Although Memorial Day in Delaware was a wet one, it didn’t dampen coastal diners’ appetites for new restaurants.
Now that Delaware’s eateries are fully open, you can munch your way through the day at these beach newbies.
Breakfast, lunch or brunch
In Lewes, Eggcellent is a breakfast and lunch spot nestled in the former home of the first Café Azafran, which later became The Gate House and Bushi Sushi.
Eggcellent owner Elina Kamalova serves the ultra-trendy avocado toast — with two eggs, tomatoes and crushed red pepper. But the Elvis sandwich brings the fun factor to the table. Sliced bananas top two pieces of French toast with peanut butter and bacon.
In downtown Rehoboth, Sunny Bay Café is in Cuvee Ray’s old location. Currently open for breakfast and lunch, the café sports traditional American breakfast fare. But you’ll also find savory, sweet and breakfast crepes. The clever kids’ menu includes “I Don’t Know” (chicken tenders with fries) and “Grandma Lets Me Have It” (a beef hotdog with fries).
Restaurants capitalizing on daytime hours aren’t limited to the resort towns. Greenman Juice Bar & Bistro, a downtown Rehoboth destination for smoothie-lovers, now has a second site in Peddlers Village, a Route 24 shopping center. (The zip code is Lewes, but it is not in the city.)
Farther inland, Taste of the South Bistro is now operating in Long Neck. Georgia native Brandon Tatum-Poole is a newcomer to the hospitality scene, but he’s no stranger to pleasing customers. He owns Vogue on 54 Salon & Spa and Vogue on 24 Salon & Spa.
The shopping center location once housed a short-lived bakery, and Taste of the South takes full advantage of the equipment to whip up pies, cakes and cinnamon-sugar doughnuts.
The family-style breakfast and brunch menu includes such classic dishes as shrimp-and-grits, cheesy grits and chicken and waffles.
Honey’s Farm Fresh in Lewes has a second location in Ocean View for lunch and breakfast. It’s not hard to find.
The 1930s-era dining cars next to the building are remnants of the long-gone Royal Zephyr restaurant. Salted Rim Margarita Bar & Grill, which was in the space, has moved to the former La Tonalteca/Fat Tuna building in Millville.
Happiest Happy Hours
Atlantic Social, which opened in 2020, features brunch on Saturday and Sunday. But the Rehoboth-area restaurant is known for happy hour, which runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s a treat for tourists — and those who believe it’s 5 p.m. somewhere. Located on Route 1, the nautically themed establishment has plenty of parking.
Square One in Rehoboth opens up for dinner at 5 p.m., which is the perfect time to try one of the newcomer’s cocktail creations.
What’s with the name? Joe and Darryl Ciarlante-Zuber once owned Dos Locos at this First Street address. To please longtime fans, Joe’s Crab Quesadilla and Darryl’s Crab Enchiladas are on the menu. However, the list also features lobster cakes, steaks and seared tuna.
Sydney’s Restaurant & Lounge (no relation to old Sydney’s Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach) has taken up residence in the two-story site in Paynter’s Mill, a live-work-play community just off Route 1 in Milton.
The large restaurant opened in 2020. However, now you can fully experience the music and food at once. Tip: Get the fried chicken drizzled with a spicy honey glaze.
Pizza has been a beach food since 1960 when Grotto Pizza opened in downtown Rehoboth. But the city has not seen anything quite like Megan Kee’s Dalmata’s artisan offerings. Don’t be surprised to see smoked salmon on the list of toppings. The restaurant prepares authentic wood-fired pizza. You may notice an occasional dark spot on the crust, known as “leoparding.” It’s normal.
Kee also owns La Fable, a French-themed bistro, and Houston-White Co., a steakhouse and seafood restaurant with a farm-to-table spin. All are in Rehoboth. Her next project, however, is in Lewes. Kee is opening a new place at The Buttery and an adjoining coffee shop.
In Milton, savor pizza and a view of the Mispillion River at The Dough Bar. (To reach it, take the alley next to Irish Eyes.) While known for pizza, the restaurant’s salads are tasty and generous. Top the greens with blackened salmon for lunch or dinner.
Also in Milton, Beaches has a second location in Gilligan’s former space. (It was also Gilligan’s second site.) Expect the type of fare you’d find at a classic seafood house. Meanwhile, chefs Gary and Lorraine Papp opened Harbour in Gilligan’s flagship site on the canal in Lewes. They are the original chefs at The Buttery and recently owned Palate on Route 1.
Harbour’s seafood-heavy menu is rich with Faroe Island salmon, shellfish pappardelle, fisherman’s stew and, of course, crab cakes.
Old or new, beach restaurants need a version of Delaware’s favorite crustacean.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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