Outdoor dining at its best

April 22, 2022

One of the (very) thin silver linings around the dark cloud that our restaurants have endured for more than two years is the increase in outdoor dining venues. Indeed, my conservative estimate is that there are at least 130 spots in the Cape Region where you can dine out – outside.

As you might expect in a family-friendly resort, mid-priced eateries offer the greatest number of outdoor dining choices. And one of the best is Cultured Pearl with its water-filled al fresco extravaganza. It’s fun to nibble overtop potential sushi swimming below you. And don’t forget the nearby Avenue-side dining area at Fins Fish House right next to Catchers.

Remember Cloud 9, Lula Brazil and G Rehoboth? See what the owners of the new Sussex Public House have done with the back patio. Near the Boardwalk on Wilmington Avenue is Yolanda Pineda’s Mariachi restaurant where a seat on the elevated front porch comes with an ocean view. Just across the street is one of Rehoboth’s best-kept secrets, Zogg’s. This newly remodeled taste of Key West punctuates an outdoor tiki bar with live music in season, burgers and fried alligator – along with the largest selection of rum at the beach.

On the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, JAM Bistro’s front-porch hi-tops provide a panoramic view of the party life. Across the street, Rich Steele is getting ready to start up his amazing paella feasts on the back patio at Café Azafran. Give ‘em a call to be a part of this one-of-a-kind, reservations-only treat. In that same block is the popular outdoor patio at DiFebo’s (perfect for people-watching!). There’s always a build-your-own sandwich waiting for you on the covered deck at Arena’s in Village by the Sea. One of the new(er) kids in town is Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits in the old a(MUSE.) spot on Baltimore Avenue. They’ve made that little dining area one of the coziest go-to spots on that party-central block.

Sandy toes on a warm day can call for food acquired through a window. Maya Contractor and her French-speaking crew at the tucked-away Café Papillon in Penny Lane (between Rehoboth and Wilmington avenues) whomp up authentic crepes at her in-season-only noshery. About a half-block to the east, hurricanes and nor’easters have tried to put Gus & Gus’ Place out of business, but it’s going to take more than that to move this long-time beach-eats favorite. Slightly west is the elevated dining area at Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen & Bourbon Bar. Where else can you enjoy an aerial view of First and The Avenue while digging into a Frito Pie? Sidewalk dining has really taken off at Blackwall at the Beach on the ocean block of The Avenue – especially on the first Sunday of every month when they dish up brunch with a side of live jazz. While you’re strolling downtown RB, don’t forget Purple Parrot’s biergarten, Cilantro’s two patios, the extensive outdoor extravaganza at Somewhere and of course, the huge deck at Aqua Grill.

Love upscale dining in the sun and under the stars? Back Porch Café is open well into October, and the actual back porch at the Back Porch serves up breezy sunsets – and an amazing Sunday brunch. Victoria’s on the Boardwalk is also a good bet for upscale bites and unobstructed ocean views. Out on The Highway, we can’t forget the flickering outdoor dining room at Michy’s Relaxed Dining. While we’re out there on the (sorta) open road, it seems only right to mention the al fresco experiences at Big Chill Surf Cantina’s Smashmouth Burgers, Bethany Blues, Atlantic Social, Fins Ale House, Chaps Pit Beef, Touch of Italy, Arena’s, and Bushels Crab House. In Dewey, you can dine in the breeze at Gary’s, Woody’s, Jimmy’s, Nalu, the Rudder, Sunrise, The Starboard and Lighthouse.

It’s springtime and we’re at the beach! So grab your knife, fork, crocheted bib and maybe a sweater to enjoy our long list (waaayyy longer than what I mentioned here) of outdoor breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Bon appétit, y’all.

Bob Yesbek writes and talks beach eats nonstop. He can be reached at

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

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