What I Ate at the Beach: Éclairs, Crab and a Whole Bunch of Appetizers

Don’t miss these gems along the Culinary Coast.


The restaurant scene at the Delaware beaches has grown to such an extent that you can find a flavor, price point or dish to meet virtually any need. For proof, consider some of my recent excursions along the coast. 


Alfresco unwinding

Heirloom just added a patio that wraps around one corner of the Victorian house-turned-restaurant. We snagged a seat with a view of the Zwaanendael Museum and the Zwaanedael Club.

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When owner Meghan Lee started the restaurant, the kitchen was run by Chef Jordan Miller, who has since moved to Utah. Chef Matthew Kern is now producing the photo-worthy dishes, and standards haven’t slipped one bit. The highlight of our visit? A mound of sweet Chesapeake crab topped with a 60-minute egg. (No, that’s not a typo—it’s slow-cooked that long at a steady temperature!) The crab was artfully surrounded by charred cucumber and decorated with potato crisps. A splash of peach vinegar provided a seasonal touch.

Heirloom’s Chesapeake Crab & Egg//Courtesy of Pam George


RELATED: Q&A with Chef Matt Kern of Heirloom in Lewes

Lunch on a rainy afternoon

A visit to the the porch bar at Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant in Lewes gave us a nice view of the canal, regardless of the weather. I’m fond of the steamed clams here, which come in a light, garlicky broth, and the local beers, including 16 Mile Curvy Blonde. 

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Looking for a more upscale lunch? Fine-dining restaurants that are open in the afternoon allow diners to try some exceptional cuisine without breaking the bank. One of the best deals is at Rehoboth’s Back Porch Café, where the turkey burger (no bun) has a Middle Eastern twist. I also recommend the fish cake. 

In Lewes, Kindle is open for lunch during the season—and although this restaurant has some of the most inventive creations in town, the half-pound burger is the dish you don’t want to miss. It’s made with equal parts short rib and chuck, topped with applewood-smoked bacon and served with a choice of sides. (The side salad is a hefty portion, and the lively champagne vinaigrette is a sophisticated yet simple touch.) I worked off the burger with a shopping expedition on Second Street and a beach stroll. 



Dinner and a show

Before a show at the Bottle & Cork, dinner at the Rusty Rudder is a good choice for a variety of reasons. We paid the $10 parking fee, then used the $10 coupon patrons get in return to dine on the deck. We made a meal out of appetizers, which included crispy golden rockfish fingers, another round of steamed clams in a buttery broth, and a duo of Latin-inspired dips: black bean-and-corn, salsa and guacamole. While we snacked, a duo performed covers by Blues Traveler and Tom Petty. With our car already parked in a secure spot, we strolled down the sidewalk to see Lucinda Williams rock the Cork.

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A sandwich made with fixings from Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli//Courtesy of Pam George

Sunday supper

For a picnic on Lewes Beach, we grabbed a fat sandwich big enough for two from Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli, which opened this year on Route 1 near the intersection with Old Landing Road. We built our own creation with turkey, turkey pastrami, Swiss cheese and rye bread, and topped it with some of the coleslaw side we purchased.

And if you’re dining at Rosenfeld’s, you must try the éclairs—which, like the sandwiches, are big enough for two. They’re sinfully delicious, which is what dining at the beach is all about.

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