2nd Street Tavern

/ Updated on March 31, 2020

On May 1, 2019, Lewes' iconic Buttery restaurant morphed into 2ND STREET TAVERN. Out with the old, in with the new. And new it is! Owner/Chef Wilson Gates had a vision for the original fine-dining icon created by John Donato and Twain Gonzales. Of course, the change to a more casual venue was met with some local resistance (a compliment to John & Twain), but change is essential in this business and The Buttery was showing signs of age. The new 2nd Street Tavern offers a large selection of draft beers, an inviting, open area with couches and chairs for relaxing, and a more wallet-friendly menu.

The more approachable menu was created in close collaboration with Chef Shane Kellagher. It has an upbeat tavern vibe but still celebrates the old Trader Mansion at 2nd & Savannah. The bar centers around a 12-tap draft system focused on local crafts. The new “inside-out” bar utilizes as much of the old bar as possible to pay homage to the historical integrity of the building. I believe the inside-out bar will be the star of the show. Check it out!

Chef Shane has certainly carved out a niche for himself there at 2nd & Savannah. He was the opening chef at 14 Global in Bethany Beach, and helped put that spot on the map. After several short stints elsewhere, settled down for a while as the opening chef for the new owners of Shorebreak Lodge. I believe that Shane has finally found a home with the Gates family.

The pub menu offered at the media/friends & family reception sported (among other things) a delicious mushroom ravioli, a very good pimiento beer cheese dip with perfectly crispy crostini, amazingly tender braised short ribs (accompanied by perfectly done broccoli) and pork belly bao buns. Three salads with an exceptionally delicious dressing were also part of the opening carte.

I will remind you that this is the beach, and menus change with the seasons, the availability of local ingredients and the overall mood of the restaurant. So though some of these items may no longer be available, you WILL find something good in its place. 2nd Street Tavern aims to please, and they are succeeding at that.

The menu has settled down, and offers a wide selection of goodies for every mood. On our last visit in very early spring 2020 we thoroughly enjoyed the pork belly sliders. Few people cook pork belly as well as Kellagher. A long braising process eliminates the earlobe-like chewiness typical of lesser pork belly preparations. The finished product has most of that rendered out, leaving a deeply savory and crispy product that has an amazing taste and an even better mouth feel. Another star of that evening was the Kennett Square mushroom ravioli. The accompanying creme sauce built from brown butter paired perfectly with the earthiness of the ‘shrooms. Scroll through the pics to see more of the dishes and some of the new, more relaxed decor!

I often gauge the expertise in the kitchen by ordering the humble hamburger. What a restaurant does with a hamburger can be indicative of their overall commitment to providing someting inviting and different to their customers. The Wagyu burger at 2nd Street Tavern fills that bill. The all-important roll was soft and pliant, providing a loving cradle for the tender meat. A savory crust on the outside of the patty enrobed an impossibly tender and moist interior. Cheese and bacon rounded out the package. Ask for Shane's pickles on the side. You will not be sorry.

As of early 2020 2nd Street Tavern offers local entertainment on the weekends.

2nd Street Tavern is in the old Trader mansion at the corner of Savannah Road and 2nd Street, directly across from Touch of Italy. The restaurant completes a trio of adjacent eateries on Savannah consisting of 2nd Street Tavern, Vinay Hosmane and GG Gupta's Raas restaurant, and Meghan Lee's Heirloom. I believe this group of restaurants will change the face of dining in Lewes. Call (302) 645-7755 for reservations.

Photos of the restaurant interior are courtesy of The Buzzlette, in all her moistness.

Follow 2nd Street Tavern on Facebook.

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. Avatar Debra Shickley says:

    I was so excited to try ur new tavern as I loved the Gatehouse. My husband and I went this evening and while we waited a long time for deviled eggs and had to fend for ourselves at the bar, locals (which we r) came in and ur bartender immediately took their order and the waitress who knew the other customers took our menus off our table and gave them to the other patrons. I was insulted and will never return. Sad. We live here and patronize the local restaurants which will not be the 2nd Street Tavern. Insulting. .

  2. Avatar Barbara says:

    The Gate House was hands down my favorite restaurant in Lewes. I ate every single thing on the menu deliberately except for the bone marrow which I need to woman-up and try for once in my life. Never had one less than fantastic meal! If the Gates family can bring the Gate House food to the big mansion all will be well. They have enough talent and imagination to stand on their own merit and not have the ridiculous task of living up to a reputation which to me was not merited in ages. Can’t wait.

  3. Avatar Regina M Bradley says:

    The venue was always great. However, the quality of the food, did not keep up with the price being charged. Happy to hear everything is being revamped. We will surely give it a try. Good Luck!

  4. Avatar Lee LeClair says:

    I wish them well. The Buttery went downhill quickly food wise but prices soared. Stopped going.

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