Eating For Less At The Beach

by Dave on October 22, 2010

by Pam George

Coastal Sussex is known for its beautiful beaches, sparkling surf—and fine dining. And boy, do the tourists know it.  They blanket the beach during the day and clean their plate at night. But now that it is the off-season, it’s the local foodies’ time to take advantage of the beach’s cuisine—often at significantly less prices.

The off-season promotions make business sense. “The fluctuation in our business is so drastic,” says Matt DiSabatino, co-owner of Striper Bites, Kindle and Half Full, all in Lewes.

Scott Kammerer of Highwater Management, a beach-based hospitality management group, agrees. “Off-season food and drink specials are an integral component of shoulder season marketing campaigns,” he says. “They provide an opportunity for restaurants to showcase their establishments to local residents at discounted prices while increasing foot traffic, creating good will in the community and allowing their staff to experience high volume shifts in an otherwise off-peak market segment.”

The challenge, he adds, is to come up with promotions that are attractive and aggressive enough to lure in local residents yet still maintain traffic on non-discounted nights.

Half-price burgers were early initiatives on the scene. Striper Bites offers its deal on Monday nights; Kindle cuts its burger prices on Wednesdays. “It definitely generates a lot of business,” DiSabatino says of the burger offer, which Striper Bites has featured for four years. About 80 percent of the guests—many of whom are locals—order burgers on Mondays.

The Summer House in Rehoboth also boasts a half-price burger night on Mondays. Apparently, beef is big. Tuesday is steak night at The Summer House. Striper Bites shows customers the beef on Wednesdays, when you might find a sirloin steak regularly priced at $19 for just $15.

Bovine Night at Kindle is on Thursdays, when you can get a filet and a glass of wine for $25. Claws Seafood House also caters to carnivores on Thursdays, when $12.99 will buy you your choice of filet mignon, New York strip or the cut of the evening with two sides.

To shake things up a bit, Nage in Rehoboth Beach on Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 will showcase Hickman’s steaks and the traditional sides, complete with steak carving on a butcher’s block brought into the restaurant for the occasion.

When it comes to promotions, restaurants should highlight their cuisine. “Restaurants that exemplify their quintessential experience at discounted prices for loyal guests are the true winners in this dynamic,” Kammerer says.

At the Cultured Pearl in Rehoboth, Monday night guests can choose three rolls from the list of more than 20 for $13, which also includes miso soup, edamame beans and green tea.

The seafood restaurant Fish On in Lewes on Mondays and Thursdays lets customers choose from three seafood entrees: linguini and clams, crab cake or fish “on” chips. Bluecoast in Bethany creates oyster specials on Thursdays. Lupo di Mare on Wednesdays slashes its pasta dish prices in half.

At Claws, you can create a surf-and-turf on steak night by adding shrimp or a crab cake. The restaurant regularly offers $16.99 lobster nights, and Wednesday is crab cake night: two crab cakes and sides for $15.99; a crab cake sandwich for $9.99 and “turf” and a crab cake for $19.99.

Pasta, seafood, steak—why not chicken? Salt Air on Thursdays features its organic, free-range chicken and three sides for $13.

Multiple-course or prix fixe meals are all the rage. Salt Air on Sundays offers three courses—any appetizer, any entrée and any dessert on the menu—for $19. Nage on Tuesday and Wednesdays offers three courses for $38. Eden on Wednesdays features three courses for $35.

All year long Sunday Supper—three courses for $19—are available at Fish On, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View, Lupo di Mare, Betty’s in Rehoboth and Catch 54 Fish House in Fenwick Island.

In what is clearly a battle for the off-season night, creativity has come into play. Striper Bites, for instance, started offering fish and chips on Wednesdays for $9—$5 less than the usual price. Nage touts Meatless Mondays with eight vegetarian options. (The regular menu is also available.)

On Foodie Fridays, Nage features a five-course chef tasting menu for $59. Why offer a promotion on a Friday? “Some people are still coming down from out of town and we want to draw from that crowd” and not just locals, says Mark Harrison, general manager.

Discounts aren’t only about the food. Half Full in Lewes gives customers a free pizza on Wednesday if customers order a bottle of wine. There is no price restriction. Eden also on that day offers half-price bottles of wine. The discounted wine is a biggie at SoDel Concepts’ restaurants, which rotate the promotion on different nights between most of its six restaurants.

Some customers simply want a restaurant to show them the money, which is why NorthEast Seafood Kitchen gives customers 25 percent off their entire check on Mondays, and Catch 54 follows suit on Wednesdays.

With so many promotions, folks at the beach can eat well this winter. “The staff looks forward to it, the clientele look forward to it,” DiSabatino says. “It adds oomph.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

[CoastalSussex] on Twitter[Coastal Sussex] on Facebook[Our] RSS Feed[Our] Email