Shake and Bake
Many Baltimoreans are already familiar with SugarBakers, the Catonsville bakery that’s been whipping up high-cal treats and wedding cakes for the past 15 years. Now you can find the same yummy goods at its new outpost in Lewes. CakeBar, however, ups the ante with a sit-down restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a full bar, with cocktails as creative as its cakes. “We wanted to create really good food,” says owner Jamie Williams, who splits her time between Catonsville and Lewes. “Not necessarily comfort food, but food that people are comfortable with.” That means diners can choose from homey sandwiches such as pulled pork barbecue topped with sharp cheddar, fried onions and smoked bacon or an entrée of shrimp and grits. The Amaretto-raspberry cake alone is worth the trip. 115 Second St., Lewes, 302-645-CAKE, http://www.sugarbakerscakes.com —J.S.
Love and Desire
With its shabby-chic décor, C.L.A.D. feels like a beachy Anthropologie, offering women’s fashions from Free People, Green Dragon and Molly & Millie as well as books, frames and clever signs. Alyssa Titus, owner of C.L.A.D. as well as sister stores Azura (139 Rehoboth Ave., 302-226-9650) and “Pass it On” (200a Rehoboth Ave.), says the 2,200-square-foot C.L.A.D. (which stands for “current love and desire”) has something for everyone. On Saturday mornings there’s face-painting for kids and on Saturday nights, wine and music for adults. “Your husband won’t be bored,” says Titus. “Your kids won’t be bored.” 302-227-3515, 70 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, http://www.shopclad.com —L.W.
Artist Abraxas Hudson’s new gallery, located on a very visible spot on Lewes’ main drag, isn’t your typical art gallery. Sure, his “illuminated” marinescapes done in oil paint and a few scenic pencil sketches cover the walls. But Abraxas Studio of Art holds a mini-REI of camping equipment, too: compasses, camping knives, backpacking stoves, bug spray. “I have two passions,” explains Abraxas, who prefers to be known by his first name, “painting and the outdoors.” So he figured, why not offer customers both? He says the outdoor goodies have been selling surprisingly well, as plein-air painters (or campers) stock up before excursions into nearby Cape Henlopen State Park. “It’s everything you need to throw in your bag for a sketching adventure,” says Abraxas. 123c Second St., Lewes, 302-645-9119, abraxasart.com —J.S.
Sure, Rehoboth got the first Touch of Italy Italian deli back in 2009 (33A Baltimore Ave., 302-227-1500). But folks in Lewes can take heart because the town’s new location is molto bigger— which means more meats and cheeses, more olives and more home-baked Italian decadence. Plus, the Lewes location boasts a full kitchen, a dining room and a full bar, so guests can order lasagna or stuffed peppers— or a gargantuan hot or cold sandwich— and eat while ogling the hanging proscuittos and provolones. Thanks to a recently installed wood-burning oven, there will soon be pizza. And, vows manager Michael Berardinelli, the Touch of Italy team will bake its own bread, thus destroying the myth that good bread can’t be created outside of The Bronx. 101 Second St., Lewes, 302-827-2730, http://www.touchofitalylewes.com —L.W.
Runs in the Family
Josephine Wilkins, a nurse and a preacher’s wife, “loved beautiful things, was a fantastic decorator and knew how to throw a good party,” says her daughter Deb Wilkins-Schiffer. So when Wilkins-Schiffer decided to open a gift store in Rehoboth, she sought inspiration from the memory of her mother and called her shop— what else?— Josephine’s Daughter. Here, you’ll find a mix of hostess gifts, handmade jewelry— check out the funky necklaces made with vintage brooches— and cool clutches created from clam shells. She’s also the exclusive seller of hot Corky’s shoes and sandals on the Delaware coast. Mother would undoubtedly approve. 40 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Mews, 302-260-9577, http://www.josephinesdaughter.com —J.S.
Rich Bloch cannot say “abracadabra” and give you a perfect bathing suit body, but he can offer you a seat in his charming, 50-seat Victorian theater while professional magicians work miracles before your very eyes. Bloch, a magician and lawyer from D.C., created Dickens Parlour Theatre (which honors Charles Dickens, an impassioned if amateur, trickster) to showcase a different touring magician each week, some from as far away as Israel. After the show, guests can repair to the parlor for dessert and closeup magic. Some may even be invited to enter the room beyond the fake bookcase to witness a disappearing act. Tickets, $18, adults; $12, children. Shows nightly at 7 p.m. and on rainy days at 2 p.m. 35715 Atlantic Ave., Millville, Del., 302-829-1071, http://www.dptmagic.com —L.W.
Force of Nature
Everybody knows Ruthie Parramore. For 20 years she tended bar at Newark’s legendary Klondike Kate’s and served up Ruthagizers— her signature cocktail— for another seven at Dewey’s Starboard Inn. Now she’s opened Ruthie’s Bethany Beach Bakery and has become a force in that town through her fantastic confectionary goods, all baked in-store. (Her chocolate ganache brownies stuffed with chunks of pecan pie, chocolate chips and caramel won first prize at last year’s Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival.) The switch from bartending to baking was natural, says Parramore, who grew up working at Pennsylvania’s late Ingleneuk Tea House and has been providing desserts to Bethany Blues restaurants since 2004. (“I used to get home at 2:30 a.m., now I wake up at 2:30 a.m.,” she says.) These days the breakfast crowd fights over her apple fritters, cinnamon and sticky buns and the “biggest doughnuts on the beach.” And she still serves up a mean Ruthagizer— only this time it’s a custom-labeled coffee blend roasted by Millsboro’s Indian River Espresso & Coffee Co. 115 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, 302-539-1119 —J.S.
Looks like restaurateurs Matt Haley and Bryony Ziegler, the Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf of the Delaware Shore, have another winning restaurant concept on their hands. This time, the duo has opened the uber-casual Matt’s Fish Camp to complement their higher-end offerings, such as Fish On, Lupo di Mare and Catch 54. Its atmosphere evokes a family-friendly seafood shack— wooden tables, an outdoor picnic area and a take-out window— and the food is fresh, fun and almost entirely locally sourced. Start with some smoked bluefish dip or imperial crab stuffed oysters before moving onto a lobster roll or Matt’s fish camp stew. The menu of grilled “pier fresh” fish changes daily, depending on what’s running in local waters. Says general manager Jim Affeldt, “The local fishermen will call at 3 o’clock and say, ‘I got this or I got this,’ and we’ll say, ‘Bring it on by.’” 28635 Coastal Highway, Bethany Beach, 302-539-CAMP, http://www.mattsfishcamp.com —J.S.
“We’re hoping to catch lightning twice,” says Steve Hagen of his latest restaurant venture, Just Hooked, which opened in Fenwick Island’s Sunshine Plaza in May. The first bolt of lightning he’s referring to is Off the Hook, a handsome, casual seafood eatery he started with business partner Kevin Frey last summer, which quickly became a favorite with locals for its fresh take on traditional seafood. (We thoroughly endorse the basil-encrusted tuna and grilled mahi mahi served with a mustard-tarragon vinaigrette.) Just Hooked promises a bigger bar and outside dining as well as a 700-bottle-strong wine cellar, locally sourced charcuterie and more of that freshly prepared seafood. Sounds like it’s beginning to thunder. Just Hooked: 1500 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island; Off the Hook: 769 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, 302-829-1424 —J.S.
Chef Arturo Paz has headed up some chic kitchens in his day: Baleen in Miami, Republic in Hollywood and The Clevelander in South Beach. (Not to mention, Phillips Seafood at Harborplace.) Now Paz takes his (badly needed) creative culinary chops to Ocean City’s Bombora, located in the Beach Plaza Hotel. Paz’s fusion cuisine menu wanders from the South Pacific (grilled Hawaiian spearfish with coconut rice, green curry sauce) to Cuba (mojo-marinated pork flat iron steak with arugula, green plantains) to India (tikki masala braised chicken). If early reports are any indication, it would be good news for Ocean City diners if he keeps his sauté pans firmly planted in town. 13th and the Boardwalk, Ocean City, 410-289-9121, http://www.bomboraoc.com —J.S.
Breakfast to Bar
It’s a rare restaurant that can serve up pancakes and martinis and do both well, and Cosmopolitan Grill aims to be just that place. The daytime menu features brunch daily because, as owner Kenneth Gerhart says, “when you’re on vacation, every day is a weekend,” as well as a variety of sandwiches including the “Kentucky hot brown”— smoked turkey, lettuce, tomato, bacon and mornay sauce on sourdough bread. For dinner, there are solid offerings like pan-seared chicken breast, seafood pasta and burgers. “We want to offer people good value, uncomplicated food that’s well-prepared, in a nice environment,” says Gerhart. The 110-seat restaurant has live music Friday through Monday nights. 10 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 302-227-9752 —L.W.
Maybe it’s the antique dining table and chairs, comfy couch or rocking chair. Maybe it’s the sunlight streaming in through the windows. Or maybe it’s the welcoming presence of Jen Mason, who opened the bookstore after the idea came to her in a meditation. Whatever the case, hanging out in biblion is like spending time in a lovely home library where all the volumes have been chosen with care— and where the only question is which one to pull off the shelf first. Luckily, there’s no judgment— Mason loves a good beach book as much as a serious read. 205 Second St., Lewes, 302-644-2210, http://www.biblionbooks.com —L.W.
MORE BEACH NEWS…
In Rehoboth Beach: Wilmington Avenue is fast becoming restaurant row with the opening of Tuscan Grille (Northern Italian), Mallory Square Fish House (local seafood), Romeo’s (classic American) and Cypress (Cajun). Boutique-wise, men’s store Universal Gear offers an “urban, fashion-oriented” approach to traditional beachwear at 46 Baltimore Ave., while Hatley of R.B. stocks preppy clothing for the whole family. (52 Rehoboth Ave.)
In Lewes: The popular Agave restaurant has expanded into the space at 137 Second St., long occupied by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The Lewes Historical Society has a new gift store, located in the circa-1665 Ryves Holt House, at 218 Second St. Tour tickets for Lewes’ historic complex are also sold here.
In Dewey beach: Port restaurant offers up fresh seafood, bagged beach lunches and live music, 1205 Highway One.
On Fenwick Island: Bookend Café serves up gourmet coffee, smoothies and good reads, 300 Coastal Highway.
In Ocean City: The Pit-n-Pub features slow-cooked barbecue specialties at 28th Street and Coastal Highway. And Ocean Downs Casino offers 750 slot machines, live horse racing and a restaurant overlooking the track. (10218 Racetrack Road, Berlin, Md.) —J.S.