Change Le Mer

Jay Caputo takes over a classic in Rehoboth Beach.

Photographs by Keith Mosher

Change La Mer
Jay Caputo takes over a classic.

Sound the horns and fetch the holy oil. Next summer we may coronate a new king of Rehoboth cuisine. Jay Caputo, owner of highly touted Espuma Restaurant and Martini Bar, bought classic Chez La Mer, giving him dominion over two of the beach’s most decorated places. He won’t mess with Chez La Mer’s signature bouillabaisse or the filet with peppercorn sauce. But Caputo will use more ingredients from local farmers in new salads and reinvent the cocktail menu for the new mahogany and copper bar. He’s saving the really big changes for winter, when the 28-year old French restaurant at Second Street and Wilmington Avenue will get a new kitchen and maybe a new name. ‘stay tuned,” Caputo says. “Hopefully our customers will be pleasantly surprised. Caputo’s flagship Espuma is for sale, he says. But until (and if) it sells, he’ll run both restaurants, which are a block apart. He even went and bought a scooter to facilitate his 12 trips back and forth each day. “The food and menu at Espuma is always evolving, so I’ll maintain my focus,” he says. “Just because I bought Chez La Mer, it doesn’t mean I won’t put effort into both. If Espuma doesn’t sell, I’ll be happy as a clam. For now I see this as just another creative outlet.”-Matt Amis

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