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good eats on the drive from DC to Rehoboth Beach, DE?

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good food stop on the drive from DC to Rehoboth? We are usually on the road at dinner time on Fridays, and waiting until we get to the beach is just too long to wait. I'm looking for a place that is no more than a couple of minutes detour off the road. We've been to The Narrows (loved the cream of crab soup there - excellent crab cakes as well, very lackluster pate) and liked it, but the service was very slow, and it was also more expensive than what I would prefer to pay for a road stop - especially given the expense of the upcoming weekend in Rehoboth. Anything tasty that falls somewhere in between KFC and The Narrows? Thanks in advance!

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  1. You may want to consider Lisas Small Plates, in Stevensville less than 5 minutes off the first exit over the Bay Bridge.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bordeauxfan

      I just checked out the menu - this looks perfect! Thanks very much, bordeauxfan!

      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Also in Stevensville is the Kentmorr Restaurant. I haven't been there in a while, but have found it to be reliable and reasonably priced in the past.. A lot of people go for crabs, but as I'm not a crab eater, I've stuck to burgers and salads. They also used to have a nice brunch. And they have a cute little beach area too.


    2. In Bridgeville, right off the highway, is Jimmy's Grille. Sort of an old-fashioned family restaurant (fried chicken, crab cakes, pies). Good if you like that sort of thing.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Doh

        Jimmy's Grille is good! Also In Stevensville their is the Stevensville Crab Shack which has great crabcakes.

        1. re: Jeremy303

          Jimmy's is going to be in an upcoming movie. We tried to stop there a few weeks ago and they were closed for filming. Mayor Cupcake:

        2. re: Doh

          Update on Jimmy's. Jimmy, as many of you know, used to run the great Southern Grille up the road in Ellendale, then bolted to open Jimmy's, serving the same delicious food. Apparently there are now two new Southern Grilles in the area, one in Ellendale and one in Seaford. No one is exactly sure about the connections between the three restaurants. Seems to be the same sort of old-fashioned food served at all three. Don't think Jimmy is in the picture at any of them any more (possibly a resident of the Graybar Hotel, but don't hold me to that). 8<D

          1. re: Bob W

            The original "Jimmy" sold out about 5-8 yrs ago . He ran a place in MD for awhile until he could open back in DE. Thus the Southern Grille came to Seaford. Then 2nd business in Ellendale. He owns the 2 and a guy from the beach bought the original one in Bridgeville. All three have the same recipe foods. Jimmy T can be found in one of the two restaurants daily.

        3. Annies on the other side at Kent Narrows from The Narrows, is decent and reasonably priced. Also, Fisherman's Inn at the narrows and Mason's in Easton...which is great!

          2 Replies
          1. re: namret

            Thanks very much, all! I plan to work my way through these suggestions!

            1. re: namret

              We went to Annie's on Fri. night. Learned that it is owned by a sibling of the person who owns the Dupont Circle Annie's - not a particularly high recommendation. Food was good, not great - but no major complaints. I had the white clam linguini, my friend had steak and stuffed mushrooms. We both really liked their dipping oil for the bread. It was more than I would prefer to pay -- and Annie's isn't a quick stop/grab dinner sort of place. They had a piano player in there who played every schlocky song in the history of man, which worked my nerves --- well, let's just say she and I didn't share the same musical tastes! Others might have enjoyed it. This place (and The Narrows and the Crab Deck) have a great location though - just over the bridge and not very far off the main road.

              This was our last beach weekend in 2009. :--(( I still want to try Jimmy's, especially since my friend is a lemon meringue pie freak. Next spring I'll do a search for this thread so I can resume working my way through the suggestions. Thanks again, everybody!

            2. I call ahead and place an order to go at Harris Crab House on the water in Kent Narrows exit 42 off route 50. I get the crab balls, fried oysters and fried clams. It is a great feast while not wasting a lot of time by stopping. also it is not messy. Of course you can eat there or also at the Crab Deck in Kent Narrows. On the weekend, there are of course the rotary BBQ chicken stands but I don't know if they do that after labor day.

              1. I would love to know where you dined in Rehoboth!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Sensuous

                  We stopped at Lisa's Small Plates on Friday night. It wasn't a big hit with my friend that I go to the beach with - mostly because of the atmosphere (sports on several TVs, lots of locals there to drink and not eat - very high decibel level). The food was perfectly OK, though. It made for a change, but we're still looking for the perfect spot!

                  Sensuous, since you asked.... Saturday night we ate at Nage, <www.nage.bz&gt;which we had been wanting to go to for some time. It was fairly good, but we didn't like it as much as our dinner companion does -- he is a regular there and a real fan of the place. We wanted to try their black bean soup, as we'd heard their soups are wonderful, but they had just run out. For apps, we had seared fois gras, wild mushroom baklava and an escargot special which was pretty god-awful. Two of us had the "Local Heritage Pork Ragout" with homemade papardelle. The meat was tender and succulent, but the sauce had a sweetness (cinnamon/pumpkin) that detracted. The third of us had the grouper/sweetbreads special. He said the fish had leathery-overcooked parts which were inedible, and the amount of sweetbreads on the plate was miniscule. As he was the one who had also ordered the snails, he really wasn't happy. For dessert, we shared fig halvah, which was pretty good, but it wasn't halvah. All told, it was one of the many places in Rehoboth where the quality doesn't seem up to the prices that are charged (Eden leaps to mind). So far, my favorite dinner place in Rehoboth is Lupo di Mare <lupodimarerehoboth.com>. I especially loved - and was really surprised by - the shaved brussels sprout appetizer. The white bean dip was really good as well. Sunday morning we had brunch at Mariachi's - serviceable eggs florentine there. Sat. we had brunch at Sammy's - your basic bacon eggs and sausage, but it did the trick. I also like Dave and Skippy's for a good basic breakfast sandwich. I want to try Green Man - haven't been there yet, but I have a friend who raves about it. I also really like the Chrystal Diner for brunch, but I need to be careful there. Once I ordered a bacon and cheddar omelette. It was tasty, but I swear it had a whole package of bacon in it. Not only was I not hungry by dinnertime that evening, I was still full from that omelette the next morning!

                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                    Thanks WPH -- you've confirmed my fears that Lisa's has closed down the other side of their operation. That's where I've eaten every time I've been, the last time being late spring. The other room has no TVs, a wall with a wine display, and the emphasis is (was) on the food. But the bar area is the revenue-generator, so my guess is that they're now only using the other half for catering. My apologies.

                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                      Thank you!
                      Lupo is on our list. It is a beautiful place. We will get there soon.
                      Our friends who are here working for awhile from Brazil love Mariachi and go regularly. We will try it soon for dinner. Their menu is impressive.
                      My hairdresser has encouraged me time and time again to have a Crystal breakfast. She makes the same kind of comments about it that you have made. We are going soon for sure!
                      woodleyparkhound, I wish you would post this over on the Mid-Atlantic board for Rehoboth visitors. You could cut and paste!

                      1. re: Sensuous

                        I haven't been to Mariachi for dinner - only brunch. The dinner menu does look good - you're right. If the weather is even half-way decent, it's nice to sit upstairs on the porch.

                        I love Crystal - it's like stepping into 1958. I wish the waitresses had beehives - that would make it flawless! On the one hand, it's hard to fault a restaurant for putting too much bacon and cheddar in a bacon and cheddar omelette; on the other, I love bacon so much I couldn't stop myself - and whose fault was that?! My new favorite thing there is an omelette with spinach, tomato and 1/2 the normal amount of feta cheese. Their coffee is also from 1958 - awful. I have coffee at home before going there. On weekends in the summer, expect a long wait for a table during prime brunch hours.

                  2. If you go the "northern" route, via 14, Cindy's country kitchen (or something like that) is right there in Denton. It is takeaway only, great fried chicken, a fabulous BLT. unpretentious and fresh.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: fishie

                      fishie: It took me nearly 3 years to follow up on your suggestion to check out Cindy's. I did so this weekend - twice. Loved it -- "Unpretentious and fresh" is right. Their oyster stew is out of this world - some of the best I've ever had - and we also loved the "barnyard burger" - chicken, ham, bacon, homemade BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato. Their breads for their sandwiches are excellent, and they are nicely toasted. I plan to stop there many times this summer and work my way through the menu. It's conveniently located and is open on Fri. till 9:00 and on Sun. till 8. On Fri. we talked with Elton the cook, who is a Viet Nam vet who cooked in the navy. Great guy who enjoys what he does and is good at it. He also makes a large variety of cakes, pies and baked goods and he caters.

                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                        Last weekend we stopped by Cindy's again - to find it shut down. This makes me extremely sad. It took me ages to get around to trying it, then a few weeks after I do, and realize what a great place it is, it closes. My friends and I are in mourning.

                    2. I'm reviving this old thread to ask another related question. I hope you guys can help me solve a mystery that has been plaguing me for months.

                      On a trip to the beach last summer, I went with a friend I usually don't go with who drove a different way than how I'm accustomed to going. He says he took the "Old Sand Road route" in DE to get there. On that route, we stopped at a "T" intersection. Across the road was a pizza place, pretty much in the middle of a field as I recall, with nothing else around it. There were lots of cars in the gravel parking lot, which ran down the side of the building. I remember seeing pizza delivery trucks there. The place was quite crowded. We both thought the pizza was really good, especially considering where it was. So ever since then, I've been wanting to go back there but my friends that I usually go to the beach with don't know the place and can't figure out where it is. If this description rings a bell for anyone, what is the name of this place and what is the address/location? I'd really appreciate anyone who could help solve this mystery! Thanks!

                      (I'm also going to post this on the Mid-Atlantic board.)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: woodleyparkhound

                        That's a tough one. Can you be more specific geographically? Was it nearer to the beach or the Maryland line? Was the alternate route off of 404 or 50? Did you come in north or south of Rehobeth, etc. That would help narrow it down. Pizza Empire in Henderson, MD, near the state line certainly meets that description and they have good pizza. The road it is on does become "Old Sandtown Road." Might be worth a google street view.

                        Pizza Empire
                        24700 Goldsboro Road, Henderson, MD

                        1. re: treetop tom

                          treetop tom: Thanks! This looks like the place to me - mystery solved! I thought it was in DE, but apparently it's in MD.

                          You know, it's kind of funny...when I was describing this place to friends, they suggested that it might be Pizza Empire in Denton. I drove past it and said, "No, that's not it." Now I see that the Pizza Empire in Henderson seems to be the Mother Ship and they have opened a new Pizza Empire in Denton. So apparently I could have gotten the same pizza in Denton.

                          Thanks again!

                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                            I tried the Pizza Empire in Denton. It was VERY lame compared to the original in Henderson. They are serving a completely different product. I won't be back to the Denton store again.

                      2. My family tradition was to always stop at Holly's right after you get off the Bay Bridge. (Or before you get on on your way back.) It's absolutely nothing fancy, just plain solid Maryland and Southern food. Crab cakes, softshell sandwiches, fried chicken, meatloaf...that kind of thing. They also have amazing milkshakes.

                        Honestly my favorite part isn't even the food, it's the atmosphere. The whole place is totally frozen in time in the 50's and 60's. My parents, aunts and uncles all swear it hasn't changed a bit since they were kids and their house a mile north of Bethany was surrounded by nothing but dunes as far as you could see.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: TenleyExpat

                          I like Holly's. GREAT atmosphere, as you said. OK food, but it really is like time traveling. I like their milkshakes too, though their patty melt was disgustingly greasy. I'd like to have a softshell sandwich right now. I hear their fried chicken is excellent.

                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                            I have easten several times at Holly's and, though I wanted to like it, the food is really at C- level. The meatloaf was like a brick (with gravy like brown glue), and fried chicken lacked flavor. Perhaps my visits (at least three over a 5-6 year period) are not representative, but I won't be back.

                            1. re: lawhound

                              I agree. I had breakfast there recently, and it was not very impressive. The meal wasn't significantly better than any standard chain "diner," and the service was indifferent. I'd actually opt for Cracker Barrel across the highway next time.

                              1. re: laststandchili

                                @laststandchill and @lawhound, I have to agree with you about Holly's. Ate there twice, and we were not impressed at all. Lousy gravy, lackluster food. Plus mrbuffer got crabcakes and they didn't pick the crabmeat that well - it was FULL of shells. We'll find another place.

                                Empire Pizza is on our regular route to our house in Magnolia DE. Finally stopped there today for a couple slices on the way home and it was good! Much better than the pizza we are forced to endure in Maryland.

                        2. May be a little out of your way. If you go thru Denton then this would work. There is a restaurant called "Rudy's" in Harrington north of the light on Rt 13S. It is open 24 hrs. Serves all menu foods anytime. Has complete bar drinks. Very good food even at 3 am. When you get to Denton you need to get off #404 at the McDonald's sign. Go north underpass and take next right at light #14E. This takes you straight across to Harrington. About 10 miles north of Greenwood.

                          1. Maybe they don't still have 'em (it's been years for me) but coming back (so often it's on Sunday), any side-of-the-road local charity chicken BBQ ... absolutely eat there!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: wayne keyser

                              They definitely still have them! We've gone to a couple. You get a huge piece of chicken. Always a good deal.