Aileen and her partner, Kyle, with their dog in front of the future Somewhere in 2020. Photograph by Chris Flood.

Aileen Hearn, owner, Somewhere and Coastal Native

There’s one common thread through all Aileen Hearn’s many pursuits — the unquenchable thirst for creativity.

The words, “Drink the wild air, Be bold, Be free, Get lost & find yourself Somewhere” are emblazoned in a mural on a street-facing wall at 52 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach. The words exemplify how Aileen Hearn lives, works and plays. It’s also the inspiration for the restaurant housed inside, Somewhere, for which she started with partner and co-owner, Kyle Ten Eyck, in late 2020.

Strapped with ample artistic passion and the entrepreneurial gene in her blood, Hearn’s sights were always set on being able to create. Her father, Chip Hearn, a lifelong restaurateur, has owned such local eateries as Country Squire, The Starboard and The Ice Cream Store, so Hearn grew up in the industry. Now at the age of 30, her resume boasts ownership of four local businesses.

A Dewey native and self-proclaimed beach bum, she taught herself to sew and made her first bikini at 16. She went on to graduate from The University of Delaware with a degree in graphic design and advertising and launched Bare Native Swimwear, a line of custom-made swimwear, from her bedroom in 2015, after passing up a job at Kaikini Bikini in Kauai, Hawaii at the advisement of her family. A couple years later, it was creative coffees and wild milkshakes that she poured her artistry into when she opened Mug & Spoon on Rehoboth Avenue. But when the challenges of limited parking and a desire to expand forced them out, the pair opened Somewhere in the 100-year-old beach house-turned-restaurant that was previously home to Iguana Grill Restaurant & Cantina. But a return to Rehoboth Avenue called them again, this time to dabble in retail. Their latest venture, Coastal Native, opened its Rehoboth Avenue doors this summer, offering mostly handmade, local, sustainable items and art. Additionally, it allows them to co-brand their busineses, as all the merchandise available at Somewhere is also for sale at Coastal Native.

What was it like closing Mug & Spoon and opening Somewhere?
We wanted to expand our creativity and connect with customers on a new level. 52 Baltimore Avenue ended up being the perfect location for us to really design the space in a way we love. We opened mid-pandemic, so it was a funky time to start something new. We eventually got approved for an outdoor seating area that we filled with tropical plants and good vibes, which we now call The Oasis.  

Where did the name Somewhere come from? 
We knew we wanted a playful name that would open up questions and we landed on Somewhere thinking it would be pretty fun and mysterious to have our customers saying, ‘Where are we going tonight? Somewhere!’

What would you tell others who dream of opening a restaurant?
Make sure you’re always CREATING fun with your business. Between my bikini company, Kyle’s photography business, Mug & Spoon and Somewhere, we have never stopped creating fun products that lead us to engage in fantastic customer interactions. Even though life in the restaurant industry is incredibly tiring, our favorite part will always be interacting with customers and making fun, positive connections — including taking our team on a boat outing.

Do you have time for anything else?
We have a super cute, happy white German Shepherd named Valkyrie. On the few days we have off, we take out our boat and hang on the sand bars with the pup. We also have some great trips planned to the islands and to Ireland, England and Scotland.

* indicates required

More Stories