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.
That pork belly slider1/18 2nd Street Tavern2/18 2nd Street Tavern3/18 2nd Street Tavern4/18 2nd Street Tavern5/18 2nd Street Tavern6/18 2nd Street Tavern7/18 2nd Street Tavern8/18 2nd Street Tavern9/18 2nd Street Tavern10/18 2nd Street Tavern11/18 The apple crisp with crackly filo12/18 their signature beeramisu13/18 Wagyu as a burger14/18 chicken over pappardelle. A special15/18 Fried Green tomato with soup16/18 Kennett ‘shroom ravioli17/18 The mixed beet salad18/18
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.