You’ve picked up your fresh popcorn. You’ve ordered your boardwalk french fries and you’ve even washed them down with a few of your favorite local cocktails. But, according the owners of the new Jetty Deli & Coffee Shop, you’ve still got one more thing to mark off on your culinary checklist before leaving the Bethany Beach boardwalk.
“We want to be the sandwich experience here in town — it’s for the professional sandwich-eater,” said Jetty head chef and co-owner Robbie Bedell. “We want the people from out of town to get the local experience.”
A Sussex County native and chef in the area for 22 years, Bedell teamed up with Ba Roos Ice Cream business partner Matt Merrick, Bethany Beach Books’ owner Jackie Inman Burns and lifelong friend Matt Burns to do just that — opening the doors to the team’s new venture earlier this month.
“Instead of a New York-style deli or a Philadelphia-style deli, we did a Delaware-style deli — all local everything,” added Burns. “Matt’s a great organizer, Robbie’s an amazing chef — it just works out.”
“We’re trying to keep quality year-round businesses in downtown Bethany,” added Inman Burns. “We want to make sure that the locals have a great place that you can eat year ’round.”
While some of the signature sandwiches — such New York-style Rubens, and the “beef on weck” served on a fresh-baked kummelweck roll with aus ju and topped with horseradish — are reminiscent of the Big Apple, and “whiz wit” or “wit out” cheesesteaks speak of Philadelphia, the rest of the menu is all homegrown, and made up of local ingredients.
The bagels from K&H are delivered from Lewes daily. The ingredients for smoothies and salads are being grown on local farms. The butcher operates in Dagsboro, and the rockfish for the fish tacos and fresh crabmeat for the crabcakes come from local fishermen.
“The sandwiches are all things that I would serve to myself or to my family,” Bedell explained. “When it comes time for me to explain to you what you’re eating, I can give it you, from the bread that’s been freshly baked, the meat that’s been freshly delivered and the vegetables that come freshly to us. If anybody has a question about any of the food that we do here, ‘I don’t know’ is never going to be an answer.”
Noting the blacked rockfish tacos served with pico de gallo and shredded cabbage on grilled tortillas as being a house favorite so far, Bedell also said that other dishes, including the Delaware Crab Soup and On the Rocks salad with “grilled and chilled” shrimp, crabmeat and rockfish, have been popular for those looking for lighter-fare options.
“Everybody can get something. You have your health foods then you have your cheesesteaks, smoothies, doughnuts, muffins — it’s got everything you want,” Burns explained.
“We have beachgoers in mind. You want something quick, you want something hearty, but you don’t want something super-unhealthy,” said Bedell. “If you want a half a cheesesteak and a salad, we do that here, as well.”
The menu keeps those beachgoers in mind all the way from breakfast to late-night snacks, offering their entire menu all day — from scrapple-, egg-and-cheese sandwiches in the morning, to soon offering fried Twinkles on a stick and fried Oreos topped with fresh-made Hopkins Farm Creamery ice cream at night.
“You wanna come in and get waffles at 6 o’clock, come on in,” said Merrick. “We’re super casual — flip-flops and T-shirts… Kids are coming in with skimboards.”
Desserts may be the newest items making their way to the menu, but don’t forget the sandwich specials, either.
“Our favorite show is ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,’ so we’ll have some of those sandwiches, too,” said Merrick. “We’ll do stuff like that and some other sandwiches from around the country, really. We’re just getting started.”
“We’re really trying to listen for what people want and then turn around and provide it,” added Bedell. “This is a dream for us that we’ve been contemplating over the years. We understand the culture and the mindset of the people in the area — it’s kind of been the perfect team of all four of us. It all came together.”
The Jetty Deli & Coffee Shop is located at 97 Garfield Parkway, just below Mango’s, on the Bethany Beach boardwalk. It is open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. For more information, check out the Jetty’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jettydeli or call the shop at (302) 616-2169.