via Wikimedia Commons (Wpopp)
Chip Hearn is an expert when it comes to all things Dewey Beach—especially the restaurant scene. So he was as saddened as anyone when he heard about the demise of Ed’s Chicken & Crabs this week.
“It’s a big, big, big shame,” says Hearn, owner of Peppers hot sauce in Lewes. “[…] It was a Dewey microcosm. You had to have fun there.”
The business, situated along Coastal Highway in the heart of Dewey, was destroyed by fire after a car slammed into it early Tuesday. The driver was charged with DUI.
Reports say restaurant owner Ed Riggin says he will not rebuild the landmark structure.
Hearn, whose family lived a block and a half away from Ed’s Chicken & Crabs, has nothing but great memories from the times he spent at what old-school locals call “Chicken Ed’s.”
“I loved the crab concept,” Hearn says. “You could always go there and get great crabs. It was a one-of-a-kind, fun thing.”
Hearn says locals and tourists alike would sit at Ed’s and talk about anything and everything. “Everybody had fun,” he says. “It was quintessential Dewey—the attitude was, you had to have fun.”
Hearn, who once owned The Starboard, another iconic beach business not far from Chicken Ed’s, would often place special take-out orders for larger crabs. He says Riggin always obliged.
“You would call up and ask for some giant ones, and Ed would pick them out for you,” he says. “Then you would show up at the back door, and four or five other people would be doing the same thing. He loved that stuff.”
Hearn says no matter who you talked to, if the subject of Chicken Ed’s came up, everyone would say, “I was just there last week.”
He admires Riggin’s knack for running such a popular, fun-filled place for so many years.
“Ed Riggin knew everybody—he would be yelling out people’s names when they came in,” Hearn says. “Only certain kinds of people can do that. It takes a lot of dedication to do it day in and day out. It’s a real shame.”