John Donato and Twain Gonzales opened The Buttery in 1994 in what’s now the Hotel Rodney. In 1999, they moved to a circa-1894 Victorian mansion at the corner of Savannah Road and Second Street. The sweeping side porch remains the preferred dining spot.
102 Second St., Lewes • 645-7755
Susan Fluharty started Lazy Susan’s in 1984 in a shack on Route 1. Customers placed their order at a window and ate crabs at a picnic table. Business took off, and Lazy Susan’s has moved twice since then. For many longtime beach-lovers, no trip to the coast is complete without cracking some crabs here.
18289 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 645-5115
In 1989, 1776 was a Colonial-themed establishment with costumed servers and $17.76 prix fixe meals. Steak became the main attraction in the 1990s, and that’s still the case today.
4590 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach • 645-9355
The café opened in 1974 in a former hotel with a backyard. Fresh from a tour of Europe, where people dine alfresco, the owners envisioned dining under the stars. Guests were initially reluctant to leave the air conditioning. The al fresco dining, however, put the café on the map, and so has the food.
59 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth • 227-3674
In Rehoboth Beach, go old school at this breakfast hotspot, which opened in 1968 in the old Robert Lee. Still owned by the Tsoukalas family, the Robin Hood is best known for Greek omelets, made with spinach and feta. Don’t forget the scrapple.
54 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach • 227-0770
When Susan Townley Wood opened The Cultured Pearl in 1993, she launched a much-needed sushi scene by the sea. The restaurant tripled in size to meet the demand. It’s now located in a 22,000-square-foot space in the old Quillen’s Hardware store.
301 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-8493
Opened in 1981, the Blue Moon is part fine dining and part nightclub, with the activity picking up after the dinner hour. Chef Lion Garner has been in the kitchen since 2006. He, wife Meghan now own the restaurant with Tim Ragan and Randy Haney.
35 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6515
Gus & Gus
Gus & Gus Place, which opened in 1956 on the Rehoboth Boardwalk is the type of eatery that once punctuated urban street corners in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a luncheonette, coffee shop and a Greek diner, all rolled into one slender space with window service, a dining room and an ocean view.
15 S. Boardwalk, Rehoboth Beach • 227-3329
Now in its third generation of family owners, Louie’s is named for Lazaros “Louie” Gouvas, a Greek immigrant who opened the pizza place in 1974. While Louie’s is best known for pizza, which you can order from the window or at a table, the tagline is “Home of the Grinder.”
11 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6002
Pizza at the beach was an anomaly when Dominick Pulieri, his sister and brother-in-law opened Grotto Pizza in 1960. Today, pizza is ubiquitous, and the Grotto name is well known. There are multiple locations, but fans maintain that the downtown Rehoboth site slices the best pizza.
This landmark opened in 1971, but only after owner Nick Caggiano Sr. perfected his recipe—and upped the demand—by selling his pizza out of his house on weekends.
8 N. First St., Rehoboth Beach • 227-6211
71 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach
Located in an old pizza place, Sedona was the dream of Jonathan Spivak, who was a first-time restaurateur when he opened it in 1993. He passed the torch to longtime general manager Marian Parrott in 2008.
26 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Bethany Beach • 539-1200
This establishment, located one block from Ocean City, has been a coastal landmark since 1962 when it was founded by Casher Evans, Mabel Evans and Edgar Rickards. The recipes, including the closely guarded one for crab cakes, have been passed down from owner to owner.
100 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 539-2500
Jeff and Paula Mumford were celebrating their first wedding anniversary in 1970 when Warren D. Johnson, owner of Warren’s Family Restaurant in Fenwick Island, called to offer them the 10-year-old restaurant. Jeff had worked summers here since he was 14. The Mumfords, who bought the restaurant in 1971 and renamed it in 1983, never looked back. You’ll find plenty of seafood, but Johnson was a turkey farmer, so poultry still rules the roost.
1406 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island • 539-7156