For years, Rehoboth Beach has been a signature summer getaway for Washingtonians. From the beaches, to the boardwalk, to Funland, Rehoboth Beach offers tons of options for families visiting “The Nation’s Summer Capital.” More and more, Rehoboth is becoming known for its vast selection of restaurants. And we’re not just talking pizza or fried seafood.
The two-block stretch of Wilmington Avenue, adjacent to the beach, has exploded with new restaurants during the past year. Jenny Barger, of Rehoboth Beach Main Street, Inc. attributes the growth to a recovering economy. New restaurants, like Cypress and Tuscan Café, are in newly renovated spaces and are causing a stir in the neighborhood.
Bob Yesbek is a certified expert on restaurants in Rehoboth. On his website, RehobothFoodie.com, he reviews nearly every restaurant in the area. He gave us the scoop on what not miss on an eating pilgrimage to Rehoboth.
Back Porch Café has been a mainstay in the area for nearly 40 years. Located in a turn of the century house at 59 Rehoboth Avenue, this eatery includes a bar and not one, but two outdoor decks on its back porch in addition to its dining room. Their menu leans towards French cuisine, and features a wide selection of local seafood as well as lamb, veal and guinea hen. Prix-Fixe menus are offered on Thursdays, and Sunday brunch is also popular.
“The brunch is really popular, has been for years,” says Marilyn Spitz, co-owner of the restaurant.
The most popular item on their brunch menu is the Eggs Benedict. “How somebody can just so consistently poach so many eggs, and have each of them come out so perfectly is amazing,” says Yesbek.
The restaurant has a number of different rooms, which creates a charming, cozy atmosphere. In recent years, The Back Porch Café has lent its walls to local artists’ work and its relaxed ambiance has kept families coming back for generations.
The Back Porch Café is very good for families or groups celebrating a special occasion. If you’re looking for a little more excitement, your next destination is only a few blocks away at the Blue Moon.
Located at 35 Rehoboth Avenue, Blue Moon is a Rehoboth Beach landmark. It’s known for its late night entertainment and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 1 a.m. The menu includes a long list of steak and chops, as well as short ribs and rockfish. The atmosphere is a little more raucous, a bit louder overall, but the food is divine.
At night, the Blue Moon is a great launch pad for a night out. The restaurant’s dance floor gets hopping nightly, and there’s live entertainment six nights a week.
If you’ve come to Rehoboth for a romantic retreat, Eden may be the place for you.
Eden is highly recommended by Yesbek. “They tend to be a little bit more daring with their dishes than Blue Moon will tend to be. At Eden, you’ll get a little more unusual preparation, and a lot of people like it. The chefs there will take a few more risks in coming up with unusual combinations.” For the sophisticated palette, Eden offers a selection of artisanal cheeses and flatbreads.
Eden’s subdued atmosphere lends itself to more formal gatherings. Where the Back Porch can air on casual, and Blue Moon on the in-your-face, Eden is very quiet and romantic. If you are planning a romantic evening, Eden is definitely your best bet.
Henlopen City Oyster House opened last June in a beautiful location at 50 Wilmington Avenue. With floor to ceiling windows and a clean, chic interior, “The Oyster House” is a favorite among locals.
“Love the Henlopen City Oyster House,” says Amanda Ryan, Rehoboth realtor and native Delawarean. “Food is delicious, the staff is very friendly, and the owners did a great job with the ambiance. It is always packed so obviously they are doing something right.”
Co-owner Joe Baker says that the restaurant is popular for its beer nights. No surprise, given that they have nine beers on draught, and over 50 more on their menu. The restaurant also features eight different types of oysters.
According to Baker, the restaurant emphasizes using local oysters and food. “Our chef is a local farmer, so we use a lot of local farms. We like to keep the menu as fresh as we can.”
Obviously, there are many options to choose from, but not everybody can eat out every single night. For those entertaining or cooking at home in Rehoboth, Nourish Specialty Foods Market, Cafe & Catering offers gourmet foods and a great selection of artisanal cheese. Founders Deberah Sutter and Lois Pellegrino work to promote healthy eating and organic, local, sustainable agriculture. Their goal is to use organic or chemical-free local produce, meats and dairy products from small independent farms where possible.
There are so many restaurants in such a small area. People come from all around the Mid-Atlantic. Chefs must be distinctive to stand apart. Ryan puts it like this, “Restaurants see people from many of the hottest metro areas, Philly, DC, Baltimore, and we’re seeing more and more from New York and New Jersey. You never know who you could be cooking for!”
Events for Foodies in Rehoboth
Dining Out For Life At The Beach
Participating restaurants will donate 33 percent of your bill to AIDS Delaware.
Ninth Annual Celebrity Chefs Beach Brunch
Top area chefs gather for a foodie festival at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach, DE. Proceeds Benefit Meals on Wheels.