Last weekend, two long-awaited restaurants—Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Raw Bar and The Vineyard Bar & Bistro—debuted in Rehoboth Beach.
Located on Route 1 near the new Fresh Market and Bed Bath and Beyond, Bluecoast is the 10th restaurant under the SoDel Concepts umbrella and the second Bluecoast in the group. The first, situated in North Bethany Beach, is SoDel’s flagship restaurant and the business on which SoDel’s founder, Matt Haley, built a culinary empire along the coast.
While both Bluecoast restaurants are on Route 1 and share the same name, there are differences. For one, the new spot was built from the ground up, and it represents the aesthetics of the team, led by Scott Kammerer, that has kept SoDel at the top of its game since Haley died in August 2014.
The new Bluecoast's layout includes a main dining room with a bar and raw bar. A space known as the “library” is used for dining on busy nights or special events. It’s a warm room with shelves of cookbooks, which flank a fireplace, and exposed brickwork that was reclaimed from a warehouse. There is also a pet-friendly open porch and a separate patio with an outdoor bar, stage and seating.
Chef Doug Ruley and his crew have assembled a menu with thoughtful touches, such as Third Edition wings. (Haley came to Rehoboth to lead that restaurant, which was in Stingray’s current building.) Steamed shrimp dumplings, seafood stew and crab gumbo with grits are only a few of the many menu highlights.
The new Bluecoast is part of the culinary activity that’s popping up on Route 1. But that’s not to say the downtown scene has slowed. Consider The Vineyard Bar & Bistro, which is situated in Espuma’s old spot in downtown Rehoboth. The Vineyard is the second wine-cenric spot owned by Joe Lertch and his partners. The first, the award-winning Vineyard Wine Bar, is in Havre de Grace, Md. Owners have not changed the existing footprint, but the space received a total makeover and a new kitchen. In fact, workers demolished the old kitchen right down to the dirt.
The lengthy wine list at Vineyard separates wine by style, rather than country or grape—and the food menu complements this accessible approach. The Light Bodied section includes hummus and Brussels sprouts on bruschetta. From there, move on to Medium Bodied (shrimp and grits) and Full Bodied (filet; salmon Wellington). There are also salads and flatbreads.
These two restaurants give diners plenty of reason to say “Cheers” with gusto. (And there are even more newbies on the horizon!)