Local restaurants opening their doors for the season

With half of April already gone, many of the area’s restaurants are opening up again and looking forward to the 2008 summer season.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: Above, a gatherinig of people enjoy some food at Baja Beach House Grill while enjoying each other’s company. Right, the crew at the Fenwick Crab House are ready for the season.Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor
Above, a gatherinig of people enjoy some food at Baja Beach House Grill while enjoying each other’s company. Right, the crew at the Fenwick Crab House are ready for the season.

The Blue Crab and Baja Beach House Grill in Bethany Beach have been opened since Easter weekend, and Fenwick Crab House’s opening night for the season was set for April 11, 2008.

Tim Haley, owner of the Blue Crab, said they spend much of the winter cleaning and gearing up for the new season.

“We scrub the place from top to bottom, and winterize it,” he explained.

During their seasonal closing, they have also added a new steamer that will help prepare steamed clams — a new item this year — and their ever-popular crabs and steamed corn. Haley said the restaurant was right at capacity last year, so the new steamer will help. Haley and his crew are looking forward to the 2008 season — their fifth. “It’s our fifth season, and we’re already a Bethany landmark!” said Haley.

“This is our fourth weekend back,” he continued. “We opened early because Easter was earlier this year, and it’s been extremely good. It’s going great. We have a whole lot of repeat business and loyal customers. We’ve only been opened four weekends, and we have had one group that’s been in four times.”
Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor: The crew at the Fenwick Crab House are ready for the season.Coastal Point • Monica Fleming
The crew at the Fenwick Crab House are ready for the season.

For now, the Blue Crab is open Thursday through Sunday, and the staff is looking forward to opening seven days a week starting the weekend before Memorial Day. They are open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call (302) 537-4700.

Rick Hundley of Baha Beach Grill said their biggest change is a change they did not make.

“We didn’t increase our prices for 2008, and not a lot of people can say that,” he shared. Their menu will stay consistent and Miguel, the chef, will be back for his seventh season.

“All the line cooks are the same, and we’ll be getting a new group of international students for the front of the house,” said Hundley.

Baja Beach House has been open since Good Friday, and they are currently open for breakfast and lunch Thursdays and Sundays and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. They also have happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays — something Hundly said has become quite popular with customers. They will open seven days a week on the first day of May, and happy hour will be available every day then.

“We just need good weather. This year, with more places open and the economy and the weather, we decided to wait until we got to May,” explained Hundly.

Baja Beach House Grill has everything from chips and salsa to chicken, steak or pork quesadillas. In addition to their burritos, quesadillas, tacos and fajitas, they have many other favorites, including burgers, wings and crab cakes. They are located at 109 Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach. For more information, visit bajabeachhouse.com online or call (302) 537-9993.

Opening night for the Fenwick Crab House was set for Friday, April 11. As for any big changes this season, “We’re all status quo,” said owner Scott Fornwaldt.

“All but four of our employees are coming back, and that’s something we’ve been bragging about,” he noted.

At any given time, the crab house has about 40 employees, many of whom have worked there for years. Manager John Carey has been there for 25 years, server Mandy Furlow for 18. Hostess Rita Williams and server Traci Lasher have been there for 16 and 11 summers, respectively.

They are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. until Mother’s Day and seven days a week after that. They will open at 11 a.m. from Memorial Day on.

The Fenwick Crab House has been opened since 1962 and serves everything from clams casino to jambalaya. For people who aren’t lucky enough to be vacationing in the area anytime soon, they also ship their fresh Maryland crabcakes anywhere in the continental U.S. For more information, visit www.crabcakeexpress.com online or call (302) 539-2500 or 1-888-539-6559.