Diners have a growing appetite for the bivalve, which raw bars are happy to satisfy

By Pam George | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
From the September 2016 issue

culinarycoastoyster Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #105During a day trip to Rehoboth Beach, Tina and Rick Betz of Wilmington decided to belly up to the bar at Henlopen City Oyster House. They each ordered a beer and a dozen oysters on the half-shell. As the afternoon progressed, they ordered another four dozen. “The bartender said: ‘Boy, you guys like oysters, don’t you?’” Rick Betz recalls. “So they gave us a dozen on the house.”

Eighty-four bivalves evidently were not enough. They then sat at a table in the restaurant to enjoy fried oyster po’ boys and oyster stew. Too full to drive home, they got a hotel room in town.

The Betzes aren’t the only restaurant customers who love this particular shellfish. The popularity of oysters on the half-shell has been rising. At the end of 2014, they appeared on 9.6 percent of all menus nationwide, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, an industry magazine. That was a 15.7 percent increase from 2010.

This past year, three restaurants with a raw bar opened at the beach: Matt Fish’s Camp in the Lewes area, Chesapeake & Maine in downtown Rehoboth and Starboard Raw in Dewey Beach. Oysters are also appearing on menus in restaurants without raw bars.

“More and more restaurants are offering them,” agrees Eric Sugrue, managing partner of Big Fish Restaurant Group, which owns Big Fish Wholesale Seafood Co. “They are now offering more varieties. The product is getting better, and people are into it.”

Lloyd’s isn’t just a place to buy groceries. The Lewes store connects customers to a simpler, and perhaps more satisfying, time.

By Chris Beakey | Photograph by Kevin Fleming

Lloyds Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #105Should you find Libby Lynch, who was born in Beebe Hospital 90 years ago, sitting on her porch at Market and Third streets in Lewes, she’ll be happy to reminisce about “the old days” when locals bought most of their clothing, home goods and groceries in town.

It might seem like those days are gone forever — unless you’ve visited Lloyd’s Market on Savannah Road, which has been owned and operated by Lloyd and Dottie Purcell since 1971. The market today is much as it’s always been, with quaint signs on the large front windows advertising specials, chickens turning on a rotisserie next to the fisherman’s cooler where fresh crabmeat and oysters are kept on ice, and four cozy aisles where a cart can be loaded with a week’s worth of groceries in short order.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have that store right here in town,” Lynch says after a recent shopping trip, where Lloyd’s staff and a neighbor who arrived at the same time lent her a hand. “I think I’ve known everyone who’s worked there — they’ve all been really good people.”

Photos of many store employees are prominently displayed near the entrance. Some have worked at Lloyd’s for decades, forging strong connections to customers and to the Delmarva farmers who supply more than 90 percent of Lloyd’s produce during the summer months. Among those farmers are 10-year-old Cailan Wilkinson and his 5-year-old brother, Aiden, the unlikely purveyors of Brothers Organic Produce. The boys’ family began growing vegetables at their Mulberry Street home in Lewes in 2012 before moving to a larger property on Gills Neck Road last year. Today, the Wilkinsons count on Lloyd’s as a first stop when they bring their harvests to market.

For years, Cape Henlopen High’s field hockey team has set the standard for excellence. What’s the secret of Cape’s success? An unbeatable combination of ingredients: coaching, preparation, family support — and players’ commitment to give their all.

By Jack Rodgers | Photograph by Dan Cook
From the September 2016 Issue

fieldhockey Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #105The attacks always came from the sea. The raiding parties traveled to all points of the compass, pushed by winds from the frigid lands of the north. Their longboats plowed through the waves, and upon landfall issued ax-wielding invaders, against whom defense was impossible. For centuries, coastal inhabitants would hope against hope for deliverance from the Norsemen’s wrath.

To the modern day opponents of Cape Henlopen’s vaunted field hockey team, an arriving bus carrying the feared Lady Vikings might seem akin to a longboat of yore, given the steep odds of defeating Cape on the field of battle. Their sticks are not sharpened, but, deftly handled, they can strike a ball with authority and accuracy.

Yes, the metaphor may be too grand, but coaches whose teams have never beaten the juggernaut from coastal Sussex County ruefully remember the brutal defeats. Most painful of all are surely the near misses — games when a luckier bounce here or official’s judgment there could have tipped the balance their way.

“Cape,” notes former Lady Vikings coach Nicole Hughes, “is everybody’s rival!”

She’s right. In today’s world of scholastic field hockey, Cape Henlopen is the team to beat. The current edition is riding a wave of five straight state championships, which is unprecedented in the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association. It is a proud history, this Cape field hockey dynasty, replete with legendary tales such as the 1995 state title game that took an unbelievable 168 minutes, eight overtimes and stretched over two days to complete. The fact that such a triumph was not recorded in runes makes it no less historic or dramatic.