Growing up in Maine, Bob Suppies dreamed of one day owning a restaurant. Instead, he became a vice president at Luxottica, the maker of luxury and sports eyewear brands, including Ray-Ban. When the company was sold, he took an early retirement package and started to work toward his original goal.
Along with Tyler Townsend and David Gonce, Suppies is a proud co-owner of The Pines, which opened in late 2018 on Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth Beach.
The restaurant is named for a shaded section of north Rehoboth, and is located in Hobos’ old space next to Frank & Louie’s Italian Specialties. But you probably wouldn’t recognize the building, which has undergone a total renovation that took more than a year.
The Pines now has an upstairs balcony for alfresco dining in addition to a patio and an upstairs lounge and banquet space.
(FROM LEFT): TA Farms turkey chorizo over butternut cornbread with mushroom gravy and jalapeno jam; Shrimp corn dogs.//photos courtesy of Pam George
Much of the restaurant’s décor is a homage to the town, which Suppies first discovered in 1997 while living in Baltimore. “I absolutely fell in love with it,” says Suppies, who’s had a home here since 2000. There are sepia-tinted murals of beach scenes, and a honeycomb of vintage photos adorn the staircase, which was moved in the renovations to make the dining room larger and put the bar center stage.
Rosemary-smoked oyster, cooked on the grill, with cara
The partners tasked executive chef Dane Wilfong, who’s worked at the prestigious Inn at Little Washington, to bring the modern coastal tavern menu concept to life. The atmosphere alone is too sleek to conjure up a tavern sensibility, but the theme does pop up in the menu. Consider golden-brown corn dogs made with shrimp, which smelled so good when it passed that we just had to order it.
They did not disappoint.
The menu features fried chicken wings with sauce options like hot pepper, dill green chili parm or honey garlic hot sauce. Seafood pot pie is a tasty take on the old tavern classic, while comforting short ribs get a kiss of hibiscus and come with grilled shrimp.
Shared plates include fried chicken with warm potato salad and a whole fish/clam boil. I ventured into the specials territory with a nicely prepared local rockfish with creamed arugula, which exemplifies the “new American” category that Suppies says suits the restaurant.
The lounge has its own bar and a separate menu, and there’s also a nightclub vibe thanks to the grand piano parked in the corner for musicians to use. Suppies said they are still tweaking that space in order to best showcase local talent.
He is “99 percent” happy with all of their choices. However, the partners underestimated the high-decibel din that diners would create. To address this issue, The Pines recently installed the first of three phases of a sound-absorbing system.
If you’re interested in trying The Pines for Valentine’s Day, they are offering a prix fixe menu of courses for $45, $55 or $65 per person depending on the choice of entrée. Otherwise, experimental foodies should make a reservation before the season starts. This end of Baltimore Avenue is going to be busy this summer.