What a lovely Sunday it was. Breezy, not to hot and low humidity. I call those kinds of days California days.
It was the annual “Picnic in the Park” in the Lewes Canal Front Park. Local residents, weekenders and a few tourists descended upon the park, chatted with friends and found the foods they liked.
Local restaurants had set up their booths and for just two tickets, the equivalent of $4, you could buy most samples of their unique offerings. Some were pretty big samples too, such as the Key West Curry Chicken Salad sandwich from Striper Bites and the Pulled Pork Sliders from Irish Eyes. A few delicacies went for three tickets, or $6, such as the Savannah’s Deli and Grille’s Beef Brisket and Touch of Italy’s DaVinci sandwich. The most expensive item for sale was Kindle’s Lobster Salad sandwich for $8. Heavenly. The variety of foods reflected the variety of restaurants that are now found in Lewes, a historic town situated where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. It didn’t start out as a tourist spot but it sure is now.
I moved to Lewes in 2002 and “downtown” was a restaurant scene but not as much as it is now. The Buttery was here then and still is a premier spot where you always get a gourmet meal. Second Street Grille was here, too, but left a few years ago. Its spot is filled with a candy story on one side and a healthy café called Nectar on the other that is open for breakfast and lunch. There also was the original Rose and Crown, which had the best lamb chops ever. It left too. However, there is another Rose and Crown now, though not the same owners. Gilligan’s was here and still is. It’s got the best spot on the water with part of the restaurant actually in a beached boat. Striper Bites also was here then, but much smaller. It was expanded with a new building right next door. You can’t tell, though, the architecture matches perfectly. Its fish dishes and casual atmosphere has made it a real destination.
Those restaurants now share customers and parking spaces with Kindle, Half Full, Agave, Jerry’s, and Touch of Italy. Very recently, a new restaurant opened. It is called The Gate House. It is where Café Azafran used to be. It is elegant and described as a French bistro. I don’t think I have forgotten anyone. The great thing about the Lewes restaurants is that they are all privately own, real entrepreneur ventures and if you visit them you have a good chance of meeting the owner. And, now that there are so many, more people are coming to try them. With the medical center nearby, there is never a scarcity of customers.
“Picnic in the Park” is a great annual event. It gives us all a chance to taste samples of the foods from these restaurants. It gives us a chance to run into friends and enjoy a beautiful day. It also reminds us of what a wonderful place Lewes is, and how lucky we are to have this park right in the middle of town. The park, by the way, is another story.