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Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant

/ Updated on September 14, 2017
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Last fall, huge machinery made short work of the old Gilligan’s restaurant building at 134 Market Street – right on the canal in Lewes- that started many years ago in a boat and a chicken coop (really!).

The new Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant is almost identical in size to the old building, but that’s where the similarity ends. The popular outdoor deck bar/dining is roomier, and that nasty tree over the outdoor deck that loved to drop stuff on your food is finally gone. Indoor dining has increased to about 62 seats, with the inside bar increasing from 6 to 12 seats. Dining is split into two dining rooms on either side of the new indoor bar. In a clever design move, the indoor bar is now parallel with the deck bar, thus streamlining service AND providing a canal view for patrons sitting inside. And Cheryl’s famous crabcakes are back and better than ever.

Gilligan’s owner Cheryl Tilton filled us in on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie.  Click here to listen!

The Rehoboth Foodie will be broadcasting the Sip & Bite Show LIVE from Gilligan’s from 3-5 on Saturday, Sept. 30! Be there!

Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant is known for unusual takes on otherwise standard items. For example, last night’s soup special was snapper turtle. You don’t hear that all the time! Though we had our minds set on other apps, reviews from a neighboring table were 100% positive. Who adds kale to crab dip!?! Well, Cheryl Tilton and her kitchen crew do just that, and it is a nice addition. The dip itself is mildly redolent of sherry, with a hint of Old Bay. We liked the homemade chips that accompanied. Another unusual appetizer (that must be shared!) is the Island Roast Pork Fries. A decadent nacho-like pile of pulled pork, pineapple, bacon, sliced jalapenos and, of course, cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Though everyone expressed surprise at the apparent excess, the plate was clean when it was finally wrenched out of our trembling hands.

I had the baby kale caprese salad and though it bears the name “caprese,” it’s a lot more than that. the mozzarella is in the form of croutons, and almonds add a crunchy element to the dish. It’s rounded out with basil and balsamic.

One of the mainstays at Gilligan’s is the “Dill-icious” shrimp salad. The bright kick of dill is enhanced by a squirt of Sriracha and the obligatory Old Bay. You can get that as a sandwich or over greens, of course.

No visit to Gilligan’s is complete without trying one of Cheryl’s crabcakes. I always say that crabcakes are like pretty much any regional food like BBQ, pizza, etc., in that no two are ever the same. I’ve seen them broiled, fried, baked in butter – you name it. The crabcake that has helped to keep Gilligan’s in business over these many years is quite generous – about baseball-sized. It is all lump crabmeat with a hint of Old Bay. I really like the restraint in the seasoning department. The outside coating is also lightly seasoned, but adds a very nice crunch to the experience. On our first visit since they opened, I ordered the crab cake because I had to. Now I order it every time. It is available as an entree (on our last visit it was cradled on a little mound of mashed ‘taters) or as a sandwich. I love the toasted roll – or you can order it cradled in greens.

Entrees start at around $20 and go up to around $27. Take a look at the grilled salmon dish in the photo gallery – it was beautifully presented (I love the slight char on top) and surrounded by a lake of very good white-bean gazpacho. A chopped hard-boiled egg and pea tendrils complete the plate. Like the great majority of restaurants here at the beach, Gilligan’s varies their menu around the seasons. Of course the mainstays are always available.

Owner Cheryl is the sole creator of Gilligan’s desserts. Truth be told, her heart of hearts lies in the realm of  sweet goodies. In fact, it is often a mystery among the servers and kitchen staff as to what Cheryl will come up with. That’s why it is always part of a tableside narrative and not printed on the menu. A good indicator is what fruit is in season. Strawberries? peaches? … her sweet endings will probably feature those. On our last visit, the server very strongly recommended the strawberry/rhubarb pie-cake. It’s a pie! No, it’s a cake. Gadzooks… it’s both! Take at look in the gallery for this buttery confection. We also had the peach pound cake – with the peaches baked in to the cake. Again- see them in the gallery.

The obvious value-added at Gilligan’s Waterfront Restaurant is the amazing outdoor dining area. Cradled in and among the buildings that comprise The Inn at Canal Square, it is smack dab on the dock facing across the canal between Irish Eyes and the Wharf. The outside bar is covered (mercifully) so even if it rains, one can maintain one’s seat while sipping and biting there on the dock of the … canal.

It’s been no secret that Gilligan’s new inside design is attractive, yet VERY acoustically active. But I am not awarding a low noise grade, as Cheryl recently hired a brilliant acoustics consultant to design and install devices to quiet the rooms down. All that should be installed by the end of September. Get on over there. It’s roomy, bright, and lots of fun – not entirely unlike The Rehoboth Foodie.

Gilligan’s is at 134 Market St. in Lewes, tucked down that little hill on the canal. You can call for reservations at 302-644-7230.

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

Add Your Comment
  1. Rae Tyson says:

    I have a policy of not trying a restaurant until I can preview the menu. Gilligan’s does not appear to have a website and, although I don’t do Facebook, a friend tried to log in and there was no menu to be found. Got excited by the prospect of another off-season option. But I will not waste time and money without a look at a menu. Restaurants should realize that not everyone in southern Delaware uses Facebook.

  2. Sean M says:

    We eat at Gilligan’s every summer. I don’t understand some of the few poor reviews. Anyway, this summer was the best yet! Great seating on the patio, amazing chef, full bar, and great service from Alayna.

  3. Bob Lilley says:

    Two of us went there this past Wednesday for lunch…..Had to wait outside in the sun until the young hostess stopped playing with her phone….When we entered no one came to greet us or seat us…….Very unorganized…We sat at a table for 10 minutes…..No one even approached us…….We left and will never try that place again !!! To bad….Poorly run business…I’d say no management !

  4. Walter Pazik says:

    Nice, but where is it? Oakland, CA?

  5. Andrea says:

    Our family has gone to Gilligan’s for many years and it became one of our favorite restaurants in the area. Like many we couldn’t wait until it re-opened.
    While change is always welcome, unfortunately, we found that the changes in the menu were not positive ones. The crab dip use to be made with lump crab meat but now you don’t even know it exists in the typical cheesy dip that is served in many restaurants in the area. The same carries throughout the rest of the menu. Although the atmosphere is wonderful the food is not. 🙁

  6. Roberta Wuttke says:

    Georgia and I had the crab cake on greens for lunch. It was HUGE and fantastic! Absolutely no filler just crabmeat. The greens were a small salad with fresh green beans, radishes, lettuce, carrots. Homemade chips completed the dish. I could only eat half and brought the rest home for Klaus. Before we left the restaurant I made reservations for the next Sunday’s dinner. Needless to say this will be our go to spot when guest come to visit.

  7. Spencer says:

    As of today 5/28/2017 Gilligan’s in not open, a sign on the door says it will open May 30, 2017. I went down there this early afternoon 5/28/2017 and that is what the sign on the door says. Met quite a few people in town that commented on it not being open when it was listed as open. Most were very disappointed at the miss information about the place.

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      Gilligan’s has been open for dinner every night since last Wednesday. She posted on her FB page Sunday 5/28 that she was closed until Wednesday (standard computer issues, etc.). She will reopen then for good, including lunch. I noted those last-minute changes in my article on the website.

  8. Beverly Gayhardt says:

    Have been eagerly awaiting reopening as have family and many friends !!! Wonderful location ! Wonderful Food ! Excellent service!

  9. Elaine and Harvey Houck says:

    Lewes would no longer feel like home-without Gilligan’s – food is fabulous – so is the service – wonderful setting – truly a delightful experience every time -excited that we have them back.

  10. Laurie Serra says:

    Great news! Can’t wait for Gilligan’s to reopen, we have been missing their crab cakes!

  11. connie subelka says:

    We really are looking forward to visiting the new Gilligan’s Restaurant and would love to be there on opening night (or day). Please let us know when that will be. Always loved eating there, right on the canal.

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      Keep an eye on RehobothFoodie.com. When I know all my followers/visitors will know! Can’t wait to sit at the dock bar.

  12. Mary DellaVecchia says:

    We can’t wait for the opening and look forward to the great food and deserts. Please let us know asap when you have a date.

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