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April 19, 2013     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette FRIDAY, APRIL !9 - MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 37 Craft beers, new menu highlight revamped restaurant By Ryan Mavity cept. We wanted to offer a whole ryanm@capegazette.com new restaurant flair." Dietterick said the menu is With a new menu, new name rustic mid-Atlantic-style corn- and new concept, Table andfort .food, with eight different Taproom made its official public flatbreads, local oysters and clam debut April 11.. chowder. The restaurant will Known for decades as the Cap- be serving breakfast, lunch and tain's Table, the restaurant is well dinner, with breakfast on Saur- known to locals, who are in for a day and Sunday and brunch on change. Sunday. General Manager Carrie Diet- Located on Route l's Forgotten terick said, "We've been toying Mile between Rehoboth Beach . with the idea for a long time. We and Dewey Beach, the restaurant wanted to do a whole new con- was purchased in December by GUESTS WERE ABLE to sample aBARBARA ELLIS SAMPLES oysters whole suckling pigat Table and Tap- from Table and Taproom's seafood room's grand opening April 11. platter. Jim Baeurle of Dewey Beach Enterprises, who brought in Di- etterick and her husband Jason as chef. Dietterick said while people were attached to the Captain's Table, the name change was a way of putting a fresh face on the restaurant. "We're separate. We're a new restaurant, new menus. We wanted to offer something for everybody. Everybody loves comfort food; everybody likes great beer and great wine, so we wanted to put that all together," Dietterick said. The grand opening allowed paid guests to sample the food and beer of Table and Taproom, with tables of lobster and oysters, cheese, beer and wine tastings and a smoked suckling pig. The bar will serve up mainly "local and regional beers such as 16 Mile, Dogfish Head and Downington, Pa.-based Victory Brewing. "We definitely want to do a lot of local brews. We love 16 Milel We love Dogfish. We wanted to keep it familiar, but we want to keep our taps rotating. We want to get some names in there that people have never heard of," Di- etterick said. To attract local residents and workers, Table and Taproom is offering a Thursday locals happy hour. lot of people in the restau- PHOTOS BY RYAN MAVITY TABLE AND TAPROOM bartender Billy Moss pours a glass of Victory Golden Monkey at the restaurant's April 11 grand opening. Formerly the Captain's Ta- ble, Table and Taproom is a rebooting of the restaurant's concept and menu. rant business don't get to go to come back for something new," happy hour, so we have happy Dietterick said. "Just someplace hour at our bar until 11 p.m.," fun for people to gather and Dietterick said. come anc enjoy." In addition, Monday happy Table and Taproom is open hours include half-priced start- from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the ers, and wine-down Fridays, week, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thurs- where from 5 to 7 p.m., for $10, days and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the customers can get 2-ounce sam- weekends. Dietterick said hours ples of any wine they like. will change during the summer. "I just want a place where For more information, call 227- people can enjoy and relax and 6203. h, Murlene! What a great cook you are! You should open a restau- rant!" And with those words begins the often urmvoidable downslide into stress, disap- pointment, financial woes, bankruptcy, possible divorce and perpetual bewilderment. Being a good cook doesn't necessarily mean you can run a restaurant. There's at least one exception to every rule, and the most no- table is none other than Nancy Wayson, formerly Nancy Wolfe, founder and proprietor of the famed Chez la Mer in Rehoboth Beach. Nancy was a foodie long before it was fashionable to be a foodie. At the Washington, D.C. congressional office where she worked in the late '60s, she and her coworkers used office birth- days as an excuse to venture out on the town to try out the latest chefs. She planned those out- ings carefully, often enlisting the advice of then-Washington Star restaurant critic John Rosson. Nancy was fascinated by the cuisine of southern France, and loved to whip up her legend- ary bouillabaisse and p t6 for family and friends. When she moved to Rehoboth Beach in 1975, they urged her to share her skills with the world. Blissfully unaware of the dire warnings cited above, she pushed for- ward, eventually narrowing her choices down to the Martin farmhouse, a residence on building and added the section that contains the bar, part of the kitchen and the treehouse roof deck. It wasn't until after corpo- rations had been formed, menus had been printed and signs had been manufactured that she discovered the French grammar gaffe that was to live forever, in Rehoboth Beach history. Chez la Mer actually translates to "at sea." She intended it to mean "house by the sea," properly ex- pressed as "Maison de la Mer." Nobody cared. Chez la Mer was busy from the day it opened to the day it closed. In June 1980, Nancy joined the brave group of fine-dining pioneers such as Back Porch Caf and the Camel's Hump, braving ghost-town winters to Coastal Highway that eventually bring upscale restauranting to became Garden Gourmet, and the beach. In spite of her talents a beach cotthge at the corner of in the kitchen, she laughs as Second and Wilmington that she tells me that she never had housed everything from the cooked again after the restau- Collins General Store to a kite rant opened. "I hired chefs," shop, a residence and an Italian she says. She even worked as a eatery. She chose downtown, line cook - taking orders from "The cottage had good bones, those chefs - so she could keep and the stucco interior whis- tabs on her cherished dishes. pered, 'South of Francey Nancy Even today, the memories of tells me. She renovated the her bouillabaisse, country-style crab imperial and veal are venerated in hushed tones by those who know the difference. I regularly get emails whin- ing that a restaurant either (1) wouldn't take reservations or (2) took reservations, but couldn't fulfill them on time because earlier diners over- stayed their welcome. Nancy came up with a clever compro- mise: She accepted reservations, but politely warned each and every party that (1) they were expected to show up on time, and (2) their stay was limited, in deference to another reserva- tion later on. She treated it as an informal contract, and interest- ingly enough, 99 percent of her guests respected that contract. Of course, there were always the self-entitled few who rudely resented her polite reminder that another party was wait- ing (and that they had agreed to this). But her many regulars appreciated her regard for their comfort and the efforts she made to ensure their orders ar- rived in a timely manner so they could enjoy a leisurely dinner. "It was sometimes very, very difficult," Nancy told me. "But PHOTO BY BOB YESBEK CHEZ LA MER FOUNDER Nancy Wayson lives locally and has no in- tention of opening another restau- rant. it was a mater of professional- ism and respect.? When I asked her just how difficult it was to maintain this arrangement, she smiled and replied softly, "That's why I got out of the business." And so goes The Business of Eating. If it were easy, every- body would be doing it. Bob Yesbek is a serial foodie and can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.