“Charlie’s is our favorite place to be on a Friday or Saturday night,” said Norma Sevick from Clarksville. “The food is great, the prices are reasonable, the music is awesome and they treat you well. Charlie and Laura are good people, no doubt about it.”
Sevick was referring to Charlie and Laura Getz who, along with their business partner, Melvin Shifflett, own Charlie’s Bayside in the Village of Fenwick. The Getzes are the kind of hands-on owners who are always visible and available to their clientele.
“We have each other, our four cats and an extended family of regular customers,” said Charlie Getz. “We want to make sure whoever comes here wants to come back.”
Return customers are essential at Charlie’s because, although the sign can be readily seen from the highway, the restaurant is at the back of the shopping center parking lot and out of view as one drives past. Once there, however, people say they love the island feel of the outdoor patio dining area, with the close by-canal and its boats and the colorful tropical plants.
“We really have three separate waves of customers,” said Getz. “There are our summer people, like the Crandalls from D.C., who come to Fenwick Island for their two-week vacation every year and literally dine with us for 14 days straight. Then, in the off-season, there are the locals who really appreciate the ambiance of our fireplace and that all our entrees are $13.99 each, including the ever-popular steak, lobster and crabcakes. Lastly, there are the people who come for the music.”
“Music has been a great addition,” agreed Paul Farren of Selbyville.
Getz explained that the idea for regular music came almost two years ago after he arranged for Chris Button, Joe Mama and John LaMere to play at the restaurant to celebrate his wife’s birthday.
“Everyone had such a good time and stayed later in the evening, so we decided to do it on a regular basis,” he said.
In the off-season, the duo of Chris Button, who plays guitar and sings, and Joe Mama, percussionist, play on most Friday evenings. They describe their acoustic sound as “party rock with lots of energy.” And their repertoire is huge so they can respond to almost any request.
“We love Charlie’s, and we follow Chris and Joe around to hear them play,” said Joe and Sue Halley from North Ocean City, Md.
Jeff and Sara Bowerman made a point of inviting all their friends to Charlie’s one recent Friday night so they could all get their “fix” of classic rock for Jeff’s birthday.
“But we don’t need the excuse of a birthday to be here,” they added with a laugh.
On many a Saturday evening, Anthony Carmen and Mike Curry can be found playing at Charlie’s.
“Sometimes we play as a duo, and sometimes with my whole band, Electric Velvet,” said Carmen. Electric Velvet is on a temporary hiatus at the moment, however, as Carmen’s wife, Kristen, who is also the band’s lead singer, is soon to have their second baby.
Curry also plays with Love Seed Mama Jump and with a new band that also performs at Charlie’s, called Ginger. Ginger’s lead singer is Nancy Micciulla, who has a strong following in Philadelphia and is in the process of moving to Lewes.
The Bowermans also love Ginger.
“Nancy has a fantastic voice and makes her music so entertaining,” they said.
The common denominator of the music at Charlie’s is it is fun and familiar, and it gets the crowd dancing.
“I pick musicians who are tried and true professionals and who I know will fit in with my friendly bar atmosphere,” said Getz.
Getz has worked at the restaurant since 1984, when he was in school for hotel and restaurant management in Texas and spent his summers at the beach. He became its owner 18 years ago.
“I really enjoy the cooking side of the business best,” he said. “People love my parmesan grouper and macadamia crusted mahi mahi. And our best selling appetizer is Alaskan king crab cocktail.”
The $13.99 entrees will continue at Charlie’s Bayside until mid-May. And starting mid-June, the evenings of music will expand to include Wednesdays, as well as Fridays and Saturdays.
To keep in touch with all that is happening there, you can “friend” Charlie’s Bayside on Facebook or call (302) 539-3526. All of the musicians mentioned above also have Facebook pages.