Grain on the Rocks.

Striking Spaces for Outdoor Dining

By the sea, bay, or sidewalk—take your pick

In 2020, diners ate outside to avoid the coronavirus. However, once the threat had passed, they still flocked to patios, sidewalks, porches and decks. Outdoor dining is here to stay, especially at the beach, and restaurants are meeting the demand.

Consider the new “Summer Garden” beside the Summer House in Rehoboth. “I got a call from Shaun Tull asking if I was interested in the property,” recalls owner Regan Derrickson. “The price seemed to make sense, and the first thing that came to mind was an outdoor patio so I could expand the summer house’s square footage.”

The garden is one of the varied alfresco options on the Culinary  Coast. Here are some other examples.

For City Scenery

The Summer House’s new 77-seat patio fronts the sidewalk and there is a bar-like “ledge” for customers who want to see and be seen. Since Rehoboth frowns on outdoor music, Derrickson installed an Italian-style fountain to produce a soothing sound.

In downtown Lewes, the L-shaped patio at Heirloom gives diners a view of the Zwaanendael Museum, modeled after Hoorn’s town hall in the Netherlands. (The Dutch were the Cape’s first European settlers.)

For a Bayside Seat 

The dining room at Grain on the Rocks in the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal provides a view and a breeze, thanks to open windows that let bartenders serve guests inside and out. There is a freestanding outdoor bar and patio seats.

The revamped Lighthouse in Dewey Beach is on an expansive deck that juts into Rehoboth Bay. Along with sunset views, it boasts a sandy beach.

Next door, the Rusty Rudder is the destination for dining under the stars and live music.

For a Side of Sea

For decades, Obie’s by the Sea has been the place where everybody knows your name. Big Fish Restaurant Group now manages the casual Rehoboth Beach eatery.

Victoria’s in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel offers a more refined experience in its tiered dining room or Rehoboth boardwalk patio.

Via Sophia in Bethany Beach replaced 99 Sea Level in the Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Residence Inn by Marriott. The emphasis is now Italian, but the views are still stellar.

For Plentiful Parking 

Restaurants close to Route 1 or inland may lack a water view, but they have parking advantages, and they’re accessible to residents who don’t live in town.

SoDel Concepts owns three restaurants with beautiful patios: Fish On in the Village of Five Points, Bluecoast Seafood Grill on Coastal Highway near Rehoboth’s entrance, and NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View.  

In Bethany, DiFebo’s Restaurant has a gorgeous courtyard-like patio with leafy plants and shady umbrellas—a European ambiance that complements the Italian cuisine.

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