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May 13, 2011     Cape Gazette
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I Cape Gazette I FRIDAY, MAY 13 - MONDAY, MAY 16, 2011 37 Realtors: Rentals up 20 percent over '10 By Rachel Swick Mavity rachel@capegazette.com Traffic is starting to pour into Cape Region resort areas as warmer days and sunshine re- turn. Even on a weekday, motorists will fred parking is getting scarce on Rehoboth Avenue, especially during the dinner hours. The early traffic uptick, paired with an increase in inquiries through the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce website, tells chamber execu- tives the season should be a good one. "From January to March the response for advertisement and the requests for information are our indicators. We keep track of it and compare the percentages we are up or down," said Carol Everhart, executive director of the chamber. "Our responses are up. Typically, history has shown that if responses are up, then vis- itation is up." Over the past several M mori- al Day weekends, visitation records have been broken in Re- hoboth and Dewey, Everhart said. She expects this year could continue the record-breaking tradition. "Right now we are seeing an increased demand on informa- tion for the area," Everhart said. "Using that as my indicator, it looks like we will have a great Memorial Day." Trends continue to show visi- tors taking advantage of long weekends instead of weeklong stays. Last year, Everhart said many visitors to Cape Region re- sorts stayed three to four days, but of course many vacationers opt to rent houses in beach towns for an entire week as well. "Renters are telling me their numbers are up," Everhart said. "It looks very promising. How much money they spend here re- mains to be seen." Sharon Palmer, vice president of the Sussex County Associa- tion of Realtors and head rentals agent for Coldwell Banker, said overall rentals are up 20 percent over this time last year. "I think people are tired of be- ing hunkered down with the economy, and we're very lucky that we are in an area close to so many metropolitan areas that they can get here on a tank of gas," Palmer said. Palmer said increased traffic in town at this time of the year is likely a result of seasonal resi- dents who are coming to open up their houses, do repairs and pre- pare for the season. Palmer said the real traffic will start closer to the end of June when children are out of school, and families are coming for weeklong stays. Continued on page 38 RACHEL SWICK MAVITY PHOTOS PARKING SPOTS along Rehoboth Avenue are already filling up during the week as visitors and locals enjoy the sunshine, warmer temperatures and delicious dining opportunities. he target is Memorial Day as owners of Re- hoboth bistros put the finishing touches on their new digs. On Wilmington Avenue, New Jersey restaurateur Tony Nomikos, formerly of Zor- ba's and Ocean Point Grill, brings 42 years of experience to his Mediterranean-flavored Tus- can Grill. (( Bob Yesbek The vacant and spooky Cul- tured Pearl spot has been com- pletely transformed. You won't recognize the place! Sunlight flows onto new tables.and wall murals depicting Mediterranean landscapes. Last week, electricians hung ceiling fans and plumbers fussed over kitchen equipment as Tony supervised from a booth, still wrapped in plastic (the booth, not Tony). I dropped in as he was inspecting the new menu. He asked me not to reveal any- thing, so of course here goes: Dinner at Tuscan Grill in- cludes Pasta Your Way. Choose from six pastas in column A (in- cluding wheat penne), then top them with one of seven sauces from column B (including pep- pery Diavolo and vodka). All this.talk of columns A and B is making me hungry for Chinese food. Sorry, Tony. His promise of fresh seafood is evident in dishes like Fruiti di Mare Paridiso. Get this: jumbo shrimp are saut&d in Parmesan. Alfredo sauce then tossed with homemade fettuccini. Top it off with lumps of fresh crabmeat. That's what I'm getting. For those of the carnivorous persua- sion, beef, pork and lamb entrees are prepared in the styles of Greece and Tuscany. The bar is right smack in the front window, affording a panoramic view of competing restaurants. Nomikos imported his bartender from Australia, and apparently this guy's known for his killer martinis (he better be - that's a 10,000-mile trek). Bar snacks include fresh oysters anal clams casino, as if you need an excuse to order a second cocktail from that Aussie mixol- ogist. Hobos' Gretchen Hansen looks particu- larly seductive surrounded by salsa and chips. Last week, Baltimore Avenue restaurateur Gretchen Hansen whomped up a complimentary buffet to celebrate Hobos' sec- ond year in Rehoboth Beach. The California-born chef man- aged to blend her vegetarian/ve- gan inclinations with a festive nod toward Cinco de Mayo. A mountain of cool guacamole shared the table with a wheel of baked bile the size of a Cadillac hubcap. A deeply savory (yet meatless) chili simmered along- side buttery crostini that served as crunchy shovels for all the dippables. Gretchen made the moment charitable by collecting contri- butions for Delaware Guidance, an organization dedicated to providing mental health services for kids. Board of directors member (and owner of Carltons Apparel) Trey Kraus kept Ho- bos' bartender company as the sizable crowd tossed over a thousand bucks into the till. Moving southward, Cos- mopolitan Grill is up and run- ning. No soft opening for Wilm- ington Avenue partners Beal Thomas and Ken Gerhart: They operate seven days, from 9 ro_ 'til 1 a.m. A noteworthy indul- gence at Cosmo is the Kentucky Hot Brown, fLrst constructed at the historic Brown Hot'el in Louisville. Think of it as a turkey sandwich on steroids. Eat this, and you won't need anything else for the rest of the day. Join them for 6-M Monday, featuring martinis, manhattans, mojitos, margaritas and Matthew Ken- worthy at Beal's grand piano. BOB YESBEK PHOTOS TUSCAN GRILL is close to completion as Tony Nomikos (right) thinks he's not in the photo. Just up the street, Cypress (where Shag used to be) is preparing to_debut its New Or- leans menu and Mardi Gras- style cocktails. Looks like Ken Heaps and staffwill make it just under the wire. By tlhe way, watch out for a new e atery where the Oasis Convemience Store used to be at the coJmer of First and Wilming- ton. Mly spies report that it will be callled Romeo's. Returning to Baltimore Av- enue, l.auren Cox-Ristenbatt and her husband are almost fin- ished transforming Caf Sol in- to simply_Sol& Eden's Mark Hunker and ]eft McCracken continue fitting up ]AM Bistro's new home in the venerable Camel's Hump build- ing. Get 'em while you can, kids, because there's a good chance that all three Sussex Five Guys stores will close permanently. The Bethany and Rehoboth lo- cations never did reopen, and we may lose Lewes unless some- body steps up to the plate...soon. Those juicy, never-frozen burg- ers will be sadly missed. The former Home & Compa- ny space on Rehoboth Avenue will morph into a PrimoHoagies sandwich franchise. It appears that the thing to get at this land- mark Philly carryout is the Turkey Schwartzie, That should keep you guess- ing until next week. Bon app&it. Bob Yesbek is a notorious foodie and can be reached at Bob@RehobothFoodie.com. 1