Anyone who drives on Route 26 in Ocean View on a regular basis has surely noticed the two train cars sitting on the north side of the road about a half-mile from Bethany Beach.
Come Memorial Day weekend, those two cars will be a part of Ocean View Station, which will combine retail space with a new restaurant, the Royal Zephyr. And they won’t just be decorations. The two cars will serve as the dining rooms for the restaurant.
“We just thought it would be a real good, unique idea,” said Anthony Christopher, the executive chef and general manager for the Royal Zephyr.
One of the trains will be first-class, Christopher added, and the other will be coach. In the coach car, he and the staff will serve standard “American cuisine” breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Local residents will be able to eat anything from a standard breakfast to sandwiches and salads to pork chops steak and fried chicken from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., year-round, in the more moderately-priced dining room.
In the first-class car, things will be a bit different.
In the “upscale” dining room, the Zephyr will serve more expensive dinner in a “fine-dining” environment. The restaurant’s employees will serve entrees such as lamb and filet mignon.
“Everything is going to be upscale,” said Christopher, who worked as the head chef at The Parkway — a Bethany Beach restaurant — for six years.
In the building adjacent to the two train cars, there will be two retail areas. One will serve as a gift shop for the Royal Zephyr and the other will be a furniture store, Christopher said.
There will also be corporate offices for the Gulfstream, the Ocean View development company that is building the appropriately-named Ocean View Station. Bill Davey, Gulfstream’s project manager, has been working with Christopher on the project for more than a year.
Before working at The Parkway, Christopher worked as a chef in the four-star Inn at Nichols Village hotel in northeast Pennsylvania. In his experienced opinion, Christopher said, he expects the retail stores and the restaurant will do well, even though they are located in the mostly-seasonal Delaware coastal area.
“I think it’s going to do fantastic; I think we’re going to do alright year round,” Christopher said. “It will be a family- and couple-oriented (place).”