Memorial Day is the official start of summer and that means crowds in Rehoboth Beach, Del. This will be one of the busiest years ever at the Delaware beaches because of the havoc created by Hurricane Sandy on the Jersey and New York shoreline. All of us want those communities to rebuild but in the meantime Rehoboth can expect a new crowd of summer tourists.
For more than 30 years, Rehoboth has been my choice for summer vacation and for the last 15, I’ve owned a small home there. The town has grown up in that time and is now a year-round place to live. But summer is still the time when business owners have to make their year. This will be a good year for them.
Like many, I spend a great deal of my time in Rehoboth on Baltimore Avenue, the gayest block in town. You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; do your shopping; and go to happy hour and late night dancing all on the same block.
As always there are new places opening and one of note this year is Frank and Louie’s Italian Specialties at 58 Baltimore Ave. Frank and Louie are known to many as the nice guys from Touch of Italy but they are now on their own. Their shop is welcoming and their secret weapon is ‘mom’ who is a fantastic chef and baker. I recently tasted her lasagna at a small dinner party and it was delicious. I recommend you stop in and try their full range of Italian specialty items including great sandwiches, cheeses and baked goods and then call them to cater your parties.
The Blue Moon (35 Baltimore Ave.) is all spruced up for its fourth decade. They have a new bar and newly tiled floors and a sound system in the bar and chef extraordinaire Lion Gardner is still at the helm in the dining room. The bartending staff includes Chandler and Matt, who always remember what you’re drinking. Pamala Stanley will again be ensconced there Sundays through Thursdays. There is the always fun Aqua Grille (57 Baltimore Ave.) and everyone always waits for the unveiling of their new bar staff. Bill Shields never disappoints with his hires. There is nothing as nice as happy hour on the Aqua deck on a mild Rehoboth evening and after a few drinks being lazy and staying for a casual, good and very reasonably priced dinner. This year you should also try the newly expanded and upgraded Maggio and Shields Café on the mezzanine (70 Rehoboth Ave.). They have great new comfortable seating and the chef and some staff from the now closed Cloud 9.
Lori’s is still in the CAMP courtyard and good as always. Stop in for a quick and easy breakfast bagel or good hearty sandwiches for lunch. While in the courtyard peek into the Ward Ellinger Gallery and browse his incredible artwork. Then move on to some of the other shops on the block. Elegant Slumming with its fine jewelry and beautiful items for the home and the Philip Morton Gallery now owned by Eric Davison where you can see some very special art work. Eric also owns Gallery Fifty on Wilmington Avenue.
One of the fun places to shop on Baltimore Avenue is Universal Gear, owned by David Franco. The Universal Gear stores just celebrated their 20th anniversary. Part of the fun of shopping at Universal Gear is chatting with manager Denis Dmitriev. Denis spent the winter working at VIDA in D.C. building both his body and modeling portfolio.
Other places not to miss are on Rehoboth Avenue. The Purple Parrot for a good meal and happy hour, the back beach bar and karaoke make it fun any time day or evening. Look into Gidget’s Gadgets for fun retro toys and games and stop at the Coffee Mill for a good cup of coffee or a pound of your favorite beans.
If you have been to Rehoboth Beach you know how great it is and if you haven’t make sure that the summer of 2013 will be your first trip there. You will return time and time again.