Staying on top of restaurant news in coastal Sussex County isn’t easy. Each season brings a surge of new eateries to the mix, while others get swept away. Here is a primer to keep you up to date.
The restaurant scene in Milton has been growing, both in town and on the outskirts. For instance, Dogfish HeadCraft Brewery added a new kitchen to its tasting room to create beer-friendly foods with DFH brews.
511 Chestnut St., Milton•(888) 8dogfish
On Del. 16, surrounded by farm fields, Gilligan’s Bar & Grill opened on March 1. This is the second location for owner Cheryl Tilton, who owns Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant in Lewes. The Milton restaurant is not as focused on seafood.
200 Broadkill Road, Milton • 664-2874
Closer to Del. 1, Milton said goodbye to A Different Kitchen, formerly located in the Paynter’s Mill development. The Asian fusion concept didn’t find a footing, despite Chef Mary Gaffney’s considerable talents.
Lewes landed on the nation’s culinary map when Heirloom’s chef, Matt Kern, recently received a James Beard nomination. Now the restaurant has some culinary company.
For more than a year, construction has been underway in the former Ocean Retreat Day Spa. (The purple facade is thankfully gone.) When it opens this summer, Raas will fuse Indian, Japanese and Thai cuisine. Chef Gyanendra “GG” Gupta, who first came to Delaware for the MidAtlantic Wine & Food Festival, has outfitted the new kitchen with a tandoor oven and teriyaki grill but expect to see some British items in the mix.
210 Savannah Road, Lewes
The 25-year-old Buttery has been a fixture on Savannah Road and Second Street since original owners John Donato and Twain Gonzales moved it from its original location (now the Rose & Crown) to the Trader Mansion site in 1999. The newly christened Second Street Tavern has rooms for traditional dining, but guests can head to the plush chairs and sofas to share appetizers, sip cocktails and enjoy the expanded draft list.
102 Second St., Lewes•645-7755
For years, savvy foodies turned onto Del. 24 from Del. 1 to pop into El Dorado for arguably the best fish tacos in Delaware. No more. Owner Aquiles Demerutis has decided to move on. All, however, is not lost. Dos Locos, headquartered in Rehoboth Beach, chose the site for a second location. After renovations, the new Dos Locos has a bar and the famous stone grill option for DIY cooking at the table.
A few miles west on Del. 24 is the new Taormina Square Shopping Center in Millsboro, which has three new restaurants.
Yellowfin’s Bar & Grill is the second location for Josh Nallon, a Selbyville-area native, who opened the Yellowfin’s near his home to offer a year-round restaurant in the area. The menu has a lengthy list of items sure to please non-seafood fans, including burgers, open-faced turkey or roast beef sandwiches, tacos, soups and salads.
24930 John J. Williams Hwy., Millsboro•945-3467
Brick Works Brewing and Eats owner Kevin Reading is banking on the name recognition and the continued interest in craft beer to bring customers to the new shopping center site.
36932 Silicato Drive, Millsboro•508-2523
Two Meatballs Deli is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the owners, brothers Vinnie and Artie Ercolino, who are originally from New Barbara L. Elliott York. The counter-service restaurant sells pizza made in a Neapolitan-style oven, pasta sandwiches, coffee and pastries.
36932 Silicato Drive, Unit 8, Millsboro • 945-1900
In downtown Millsboro, The Georgia House Restaurant is closed. You can still get your crab soup and strawberry-pretzel salad fix at the locations in Milford, Georgetown and Selbyville.
Plate & Palette opened in the former bank that recently housed The Pint Pub. The new restaurant is owned by chef Frank Dubinski, who polished his skills at the clubhouse in Heritage Shores in Bridgeville and Fins Ale House & Raw Bar in Berlin, Maryland.
303 Main St., Millsboro•663-9992
Restaurateurs now see the advantage of opening a restaurant on Del. 1, where there’s plenty of parking and hungry shoppers.
Shrimpy’s Bar and Grill—an offshoot of Shrimpy’s Snack Shack—occupies the Midway Shopping Center storefront vacated by Hooked Seafood and Martini Bar. The footprint is the same, right down to the bar and raised dais for entertainment. The menu is heavy on seafood, although there are steak and burger options.
18585 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach•313-5124
Crust & Craft, also in the Midway area, was purchased by SoDel Concepts, which has put some additions on the menu with more to come. Don’t worry, the pizzas are still the showstopper, there are familiar faces—including manager Katie Sherman—and the monthly Brunch Club remains the hot place to be on a Sunday.
18701 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 313-5029
It wasn’t all smooth sailing on Coastal Highway for Jimmy’s Grille in Rehoboth, which opened with much fanfare—and fried chicken—in 2016. Outlet Liquors consumed the space. The Dewey Beach Jimmy’s is still open.
First the bad news. Cold Stone Creamery on Rehoboth Avenue, Fuego to Go on First Street, Beach Nomad Brews on Baltimore Avenue and 208 Social on Second Street have all closed.
Now the good news. The Pines is open on Baltimore Avenue with two floors of fun. The dining room, which has a patio, is on the first floor. The second-floor lounge has a balcony. The restaurant bills itself as a modern tavern—with an emphasis on modern. Take shoestring fries with grilled watermelon ketchup and the ginseng-and-honey-brined pork chop.
56 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach•567-2726
Ristorante Zebra is now Sazio Coastal Italian Seafood Kitchen. The restaurant is owned by Big Fish Restaurant Group, which certainly knows something about fish. But you’ll also find wood-fired pizza and pasta.
32 Lake Ave., Rehoboth Beach
Big Fish Restaurant Group has also taken over the management of Obie’s by the Sea. The redesigned menu focuses more on fresh seafood and less on burgers. Entertainment is in the works.
1 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6261
Not far from that seaside spot is Nalu Hawaiian Surf Bar and Grill, which opened in spring. The concept, which started in Dewey Beach, embraces everything Hawaiian, from the thatched roof over the door to the mural of a monstrous wave in the dining room. The same menu is at both sites.
41 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 278-7960
With less available commercial space than its northern neighbors, there’s not much turnover in the narrow section from Bethany Beach to Fenwick Island. Consequently, new restaurants are warmly welcomed.
Zoca, a Mexican eatery, opened in spring with a boardwalk view. The restaurant represents a triple play by Danio Somoza, who is the executive chef of 99 Sea Level, also in Bethany. He and wife, Gabby, brother Enrique and sister-in-law Taryn own Harvest Tide Steakhouse in Lewes near Lewes Beach. Danio and Enrique are originally from El Salvador, and you can expect some authentic dishes from Central and South America and some family-friendly items.
98 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 616-2120
The Heidaway is about eating healthy and local without sacrificing flavor in a minimalistic but striking space. Burgers are made using Reid Angus beef from Frankford, and produce is from area farms. Simple syrups for the bar menu are made by hand. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items are clearly marked.
97 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach • 402-6474