6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Restaurants at the Beach
These coastal eateries have more to offer than you may realize.
Captain Mac's crab cake//Pam George
Whether you’re a coastal tourist or a resident, you probably don’t venture too far to dine out during the season. Now that it’s fall, there are tasty rewards for those who venture beyond the usual boundaries, whether that means leaving the downtown district for the highway or driving farther inland. Here are six spots that are worth any bit of extra effort.
Turn onto Route 16 from Route 1, drive past the farmland and look for a tiny strip center on your right. The intimate Po’ Boys is nestled next to a dollar store and a grocer featuring Mexican foods. Started by Amy and Lee Stewart, who fell in love with Creole food while living in Destin, Florida, the restaurant is now owned by Mike Clampitt, who honed his skills at Blue Moon, The Sea Horse and coastal country clubs. At Po’ Boys, Clampitt has made a good thing even better. The Cajun and Creole food is the best I’ve sampled outside of New Orleans. After eating here, I’ve bought the gumbo by the quart to savor at home later.
Shrimp Po' Boy//Photo by Pam George
2. The Backyard
Just up the road is The Backyard, which opened in 2013 and has remained a local hotspot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If the weather allows, take a seat on the patio overlooking the restaurant’s namesake, an enclosed backyard. The restaurant is known for build-your-own sandwiches and salads.
Since it was taken over by SoDel Concepts, this restaurant is upping its game with a new menu by Chef Tom Deptula. Located in a golf course community in Long Neck, the restaurant always had scenery on its side. It overlooks the lush links, which are bordered by professionally maintained plantings. Go for lunch so you can have a side of fall splendor with your fish-and-chips.
This restaurant is off Route 1 in a strip center next to the Sea Shell Shop. But you’re bound to pass it unless you know where to look. Make an effort. Michy’s is owned by Richard and Michel Davis, who met when they were both working at the Blue Moon. After a detour to Florida, where Richard worked in restaurants in North Miami and Fort Lauderdale, they returned to the Rehoboth area. Don’t miss the tuna sashimi, firecracker shrimp and roasted clams. The horseradish-crusted salmon is the frequent diners’ favorite.
Michy's roasted clams//Photo by Pam George
Bethany Beach regulars and locals know all about this SoDel Concepts’ restaurant in Ocean View, which is hard to spot from Route 26. (It’s on an angle in a strip center.) There’s a large bar area for casual dining or, if weather permits, head to the expanded patio. Given the name, it’s not surprising that the menu is inspired by the New England area. Think creamy seafood chowder with bacon, lobster rolls (hot or cold) and fried Ipswich clams. There’s also a variety of items that pay homage to the Chesapeake region.
Come here for fresh fish to take home or dine at one of the Caribbean-colored picnic benches that overlook the marsh. Order at the counter, and the staff will call when your food is ready. Since Captain Mac’s is all about freshness—the owners operated Captain Mac’s Bait & Tackle for 32 years—get the fresh fish of the day (fried, blackened or grilled) as a sandwich or platter or the crabcake.