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Palate Bistro & Catering

/ Updated on April 28, 2019

Gary and Lorraine Papp (the original chefs at The Buttery many years ago) and proprietors of Essential Chef have opened Palate, a catering/cafe/gourmet to go combo. These two talented toques come fully armed with a list of references that include Governor Markel, Senator Tom Carper and Representative John Carney. Before they moved to the beach in the early ‘90s, Gary and Lorraine were the proud owners of the Wycombe Inn, a Victorian country inn just outside of New Hope, PA. They were expecting the arrival of their second child at the same time that hotelier and restaurant manager John Donato and psychotherapist Twain Gonzales were scouting around Lewes to open their first restaurant. As luck would have it, Donato had helped cater the Papp’s wedding, so in 1994, Gary, Twain, John and the eight months pregnant with a 2 year old-in-tow Lorraine opened the Buttery in the New Devon Inn (now the Hotel Rodney). The rest of the story is Buttery history, with Donato and Gonzales plunking down pretty much everything they had to revamp the stately Lewes Victorian at Second and Savannah that’s been home to The Buttery ever since. In mid-2016 they finally walked away from The Buttery, selling it to Chef Wilson Gates. OK. Enough history.

After almost ten years helping to make The Buttery what it is today, Gary and Lorraine created their own brand, The Essential Chef. “We wanted to share our knowledge and experience on three levels,” Gary says. “The first was education.” Since February, ’09, he has been teaching culinary arts to disabled and alternative learning students for Now We’re Cooking, a vocational program operated in Georgetown by the First State Community Action Agency. Students develop personal skills, learn nutrition and get job training at the same time.

The second level of The Essential Chef is consulting. In 2008, Gary worked closely with Brick Hotel owners Ed and Lynn Lester to help open The Brick Restaurant and Tavern, assisting in the kitchen layout and design for the Georgetown landmark. Gary and Lorraine are most proud of the long list of loyal catering clients who make up the third element of The Essential Chef. And now comes phase four: Palate Café & Catering in the Shops at Seacoast (by the Safeway). This week’s grand opening drew a veritable who’s who of Rehoboth gastronomic glitterati including Kris and Tony Etze of Abracadinner, Jack and Denise Clemons from Cape Gazette, Catherine and Kevin Hester of Teller Wines … the list goes on and on.

In addition to showcasing Gary and Lorraine’s catering services, Palate is an artfully designed bistro-style eatery with a copper-top bar, tapestried walls and an extensive kitchen. Like their one-of-a-kind dishes, the menu at Palate steps out of the box with delicacies such as spicy sesame watercress salad, a craft Caesar with kale and locatelli cheese, bourbon & brown sugar-braised beef brisket, coriander cumin eggplant and chickpea stew (a vegan favorite), and Gary’s famous lump crab and Vermont cheddar hot dish. Of course, the slightly less adventurous (and you know who you are!) can get the grass-fed all-beef burger, Lorraine’s known-the-world-over chicken salad with granny smiths, or a cast-iron ribeye with a coffee stout glaze. Give them a call at 302-249 8489 or visit TastePalate.com to double check their hours.

Palate is open for lunch and dinner from 11 until 9 every day in season and from 9-2 for Sunday brunch. Happy Hour specials from 4-6. Check out the menu here.

Lorraine is an exceptional pastry chef and Gary not only does catering for huge events but he also teaches culinary arts in Georgetown. They have tasty salads, sandwiches and entrees, in addition to wine and goodies served on a copper-top bar. See the Specials listing below for Palate's hours.

Listen to Gary and Lorraine talk about their brand-new venture on Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie on Delaware 105.9.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

19266 Coastal Highway

The Shops at Seacoast (Safeway center)


Open 11:30-2 for lunch, and 4:30-8 for dinner
Seafood Pasta $22!
Open 11:30-2 for lunch, and 4:30-8 for dinner
Crab Cake and Beef Tenderloin (Steak and Cake!) only $24
Open 11:30-2 for lunch, and 4:30-8 for dinner
Fisherman's Stew $22!
Open 11:30-2 for lunch, and 4:30-8 for dinner
Open 11:30-2 for lunch, and 4:30-8 for dinner
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 Sam Reklaw says:

    We had their special Valentines Dinner on Friday, February 11th. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever tasted in Sussex County. The soup was smooth and flavorful. The salad was quite different and tasty. The entree of petit filet and crab cake with mashed potatoes and green beans was the best I’ve ever eaten. Everything was well seasoned and cooked perfectly! To top it off the chocolate pot de creme and strawberry were to die for!! Thank you fir a wonderful dinner.

  2. Avatar Doug Parham says:

    One of our favorite restaurants- Palate knocked it out of the park on cold, windy rainy winter night. After experiencing family led reunions featuring Texas Brisket I was not a big fan and never ordered it. Tonight I took a chance. Palate’s 14 hour slow cooked brisket with a delicious sauce has made me a believer- YYUUMMHH!

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