Seasoned professionals are poised to adapt on short notice

August 24, 2017

I love well-run restaurants that operate on the seemingly obvious premise that there's more to quality dining than just positioning a plate in the vicinity of one's mouth. Several high-end restaurants here in the Cape Region fall into that category, and one of the most notable is the Back Porch Café in downtown Rehoboth Beach. I had an experience there a while ago that left me with an even better impression of the place.

I was trying to wow some out-of-town guests (a bunch of lawyer friends attending a State Bar Association confab) by securing reservations at the Back Porch Café on a Friday night. Somehow I made that happen – without a lawyer – and the perpetually accommodating Keith Fitzgerald even offered us al fresco placement on the upper deck. Ahhh! The holy grail of elevated Rehoboth munching! The view across the classic Rehoboth rooftops is the stuff that photographers dream of.

We were just about finished our entrées when a beautiful rainbow appeared over the ocean. Diners ooh'd and ahh'd, and it seemed as if the evening was enchanted (in spite of the lawyers). Then a dark, nasty cloud appeared out of nowhere. No sooner had the oohing and ahhing stopped than it started to rain. Hard. And that's when the Back Porch Café sprang into action.

An army of servers, bussers, bartenders and even an owner or two descended (or in this case, ascended, since we were upstairs) on the outside dining area, scooping up plates and drinks and quietly directing guests downstairs to specific tables. Before we knew it, there we were: Seated in the front dining room (often kept vacant for this very contingency) replete with glistening white tablecloths, clean silverware, new napkins, flickering candles and dessert orders being taken. In their 43 seasons here in Rehoboth Beach, I'm guessing that this has happened more than once at the Back Porch Café.

The storm raged for about 20 minutes, even producing an unsettling (but photogenic) offshore waterspout. But onshore we were dry, cozy, and none the worse for wear as we enjoyed a round of Back Porch Café Flaming Coffees.

Did I mention that I love well-run restaurants?

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