Big Chill Beach Club

/ Updated on October 30, 2017
The Umbrella Deck at La Vida Hospitality Group and the Delaware State Parks’ Big Chill Beach Club opened on Memorial Day weekend 2017, and the hi-tech, family-friendly rooftop restaurant at the Seashore State Park South Side Beach area is going full swing. Even in the rain, the place has been packed (take a look at the photos in the gallery).
 I was honored to attend a rollout ceremony in early May 2017 with Gov. Carney, Pete Schwartzkopf, La Vida principals, and a long list of media people. Take a look at my photos by scrolling through the gallery. La Vida Hospitality Group is working closely with the State Parks people on making the additions to the park to be environmentally friendly AND a great addition to the existing beach experience.
The kicker to the entire project is the $400,000 Umbrella Room. (See the image!) This amazing piece of technology, made in Austria, can withstand 110 mph winds, and seats a large number of people – with a 360 degree view – in total comfort. The “umbrella” roof can be opened or closed depending on the weather. The upper deck area is constructed atop the existing concession building and seats about 200 people with an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Rehoboth Bay and, of course, the IR bridge bathed in cobalt blue at nighttime. Adjacent to the restaurant/dining building there is a tented and floored wedding/event venue which will also afford an amazing view of the ocean and the bridge. Future improvements in the works include a live stage venue at the mouth of the river as it meets the Atlantic.
Listen to Josh Grapski and Taco Reho guy Billy Lucas describe the menu being offered at the new Big Chill Beach Club on the 5/27 Sip & Bite Show.
Food and management is under the watchful eye of Billy Lucas of LaVida Hospitality (Fork & Flask @ Nage, Crooked Hammock, Taco Reho and Big Chill Surf Cantina), the same entity that provides the food service and management to the restaurant at Lefty’s Alley and Eats in Lewes. This is NOT fine dining. It’s tacos, fries, chips & queso. Don’t go there expecting food on the level of Nage or other more formal sit-down restaurants. The menu centers around a beachy theme, with simple food that’s easy to take down to the water or to enjoy on the casual upper deck. Some of the menu items are very creative. (Listen to the Billy Lucas podcast below to get a sneak peek.)
Big Chill Beach Club is seasonal. They closed for the 2017/2018 winter season on Oct. 29th, 2017. They will reopen in spring 2018.
Listen to business partner Mitch Rosenfeld do the big reveal during the 1/14 broadcast of Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie !
This public and private sector partnership is focused on continuing to attract guests to experience the park there at the Indian River Inlet, while adding more ways to enjoy the great beauty of that one-of-a-kind panoramic view. Click to see the website.
(Nighttime closeup images courtesy Donnie Vanderslice.)
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

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  1. Jenn says:

    I look forward to seeing a full review of the Big Chill…. while I enjoy and almost always check out your reviews I dont find them to be very critical or maybe you like everything or get better food and service than the rest of us. The Big Chill had amazing atmosphere but I have been there twice now and the food was not great and way overpriced. It’s really a disappointment coming from this group of food people. Maybe your friendships blind your true opinion? In the end I do love that you know food and are so on top of what’s going on, so really would love to see this review…

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      I appreciate your note, but I suspect that you are not reading the reviews in their entirety. It is a rare review on the website where I don’t cite problems here and there.
      For some reason people are going to the Big Chill expecting food on the level of Nage. That is not the case. It is tacos, fries and such, on the level of a food truck. That is their intention, since much of the food is meant to be eaten on the beach. Big Chill is NOT fine dining. It was never meant to be. I review places on that they claim to be and how well they execute that. And my final review will be based on that.
      There are very few bad restaurant here simply because they would not survive through the off-season. I have posted a number of very critical reviews on the website, and many of those restaurant have since gone out of business. I invite you to see my more detailed response on my FAQ page. http://rehobothfoodie.com/faqs/

  2. Linda Uhlhorn says:

    The local paper said it would open Friday the 26th so we drove from Lewes and when we got there it wasn’t open yet and one of the gentlemen working there told us MAYBE June 1, that they wanted to get it right. Well now I hear it opened before the 1st? Very disappointed that we were given the wrong info.

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      Not sure what paper printed that, but it was incorrect. There was no way they could have opened on the 26th. They did open over that weekend for very limited hours, and they are now open every day.

      • Linda Uhlhorn says:

        I apologize. It wasn’t a newspaper. It was: Delmarvanow.com May 15; Delawareonline May 17; and USAtoday May16.
        I remember searching for the opening date because we were visiting the spot every couple weeks, wanting to be part of opening day.
        Feel free to check this information
        out. Yes, they said they would be opening the 26th. I am sure many more people than us came by only to get turned away, as we did. Just sayin.
        Linda Uhlhorn

  3. Lloyd says:

    You have to pay $10 just enter the parking lot so you can spend money for dinner. Genius.?????

  4. Mike Kazala says:

    Congratulations to everyone involved and to Josh at La Vida for creating what is certain to become another big culinary and social success for the Delaware beach area!

  5. Robert B Good,Jr says:

    As a kid in the sixties, Indian River Inlet was a great place to fish and enjoy the ocean. A fellow angler that lived in Delaware said then that the state was planning to make the area a state park. Then, he said it will be changed forever. Was he ever right! I was there in late November and it very upseting how man and his quest for the almighty dollar can rationalize anything!

    • Sam Teague says:

      I agree with you 100%. I have been surfing the north side of the inlet for years. My wife and I are disillusioned at development and overcrowded use of the area. An upscale restaurant on the beach in a state park has to a be a big money grab to go along with the hundreds of new campsites. Just one more nail in the coffin of the great outdoors. Sad.

  6. Joanne Sheldon says:

    What date will this restaurant be opening? Will it be opened for only part of the year??

  7. Brian Hayden says:

    Always excited for new waterfront dining, but worried about parking/access during summer the season. The park already seems to operate at or near capacity during our increasingly busy summers. How will this venture impact the surffishers, beach goers, and campers that have been visiting the State Park for generations?

  8. Chad Morris says:

    This will be a spectacular venue for the whole area. We can’t wait to try it out and enjoy the food and views. Can’t wait for our table.

  9. Arnold Berke says:

    Two questions: (1) Is this the re-use of an existing building or the construction of a new one? (2) Looks like a lot of parking! Will that be new pavement — and will it be permeable as opposed to the usual high-runoff asphalt? This IS a park, after all.

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      The deck and dining structure will be built above the existing concession building.

    • Mitch Rosenfeld says:

      We are re-using the existing concession area as the kitchen and carry-out area for the project. The parking shown is the existing parking; the project is not adding paved areas. The restaurant and catering areas are being built on two decks with permeable surfaces to avoid run-off. We are working closely with DNREC and the Division of Parks to protect the dune and to otherwise limit any impact on the natural environment.

      • Arnold Berke says:

        Thanks, Mitch, for your factual answer. I appreciate learning that the new restaurant will be respectful to the environment. Best of luck!

  10. Kim says:

    Great about the new restaurant. I have great concerns about parking. Summer parking is horrible now, this will only congest things more! Where will overflow parking be provided?

  11. Todd says:

    This going to cut more surf fishing for us, locals

    • Janice says:

      Hi Todd – this is on the South side – hopefully it won’t encourage more people to the north side (dog beach & surf fishing). I so enjoy watching the surf fishing, the pups and the “calm” of the North Beach…… Hope this doesn’t impact your enjoyment/access to surf fishing…..

      • Sam Teague says:

        You must not have been there since they built the new campground and parking lot on the north side. The beach is so crowded you can hardly walk to the water or walk your dog . Nothing “calm” about that area during the beach season!

  12. Kathleen Edelen says:

    Love the idea! Great addition to the long stretch between downtown Bethany and Dewey which has few eating options. And oh the views!!!

    But what about parking? That lot gets jammed during the summer and the ramp from Coastal Highway into the current lot can back up to a standstill. These back-ups cut off the campers, and the boaters and residents of South Shore Marina from their sites, slips, and homes.

    I hope the welcome addition of a restaurant here helps solve some of the current traffic pattern and parking challenges.

    Because I’m already imagining sitting on that deck and watching the sun glimmer on the ocean and bays

  13. Glenn Parker says:

    Great News for Us “Campers” ….. But….Do we know the Hours of Operation? …… Live Entertainment? ….. Adult Drinks? …… last but not least WILL THERE BE ANY EFFORT TO CLEAN UP THE EXTRA TRASH ON THAT PRISTINE STRETCH OF GODS GIFT, THE BEACH??? Let’s Be honest here …. MANY PEOPLE ARE CARELESS SLOBS! I walk the beach at dawn …. I’ve seen “Her” Disgraced!

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      Breakfast, lunch and dinner. And yes to adult beverages. And knowing these people, they will not allow for trash to lower the value of their several-million-dollar installation. There will be more details in my Cape Gazette column this coming Friday.

      • Glenn Parker says:

        …. sorry, I’m quite late in getting back to comment about Big Chill Beach Cantina. I was there for the opening on Memorial day Weekend, Quite Busy (of course!) …. I just stayed long enough for a drink and a quick “Look see” …. since I have returned a few Times while camping at the inlet …. I cut to the Meat here …. I enjoyed the Views … spectacular views at sunset, Great Bar Staff! and Miss Bekka is Tireless! …. I’ve enjoyed some eats since returning …. the Mahi~Mahi sandwich with white BBQ sauce was quite tasty, as were the simple joy of Crinkle cut fries! …. I also order Big Chills version of chilled shrimp although tasty, I believe this experience was BEST described by the table behind Mine as two of that group ordered the shrimp also … a moment after the waitress delivered the Shrimp to the table and walked away …. LAUGHTER! …. Yep, they were Laughing? …. then the Gentleman stated…. “HOODWINKED” …. I’ve been HOODWINKED” …. then MY chilled Shrimp arrived … and this all made sense …. FOUR Medium shrimp/w garnish for just around $15 Dollars! …. I know I’m at the Beach, Yes, I see the Beautiful View…. BUT Hoodwinked was appropriate! …. I will NOT let this experience ruin this Restaurant for Me …. as the Crab~Cake Sandwiches at yet another Table Look Awesome ….. live & learn …. next time No shrimp! …. But I’m definitely Getting that CRAB CAKE SANDWICH!
        (oooooh, please add BREAKFAST for US Campers!)

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