Though we do love our local restaurants and bars, sometimes it's fun to crank up the Stutz Bearcat, don the leather cap and the matching goggles, and take to the road. One can become peckish on the highways and byways, but fear not: There are some not-so-far-away eateries that will satisfy.

The historic town of Seaford, Delaware actually lays claim to what is considered to be the best French restaurant in the state. Bon Appetit has occupied the same spot on High Street for a long time, and weekend reservations are still the holy grail of fine dining. Fresh flowers, lace tablecloths, candlelight and excellent cuisine make Bon Appetit the dining spot of choice for anyone who appreciates good food and service. It's not that long a drive, but I still urge to you get reservations.

If you drive through Fenwick Island and blink, you will miss One Coastal. And you'll be sorry you did. This bustling little eatery is nestled in a strip center on Fenwick Island between Quiet Storm and the Fenwick Bike Shop on the east side of Coastal Highway. They're making waves while some aging eateries coast along; resting only on past laurels. It's time for new and upbeat places that aren't burned out. And Carlie & Scott's One Coastal is leading the way. I knew I was going to like this place when I read on the menu: "No Amex. No substitutions. No parties larger than 8 [they'd fill the place!]. No general grumpiness." Check out One Coastal. Say hi to Carlie (she'll probably do it first). You will go back.

A couple of minutes west of Fenwick on Rt. 54 is the always reliable Catch 54. A good burger, excellent fish 'n' chips, great fried oysters and shrimp 'n' grits are served alongside some of the best views here at the beach. Multiple dining rooms and bars make this a place that can be packed to the gills but not feel like it.

Millsboro is about 15 or so minutes west of the intersection of Rt. 24 and Coastal Highway. There are actually three spots in town that are different from one another, and they all serve up good vittles in their own way. You don't want to miss The Pint with its Scottish/Irish accent and equally hearty menu. The Scottish Egg and the Boxty are the things to get. One very short block west is Larry McQuay's popular Georgia House with straight-ahead comfort food served in a spotless, friendly atmosphere. Get the fried chicken. Personally, I can't go without getting the club sandwich.

Across the street from Georgia House is Josh & Jess Wiggins' Blue Water Grill. No pretense there, either. Hometown food and atmosphere make this place a good pick for lunch and dinner. The crab balls appetizer and the fried oyster po'boy will leave you smiling.

Moving northeast to Milton (and speaking of po'boys), Mike Clampitt's tiny Po'Boys Creole & Fresh Catch is another spot where getting a seat is akin to winning the lottery. This Cajun/Creole spot is about as down-to-earth as you can get. I'm one of the few to order Mike's gumbo bowl as an appetizer and then a cup of gumbo for dessert. (Don't judge, lest ye be judged.) By the way, Po'Boys' lunch specials are always good.

Step away from your email box! I know I missed a boatload of places. But my intrepid editor cracks the whip when it comes to using my allotment of ink. So employ this as a travel guide and find your own gems too. It'll be fun. And the beach will be waiting when you return.

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