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Publisher’s View on The Culinary Coast

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I like food,and I like to dine out, so when I visit my beach house in Fenwick Island, I enjoy the local restaurants.

Thirty years ago, if I wanted something more than pizza or burgers, I had to go to Rehoboth Beach, which, with classics like The Back Porch Café and the Blue Moon, was the epicenter of fine dining on Delmarva. It was fun to watch the scene grow to include restaurants like the long-gone LaLa Land, which constantly pushed the envelope of what fine food could be, and others like it.

Lately I find more reasons to stay close to home at the beach. I’ve been a longtime fan of David Twining’s Nantuckets restaurant in Fenwick Island, which blends a comfortable, casual atmosphere with outstanding food. Twenty years ago, it was pretty much the only game in town. Now I can also enjoy Just Hooked and, on Lighthouse Road, Twining’s Lobster Shanty and sister restaurants Catch 54 and Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria.

I’m just a few minutes’ drive from Bethany, where, since the old DiFebo’s sandwich shop started serving excellent modern Italian fare, more terrific places have sprung up, like Off the Hook. To established places like Sedona, The Parkway and Bluecoast Seafood Grill, add restaurants like Patsy’s and, most recently, 14 Global, and you’ll see a mini-Rehoboth scene in the making.

I could go on about other favorites, classics like The Buttery and Striper Bites in Lewes. But it’s worth noting one of the biggest trends in beach dining: ethnic restaurants.

Thirty years ago, ethnic dining at the beach barely existed. Then came a Italian pioneers like La Rosa Negra in Lewes and Adriatico in Rehoboth. In 1991, Dos Locos opened as a burrito stand on Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth. With its great success came a big, full-service restaurant on the avenue and a slew of followers, places like Mariachi, the newer Xilantro and Agave. With great Latino-Mexican places came other ethnic food, like Thai and Chinese—and not bad takeout, but excellent, authentic food. That is a very good trend, indeed.

Which is all a long way of saying that what started as a great dining scene has only gotten better. Read all about our Culinary Coast in this summer’s Beach Guide. Each year brings new places. I look forward to trying as many as I can.

Also in this issue, you’ll read about the amazing success of the Firefly Music Festival, which happens this month in Dover. We’re impressed not only by the economic boon to the state, but Delaware’s new cred as a popular culture mecca—at least for a few days each summer. Writer Matt Amis does a great job of explaining how a bunch of out-of-towners made Delaware cool in “Red Frog Rocks”.

As we reflect on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we welcome a new writer to Delaware Today. Former News Journal reporter Kevin Noonan pieces together bits of his father’s experience on that day in a powerful story. We also welcome Jeff Smith as the art director for this issue. Jeff is not a newcomer to Delaware having worked as art director for such esteemed advertising agencies as Barron Associates and Dale Southam and Associates. Although Jeff spent many years of his career in Delaware he got his start with Ohio Magazine. I hope you enjoy the issue and would love to hear your feedback at rmartinelli@delawaretoday.com.

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