Café on 26 offers special space, special food in chef’s dining room

Café on 26 offers a cozy spot for lunch or Sunday brunch, and they now offer dinner seven nights a week. In addition, they’ve recently begun actively showcasing their upstairs as the “chef’s dining room.” Up to 12 people can sit in the upstairs room, which is just off of a humidity-controlled all-wood wine room, for private parties celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions.

Coastal Point • Monica Scott: Chef Jason Bostaph stands in the wine room just off of the Chef’s Dining Room, upstairs at Cafe 26.Coastal Point • Monica Scott: Chef Jason Bostaph stands in the wine room just off of the Chef’s Dining Room, upstairs at Cafe 26.Chef Jason Bostaph, a Pennsylvania Culinary Institute graduate who has been at the restaurant since their first summer three years ago and has worked in the area for 17 years, said the parties can order off the menu or he can create something customized, whichever the guests prefer.

They opened the chef’s dining room about a month ago.

“People are loving it. Word is getting around,” Bostaph said.

Jonathan Spivak, a local artist who has 20 years of restaurant experience, is helping Bostaph and owner Maria Fraser with consulting and said of Bostaph, “This guy is great.”

Fraser noted that Bostaph was named Best Chef for 2013 by Coastal Style magazine, while the restaurant received three other accolades.

“We won four ‘Best of’s’ from the Coastal Style magazine,” said Fraser. “Best Chef, Jason Bostaph; Best Appetizers; Best Authentic American Cuisine; and Best Coffee.”

She explained that the restaurant is really a family affair, with her sister Gabi Evans as co-owner, and she said her parents help out and her three sons work there, as well. Fraser said they focus on using the freshest ingredients from local purveyors and suggest reservations because of their small size. She said they also appreciate when diners carpool.

Freaser said she and her team are excited about the prospect of the chef’s dining room.

Spivak explained that he has known Fraser a long time and thought they had a wonderful space that could be utilized in a special way.

“We really want to focus it on being the chef’s dining room,” said Spivak. “I’d like to see it booked every single night in the summer.”

They explained that the room has plenty of privacy. It is surrounded by artwork created by Spivak and has been designed with the feel of a cozy dining room at the house of friends.

Bostaph said he is excited to be able to show off his love of food.

“It’s fantastic,” added Bostaph. “I love it. The whole new prospect of upstairs is great, and I’m excited.”

“We have been getting a wonderful amount of requests,” added Fraser. “It’s really a wonderful private, quiet room.”

Some of the award-winning appetizers at Café on 26 include a creamy jumbo-lump crab dip and steamed mussels, as well as a smoked duck bacon pizza. Bostaph said they cure and smoke the duck on-site and added that it is “really awesome.”

Dinner entrees include prime rib, duck breast, sea scallops, filet mignon and, of course, plenty of fish dishes.

“There is a fresh catch every day,” said Bostaph. “One of our bestsellers is the potato-Romano encrusted salmon. It’s topped with jumbo-lump crab, with a cream and dill reduction,” he explained.

They also do a whole roasted fish, which is rubbed with sea salt and stuffed with herbs.

“People are really liking that.”

They also have plenty of soups, salads and homemade desserts, and can accommodate gluten-free needs.

“This is a sweet spot,” said Spivak of Café on 26. “But people have the impression that this is a breakfast place. Our strongest suit is dinner. If people want to come for lunch, that is great, but our focus is dinner.”

He said he is excited for the time when there are “lines” of people waiting to get in to enjoy all they have to offer, both at Café on 26 in general and in the chef’s dining room.

Café on 26 is located at 84 Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 539-2233 or visit them online at