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Where to Eat This Summer

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Once primarily populated by breakfast joints, seafood houses and the occasional white linen restaurant, dining at the Delaware beaches has become remarkably diverse. Within a fairly concentrated area, you can find a restaurant that will satisfy most cravings, and the list of what’s new this season proves the point. (If you don’t see a website, try searching on Facebook for more information.)

Seafood remains a star

Jay Caputo’s newest restaurant, Pilot Town Fish Co., has a 12-seat raw bar in addition to a regular bar, a lounge and dining room. There are the expected offerings (salmon, fish tacos, grilled mahi) and some unexpected (Jonah crab claws, skate, cod sliders). And there are plenty of options for those who don’t like seafood. (16388 Samuel Paynter Blvd., Milton, 313-5507, pilottownfish.com)

SoDel Concepts is opening a second Matt’s Fish Camp location on Del. 1 just outside Lewes in the original site of Lazy Susan’s, which moved across the street several years ago. The restaurant will feature all the items that make Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach such a destination, but there will also be Sussex County-inspired additions. The renovated space includes a 12-seat bar and raw bar. (34401 Tenley Court, Lewes, 703-6571, sodelconcepts.com)

The lobster roll at Chesapeake & Maine
in Rehoboth.

Chesapeake & Maine, in Finbar’s old space, brings the delights from the Eastern Shore and Maine to downtown Rehoboth. This is Dogfish Head’s second restaurant. The first, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, is next door and scheduled for a major transformation. Chesapeake & Maine has an oyster bar and a regular bar. Menu items, designed to complement the lengthy beer list, include lobster rolls, lobster bisque, oyster stew, seafood pho and Maryland-style crab cakes. (316 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-3600, dogfish.com/eats/chesapeake-maine/when-where.htm)

Blackwell Hitch, which has locations in Annapolis, Md., and Alexandria, Va., in spring started hiring for a Rehoboth Beach location in the old home of Irish Eyes. The menu is heavy on seafood, but there are plenty of chicken and steak options. There are also sandwiches and entrées. (52 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, theblackwellhitch.com)

The Starboard Raw was scheduled to open in spring, but given that the former Scully’s Ocean Side Café is being totally renovated, delays are inevitable. Inspired by old-fashioned raw bars, it will feature oysters, seafood and pastas. Unlike its big sister, The Starboard, food is the primary focus. (2000 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 227-9000, starboardraw.com)

Steeped in suds

Crooked Hammock Brewery is up and running on Kings Highway, and the outdoor beer garden should prove popular. The vibe and the menu are relaxed (burgers, beer mussels, Sussex clam bake, fried chicken). The four year-round brews go down easy in the heat, as well as specialty beers. (16989 Kings Hwy., Lewes, 644-7837, crookedhammockbrewery.com)

The new Revelation Craft Brewing Company will still be working on its brewpub out on Del. 9 in Belltown, but its microbrewery and tasting room should be open for business in West Rehoboth. A six-beer lineup is in the works. (19841 Central Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 561-5412)

Michael and Stephen Lucey of Ulysses Gastropub and Six Paupers Tavern fame took their show on the road and opened the Forgotten Mile Ale House, which offers a bevy of beers, including local favorites like 16 Mile, and fashionable noshes, such as cauliflower frites, a tuna banh mi, and scallops and grits. The old favorite, the Chicken Nixon sandwich, is on the menu too. (20859 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 212-2151, fmahde.com)

The Dewey Beer Co. is also new to the craft beer lineup, and it offers at least seven of its own beers on tap. Menu items such as burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, fried oysters and blackened prime rib hold their own against the brews. (2100 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach, 227-1182, deweybeerco.com)

McShea’s Beach Pub & Grille’s new owner in spring changed the name to Surfside Bar ‘N Grill, a spot for family-friendly dining (burgers, tacos and high-def TVs). (1705 Coastal Hwy, Dewey Beach, 227-7000, surfsidedewey.com)

Local brews are on tap at Burnzy’s Bar & Grill, a sports bar with 10 TVs near Sea Colony. Dig into Buffalo wings, burgers, cheesesteaks and brisket. (3544 Market Place, Bethany Beach, 829-8412, burnzys.com)

Sandwich sensations

Jetty Deli and Coffee Shop, owned by the same folks who have Burnzy’s, is entering its second season in downtown Bethany Beach. The “Delaware-style deli” features smoothies made with local farmers’ products, crab cakes and bagels, as well as delicatessen favorites such as Reubens. (97 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 616-2169)

Up in the northern beach resorts, Dagwood’s Deli, an old-fashioned Mom & Pop, recently opened in Paynter’s Mill to serve cheesesteaks, subs, breakfast items, deli sandwiches and pizza. (16388 Samuel Paynter Blvd., No. 104, Milton, 703-2621, dagwoods2go.com)

In Lewes, Patty’s second location—the first is in Georgetown—has settled into Half Full’s old space. (Half Full moved just up the street, near sister restaurant Kindle.) Along with sandwiches, there are prepared salads (chicken, pasta and grain salads, for instance), breakfast delights, cheeses and party platters. (113 Market St., Lewes, 645-9080, pattysdeli.net)

Pizza party

Like fries and fudge, pizza is must-eat beach food. The Dough Roller, which originated in Ocean City, Md., offers traditional and specialty pizzas, slices and casual food (burgers, subs, grinders and hot dogs). It also features pancakes. (Try them with fried chicken.) (44 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth, 227-1141, doughrollerrestaurants.com)

America’s Pie is as creative about pizza as many sushi spots are about their rolls. There are creations called Idaho Potato (potato, bacon and caramelized onions) and Boba Feta (mixed greens, squash, feta, lemon zest and thyme). (25 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth, 278-7946, pizzaforthepeople.com)

For a different kind of creativity, head to Crust & Craft, which in fall opened in the Midway Galleria. You can watch your artisan pizza cook in the colossal forno, visible in the open kitchen. (18701 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, 313-5029, crustandcraftrehoboth.com)

Pasta-sations

Last year, Hari Cameron opened grandpa(MAC) on Baltimore Avenue to sell pasta made on site with house-made sauces. The 15-seat restaurant also caters to vegans and those who want gluten-free options. This summer, he’ll open a larger grandpa(MAC) on Del. 1. There will be about 60 seats, beer and wine, and salads, soups and sandwiches. Until then, get a taste at the Baltimore Avenue location, which will remain open when the new restaurant debuts for downtown diners. (33 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107, grandpamac.com)

Global flavors

Though there are still no Indian restaurants at the beach, there are some new ethnic eateries. Cabanas, near Go Brit on Del. 1, features Salvadoran cuisine. The menu includes pupusas, yucca frita, shrimp burrito, beef stew, seafood stew and peppers stuffed with beef. (18388 Coastal Hwy., Lewes, 313-4398)

Taco Taco in Millville lets diners design their own tacos, which are made to order before their eyes. (35833, Atlantic Ave., Millville, 829-8024)

Zen Saigon has brought Vietnamese and other Asian flavors to Bethany Beach. Think banh mi, pho, dumplings, Thai papaya salad and Saigon fried rice. (776 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 616-1957, zensaigon.com)

The cocktail craze

Despite the closing of MIXX in Rehoboth, cocktails are still in style at the beach.

Mixologist Jeff Treacy and his father Tom opened the
Dewey Beach Club in its old space.

The Dewey Beach Club, once an icon in the town, is back in its old space with a new concept and new owners, Jeff and Tom Treacy. Jeff has a lot of bartending experience under his belt, so expect craft cocktail, a respectable wine and beer list, and the food to go with it. The menu highlights small plates, including some true tapas, such as Serrano croquettes and octopus. You’ll also find sandwiches and entrées. (1205 Coastal Hwy., Dewey Beach, 227-0669)

Want to mix your own cocktails? Stop by Beach Time Distilling, next to Old World Breads on Nassau Road. The shop offers handcrafted rum, vodka, gin and specialty spirits using a Polish-made still. (32191 Nassau Road., Unit 5, Lewes, 644-2850, beachtimedistilling.com)

Spotting the thirst for craft cocktails, Nage has moved its bar into the banquet space to make more room for diners who love specialty libations with house-made infusions. (19730 Coastal Hwy., 226-2037, nagerb.com)

Fine dining is doing just fine

The pioneering spirit that turned the beach into a dining destination is still strong. Witness the opening of Heirloom in downtown Lewes. The restaurant boasts the elegant bones of the original building, but with a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. Crispy veal sweetbreads, foie gras and Berkshire pork are some of the upscale ingredients you might encounter. (212 Savannah Road, Lewes, 313-4065, heirloomdelaware.com)

To the south, 99 Sea Level Restaurant & Bar in the Marriott Bethany Ocean Suites, is satisfying the senses and the appetite—the restaurant has ocean views and outdoor dining. The menu is heavy on seafood, but there are plenty of meat offerings, including a tomahawk rib eye. Even here, you’ll find the ubiquitous fish tacos. (99 Hollywood Road, Bethany Beach, 539-0299, 99sealevel.com)

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