Beach Eats

Beach Eats

Delmarva’s beaches are famous for the surf, the sand and the boardwalks. But the resort-area towns also have become a destination for foodies. Here are 33 eateries we think are worth a visit.

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The fish taco basket at Bethany’s Big Chill Beach Club. Photo by April Greer.

 

Delmarva’s beaches are famous for the surf, the sand and the boardwalks. But the resort-area towns also have become a destination for foodies. Delaware even markets its beaches as the “Culinary Coast.”   While some spots are special-occasion restaurants, others are family-friendly, and many look beyond the expected seafood-focused fare. Here are 33 eateries that we think are worth a visit.

 

Lewes

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Heirloom opened in 2015 in a renovated Victorian house. Photo by April Greer.

 

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Matt Kern, a James Beard Award semifinalist, is the executive chef at Heirloom. Photo by April Greer.

Downtown Lewes is celebrated for its history rather than its dining. That’s changing. In part, credit Meghan Lee, who turned a rundown Victorian house into the stunning Heirloom, which opened in 2015. Dining rooms are subtly decorated with vintage pieces, botanical prints and plants. Executive Chef Matt Kern, a James Beard Award semifinalist, creates pretty plates that complement the ambiance. Kern, an avid fisherman, is a farm-to-table aficionado. This spring, for instance, he served fresh asparagus from nearby Fifer Orchards with foraged fiddlehead fern and claytonia (a lettuce) from Totem Farms in Milton, along with a 60-minute egg and wagyu beef bresaola. Given the food and ambiance, Heirloom is a great place for an evening without the kids.

212 Savannah Road, Lewes, Delaware, 302-313-4065, heirloomdelaware.com

 

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The rockfish at Heirloom in Downtown Lewes.

The modest-looking Surfing Crab is located just north of the Nassau bridge, the unofficial gateway to Delaware’s beach resorts. The family-friendly restaurant—which has three porch areas for crab picking—is owned by Don Vechery, whose father, Henry, opened the Bethesda Crab House in 1961. You can preorder the size of your crabs, but you can’t make reservations. Be patient—crabs are cooked to order. While you wait, try the hush puppies, steamed clams with butter, and Delmarva’s favorite side dish: succotash.

16723 Coastal Highway, Lewes, Delaware, 302-644-4448, thesurfingcrab.com

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Agave’s fish tacos. Photo by Pam George.

To get into Agave, plan ahead. Fans will wait more than an hour for a table at this restaurant, which has expanded three times since opening in 2008 to meet the demand. Put your name in early and then go shopping or sightseeing. The fish tacos, served in crisp, puffy shells, are a must-do. Don’t skip the guacamole, which comes on a banana leaf draped across a molcajete (mortar and pestle). Margaritas arrive in emerald green and cobalt blue glasses. You can buy a glass as a souvenir.

132 Second St., Lewes, Delaware, 302-645-1232, agavelewes.com

A few steps from Agave is Half Full, a slender restaurant dedicated to artisan pizza, wine and craft beer. Choose an innovative seasonal selection, such as the “Beef & Blue” (smoked beef brisket, buttermilk blue cheese, caramelized onions and roasted tomato sauce), or build your own. The list of libations features hard-to-find wines and craft beers. The cocktail list is limited but includes a seasonal keg-conditioned “draft” cocktail, which is ready to pour. The small restaurant is in front of big sister Kindle, which is known for its mussel frites, beefy burgers and tenderloin.

125 Second St., Lewes, Delaware, 302-645-8877, halffulllewes.com

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The Bavarian pretzel at Crooked Hammock Brewery. Photo by Pam George.

Located off Route 1, Crooked Hammock Brewery is great for parents with small children. There’s an enclosed yard with outdoor tables and games. The concept is all about backyard barbecues, so burgers are a good bet. But don’t miss the colossal butter-baked Bavarian pretzel, which has been on the menu since the brewpub opened in 2015. On weekends, the restaurant features live music, and on any given night, you might hear country, rock or reggae.

36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes, Delaware, 302-644-7837, crookedhammockbrewery.com

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