High Stakes gets bigger

As the old adage says, “Less is more.” But for local business owner Brian Deluca, who has found success in the recent expansion of his Fenwick Island hotspot High Stakes Bar and Grill, more is more.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: High Stakes Bar and Grill in Fenwick Island nearly doubled it’s bar area. High Stakes new bar helps accommodate more customers on its busy nights.Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor
High Stakes Bar and Grill in Fenwick Island nearly doubled it’s bar area. High Stakes new bar helps accommodate more customers on its busy nights.

The establishment has come a long way from Philly’s Finest, the sandwich shop it began as more than five years ago, just a mile down Route 54 from Coastal Highway. The late spring of 2008 saw the addition of High Stakes Bar and Grill, serving the beloved sandwiches and cheesesteaks, as well as some added bar favorites.

Now, they’ve done it again, increasing the space by nearly twice as much and adding a second bar, facing the original, and more customer seating.

“Everyone seems to like it,” said Deluca. “Most of the people who come in, including myself, flock over to the new side.”

With the expanded area equipped with four new televisions, and still more to come, patrons can enjoy the game with their meal or drinks without missing a play.

“There are more bar stools, more TVs, more everything,” he added.

One of the most appealing features of the restaurant’s addition, though, is the space.

“There’s more room to move around,” Deluca added. “People know they can walk in and they will have a place to sit. There were times when you could only stand in here when there was just the one side. We still see the locals. We have a great crowd of regulars and still see some new faces.”

The additional side allows for more space at High Stakes, and special events can be accommodated, as well, from birthdays and business meetings to a wide range of private parties. Resort Poker League’s poker nights and tunes from D.J. Baltimore Bob continue to draw crowds, too. Sunday afternoons can also get exciting, as rival football fans stake their claim to each side of the bar.

“It makes things really fun,” said Deluca. “Everyone I’ve talked to is really happy we were able to do this.”

Enthusiasm for the expansion has kept the same faces smiling back to customers from behind the bar, as well.

“We were able to keep the same bartenders,” Deluca said. “Everyone was willing to pick up extra shifts, and customers like seeing the same people working here.”

The idea for the expansion came about shortly after a business vacated the shopping center strip beside Happy Harry’s.

“There used to be a mattress store in this center,” said Deluca, “and when they moved out, the people at the carpet store beside us were nice enough to take that room over and allow for our expansion.”

This winter season, High Stakes is set to enjoy the extra-large restaurant and bar. The establishment even arranged to hosted a Toys for Tots benefit on Thursday, Dec. 17.

“It’s the first time we’ve done a Toys for Tots fundraiser,” said Deluca, “and we wanted to do it in memory of Sue Meadows, a very loyal customer we recently lost. She really pushed for Toys for Tots, and we wanted to give back.”

Customers were invited to stop by between 4 and 7 p.m. with an unopened toy or a $5 donation, in exchange for which they were to receive access to a free buffet, drink specials and the social environment. Later this month, on Monday, Dec. 28, High Stakes will host a customer appreciation evening, with food and drink specials.

The new bar is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on special occasions. Reservations for large parties are also available. And, by next summer, Deluca hopes that business will peak.

“It will be the first time that our new bar sees a summer crowd,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to it. It keeps us busy, but everyone here is capable of handling it, and our customers are really enjoying themselves.”

For more information, stop by High Stakes Bar and Grill, just off Route 54, beside Happy Harry’s in Fenwick Island, or call (302) 537-6971. The restaurant can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HighStakesBar.