Staying on top of restaurant news in coastal Sussex County isn’t easy. Each season brings a new surge of eateries to the mix, adding to the ever growing list of dining options at the beach. There are plans for a few more places in the works (like a SoDel Concepts brewpub), but here are some new restaurants that already have or soon will open for business.
Gilligan’s Bar & Grill opened in Milton on March 1. This is the second location for owner Cheryl Tilton, who rebuilt the original Gilligan’s on Lewes’ waterfront in 2017. The Milton site has a more casual vibe that is bound to appeal to many full-time residents the area. The menus differ, but the colossal crab cake is still the star on both. Gilligan’s is near Po’ Boys Creole and The Backyard, giving locals three tasty choices within walking distance of each other.
200 Broadkill Rd, Milton • 664-2874
Take Route 24 a few miles inland and you’ll find Plate & Palette in the heart of downtown Millsboro. Located in a former bank, the restaurant is owned by chef Frank Dubinski, who polished his skills at the clubhouse in Bridgeville’s Heritage Shores and Fins Ale House & Raw Bar in Berlin, Maryland.
303 Main St., Millsboro • 663-9992
Chaps Famous Pit Beef recently opened next to Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant at Holland Glade Road and Route 1. The original business started in 1987 in the parking lot of a Southwest-themed nightclub in Baltimore, hence the name “Chaps.” But there’s more to ponder than the name. What exactly is pit beef? In short, it’s Baltimore’s version of barbecue. Bottom round roast, cut from the hindquarters, is trimmed and sprinkled with a dry rub containing herbs and spices. After sitting overnight, it goes into a pit of 400-to-500-degree burning hardwood charcoal. Today the restaurant also offers turkey, corned beef, burgers and ham—all in an array of creative combinations. Because the menu is dizzying, look online before you go.
19791 Coastal Hwy. • Rehoboth Beach 727-5284
Speaking of inland, with so many communities west of Route 1, residents and tourists often venture into Georgetown, now home to The Counting House Restaurant & Pub in the old Brick Hotel. Co-owner and chef Bill Clifton is making headlines for challenging celebrity chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network TV Show “Beat Bobby Flay.” You can watch the dual on May 2, but try the Milford native’s cooking anytime.
18 The Circle, Georgetown • 856-1836
Nalu in Rehoboth Beach is also hiring for its second location, which is on Rehoboth Avenue. It’s not hard to find; the old bank building now sports a thatched roof. Inside you can ride the wave (a mural) with your eyes and dine at surfboard-shaped tables. The restaurant, which has the same menu as the Dewey site, is scheduled to open April 9.
41 Rehoboth Ave. • 278-7960
Ristorante Zebra is now Sazio, which is part of Big Fish Restaurant Group. Not surprisingly, the restaurant will highlight seafood. However, a new pizza oven offers numerous possibilities for roasting and toasting. The restaurant is expected to open in May.
32 Lake Ave., Rehoboth
After a water leak caused significant damage at The Buttery, owner Wilson Gates is changing concepts. The Second Street Tavern will blend the elegance of the iconic restaurant, located in a Victorian mansion, with the relaxed vibe that today’s young diners demand. How? The layout of adjoining rooms lets him set different moods. Also, look for an expanded beverage list. The restaurant is hiring now, so an opening should be right around the corner.
102 Second St., Lewes • 645-7755
If all goes as planned, Zoca, a Mexican eatery, will open in downtown Bethany Beach this spring. The restaurant represents a triple-play by Danio Somoza, the executive chef of 99 Sea Level—also in Bethany. Somoza, his wife Gabby, brother Enrique and sister-in-law Taryn own Harvest Tide Steakhouse, which is located near Lewes Beach. Zoca will similarly be a family-owned restaurant.
98 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach