Carlie Carey is excited beyond control.
It’s not hard to tell after walking through the door of her newly renovated restaurant, One Coastal in Fenwick Island, and being greeted with a high-five, a hug and unprecedented enthusiasm.
But she’s not just excited about last weekend’s grand re-opening event with the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce — she’s excited because of all the new happenings at One Coastal as they approach what will be their first full summer season in business, in which they’ll be able to see all of their off-season planning and changes come to fruition.
“We can’t wait to start the year,” said Carey. “This year we had time to hand-pick everything. Every menu item, every staff member, every piece of fruit or vegetable that goes into one of our juices — it’s all done on purpose. Our personality is shining through this year, and I am so proud that we have the staff to make that happen.”
After opening during the July 4 weekend last summer, the “Delaware eatery” enjoyed success as the new face on the block. So, naturally, popular concepts and menu items that made that possible will be back for year two, but everything else is being taken to the next level. The interior of the restaurant has been newly renovated, the menu has changed, they’ve added a bar menu, and they’re even growing their own vegetables on their 26-acre “custom restaurant garden.”
“For us, it was almost a no-brainer,” said Carey the farm she and her husband, Scott, have planted for the restaurant. “Scott loves to garden, and he was also an agriculture major. He not only likes to do it, but he knows all of the science behind growing vegetables.
“We are growing what we want to use, and our menu changes based on what we are growing.”
While the Careys will be growing their own tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, herbs and other produce for this season, bringing in local produce is not a new notion for the restaurant and is something that they strive for, for a variety of reasons.
“We’re not using any fertilizer that’s not natural. We’re not using any pesticides. And we just know from experience that it tastes better,” said Carey. “Some of the best tomatoes that we got last year were either from Scott’s garden or our other local farmers that have produce stands.”
The whole process goes along with the restaurant’s new official mantra, “Fished, Foraged, Farmed,” which spreads across the entire menu. Whether it’s one of their fresh hand-cut fish entrees, a fresh-to-order made juice or smoothie, Guatemalan coffee roasted in Delaware and ground to order, or a dish made with local veggies, diners can rest assured that it’s made-to-order.
“There are no shortcuts, and you can taste it,” Carey said. “We’re small enough where we can handcraft every menu item, from salad dressings to desserts to ice cream, no matter how busy we are.”
Not only is the new menu unique, but it’s balanced.
“We’re able to do the health side of it. We’re also able to do the delicious side of it. So we like to think that we brought it all together on every single one of our menus,” Carey explained. “You want sausage and gravy and homemade biscuits — you got it. You wanna go a little lighter, with the Cali bowl — red quinoa, egg whites, avocado — we can do that, too.”
At the bar, One Coastal features a variety of local craft beers on tap and a brand new cocktail list, with their signature “One Coastal Mojito,” as well as an updated wine list and even a gluten-free cider to go along with their newly implemented bar menu.
“We wanted to be a little more artisanal in our cocktail list,” Carey said of the new bar features. “We wanted to be able to offer people some lower priced [items].”
With all of the additions and upgrades, she said, customers are already starting to take notice.
“It’s awesome. We saw three different groups on Saturday night for breakfast and for dinner — multiple families who have kids,” Carey noted. “We have seen so many familiar faces. I am so flattered that people want to be around us. It’s really a testament to our awesome staff. It’s about everything.”
One customer enjoyed their experience so much that they made sure to send a Facebook message when they got home.
“It almost brought tears to my eyes, because that’s the point,” said Carey of the particularly complimentary message. “I did everything in the restaurant like it was my home, so when people say that we’re getting our message through — it’s an experience, it’s not just food on a plate.”
Right now, the restaurant is open on Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but they’ll be back to fulltime operations when summer hits.
“We’re really excited that we’re offering an experience that can’t be duplicated,” Carey said of the approaching summer season.
Stop by the restaurant at 1 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island to check it out first hand, or visit them out on Facebook and Instagram. To call in carry-out order, call (302) 537-4790.