After more than a decade in Dewey Beach, Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Grille owner Regan Derrickson is set to open a second location Tuesday, April 9, in Rehoboth Beach.
Derrickson said he’s thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at turning the ocean-block space on Rehoboth Avenue, previously home to Wilmington University, into a restaurant that can compete in a crowded market.
“There’s such a concentration of great places to eat in Rehoboth,” said Derrickson, eight days before the grand opening.
Derrickson said for a restaurant to succeed in Rehoboth, it’s a given the food and service must be good. To stand out from the crowd, he said, attention to detail must surprise customers from the moment they come in.
Derrickson bought the property in October, and he was granted a permit of compliance by Rehoboth commissioners in November. Almost immediately afterward, construction began.
The prized detail of the new restaurant is a bar fronted with lava rock and topped with an ocean-blue, 2,000-pound crystal slate that changes colors. Derrickson said the custom-made crystal top weighs enough that support beams were installed in the basement below.
Other details include Hawaiian-themed murals of rain forests and ocean waves by local artist Andrew Dera on the 16-foot-tall walls, 9-foot-tall windows fronting Rehoboth Avenue, a hostess table with fish tank, palm fronds stretching from floor to ceiling, and surfboard tables.
Derrickson said a state-of-the-art audio visual system has also been installed.
“We really hope there’s some energy in here,” he said.
Some of the details not visible to customers include an elevator out back for deliveries, and a completely refurbished basement that will be used for office space, food preparation, and has a huge walk-in refrigerator.
Derrickson said the menu will offer a quality patrons in Rehoboth have grown to expect from other restaurants in the city.
Derrickson said it will be nice having two restaurants that are so close to each other, but in different market places. Other restaurant owners are in separate markets, but they have locations at the beach and in Wilmington, he said.
Derrickson said there won’t be a soft opening, and after opening at 4 p.m. the first day, he said the restaurant will be open at 11 a.m. every day. He said he didn’t want to put an exact time on when the restaurant will close.
“We’ll stay open as long as people are here having fun,” he said.
Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Grille, 41 Rehoboth Ave., opens at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 9.