Downtown Blues

/ Updated on March 15, 2024

The restaurant group behind Bethany Blues & The Starboard has brought Bethany Blues' BBQ into the old Nicola's space on N. 1st St. in downtown Rehoboth Beach. They feature the same famous BBQ of Bethany Blues in Bethany Beach and Lewes. Steve “Monty” Montgomery says, “Downtown Blues has been fully renovated to fit this historic space that is special to so many who live in and visit Rehoboth Beach.” 

While the famous Nicola's train set and merry-go-round horses have traveled north to Nicola's new Lewes location, the Bethany Blues team kept some of the iconic feel with the front window booths, semi-open kitchen. They added a cozy bar area to the back corner featuring their famous bourbon collection. They will be open year-round venue open for lunch and dinner. It's exciting for the local team from Bethany Blues and The Starboard to venture into downtown Rehoboth for the first time!

We finally made it there for lunch after they were open for just a week, and we decided to order just the things that the other B'Blues locations do not have on the menu. (We eat at Bethany Blues quite a bit, as you probably figured out.) I got the Birria Tacos. Three fully stuffed smoked beef tacos were delivered on firm corn tortillas. Pickled radishes and onions added color and a nice acidic balance to the savory meat. A shining star on that plate is the “esquitte”-style creamed corn. Esquitte refers to an off-the-cob version of elotes (grilled on-the-cob Mexican street corn) drizzled with a cheesy, lime-scented sauce containing chilis. Please don't accuse me of hyperbole … but it is absolutely delicious. They should serve it in a bowl as an appetizer!

We love southern food, and were pleased to see a Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sammie on the menu. Of course we ordered it. Those of you who follow know how I feel about fried chicken, and this was a surprise (after all, these are people who smoke pretty much everything). The boneless white-meat chicken was properly fried to a crunchy perfection with nary a hint of oil inside. It's all about the fryer temperature and this kitchen knows that. They called it spicy, but of course they need to defer to the spice wimps (and you know who you are!) so I dribbled on more hot sauce (they have a nice “Heat Me Up” sauce on the table that I suspect was brewed up by chilihead Chip Hearn himself). All that notwithstanding, the chicken sandwich is quite good on a nice, warm soft roll.

No Rehoboth Foodie article would be complete without my urging you to get the Pigs on the Wing. I don't even have to order it anymore at the Lewes installation. They just bring it. Rib sections are properly smoked, flash-fried to crisp 'em up, then slathered in a tasty buffalo sauce. The addition of  chunky blue cheese dip, celery and sometimes carrots actually makes it into a salad. So get two. Why not?!

By the way, longtime Bethany Blues managers Jessica Nathan and Zac Warner have joined the ownership team as part of this new chapter for them and for the restaurant group. They  are open from 11:30 to midnight every day in season. They DO NOT take reservations, but you can call them at (302) 900-2227 if you must.

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. Avatar Tom Schwab says:

    Our family recently had a take out order. We had an excellent experience. We ordered the preset for six. Cornbread was a big hit. Blue Cheese wedge salad was delicious, and enough for lunch the next day. We had the baby back ribs, beef brisket, and pulled pork. The grandchildren (girls 1 and almost 4) liked the pork. The women who handled the ordering and pick-up service were exceptional. High recommendations.

  2. Avatar Frank says:

    Is Nicola also closing their location around the block?

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