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JD Shuckers

/ Updated on January 11, 2018

After JD Shuckers changed hands several years ago, I removed the old review from RehobothFoodie.com. In spite of the fact that one of the former owners was an accomplished and seasoned chef, the place was pretty much in the ho-hum category with lackluster service. JD Shuckers ended up on the back burner.

Then I started getting emails that I needed to try the place again. One of my favorite people from Cape Gazette finally swooped down (not unlike the proverbial fiery chariot) and hauled me out there to give it another try. I finished my third visit in early 2015 last week, and there are aspects of the menu that are better than before, but some have not improved. Overall, however, JD Shuckers, under the sole control of former partner Jamie Davis, is better than it used to be.

It's nice to see an appetizer menu with more than just the standard jalapeno poppers, fries smothered in Old Bay, etc., etc. (not that there's anything wrong with that!). JD Shuckers has kicked things up a notch with Grilled Oysters Chesapeake (topped with crab dip) and the particularly good (and generously portioned) Drunkin Clams (middlenecks in white wine/garlic broth with a crunchy side of garlic bread). Both were consistent over our several visits. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the rotating Wings of the Week (we had the ones with the Sriracha honey glaze and the Ranch sauce). Enough already with the Ranch. The wings are fine on their own. Another little surprise was the Pork Potstickers. Now here, the sauce was the star: A bright and citrusy ponzu dipping sauce (made with mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes (from tuna), seaweed (kombu) and some sort of citrus from yuzu to just plain lemon). The sauce brought the OK potstickers to life.

An interesting twist to the salad menu is the Loaded Wedge to which you can add fresh fish, grilled shrimp, a crab cake, or blackened scallops. One of the cute ladies in the Cape Gazette Classified department loves the Wedge with the fresh catch. I wanted to try some, but she threatened me with a fork. I barely got the photo. You know how they can be up there in classifieds! I chose to find it charming. It sure did look good….

One standout during our visits was the calamari: Light, crunchy and flavorful without even a hint of greasiness. Somebody back in the kitchen knows his or her way around a fryer. We added a pinch of salt. There's a lot of calamari around here, but not a lot of good calamari. JD Shuckers' is some of the good kind. I have to say that this is probably the highlight of the menu.

JD Shuckers has a number of specials nights. Take for example Prime Rib night (at the moment it's Tuesday: The only night they serve prime rib). The 14 oz. slice was served with horseradish mashed potatoes and bright green and still firm (that's a good thing) green beans. I suspect the sides will vary, but both times we visited the prime rib was quite good. Especially for only $19.99. Monday night burgers provide a choice of 11 different burgers. We had the Steakhouse Burger (cheddar, onion rings and a tasty sauce). I will pause for a minute to celebrate their onion rings. I'm not sure if they are totally crafted in-house, but they are VERY good. They call them the “black & tan” rings (yes, they have stripes) and I got them on the side for several of my entrees, and you will see them in various seductive poses in the image gallery. Wednesday is pasta night, and Early Birds get their comeuppance from 4-6 daily, dine-in only.

The other burger you should try is the Shuckers Burger. Though it is the basic bacon/blue cheese burger, the caramelized onions do give it a nice twist and the bacon and blue cheese are generously applied. Nine additional toppings are a nominal 50 cents and worth the investment. Especially the jalapenos. Another sandwich sleeper on the menu is the Pulled Pork Sandwich. I always worry about these things in a non-BBQ restaurant without a stack of hickory out back, but this one will make you happy. Well-done and excellently spiced shredded pork (laced with little crispy bits) is piled high on a soft bun. Get the slaw and plop it on top of the pork. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Oyster night (at least at the time of this writing) is on Thursdays and there's also live entertainment. Half-shells are only a buck each, and the Slurp-n-Burp (love it) shooters are $3. Fried oyster app or entree (they also have an Oyster Po'Boy sandwich on the regular menu), oyster stew and the Chesapeake round out the surprisingly fair prices (this ain't Baltimore Avenue). My Cape Gazette friend's husband loves the Virginia Salts and gets them pretty much every time. A dash of Tabasco, and away we go….

Other raw bar and steamer selections include steamed shrimp (of course), Little- and Middlenecks, PEIs, and two particularly interesting offerings: Snow Crab Clusters (a pound at market price – not unusual in this fluctuating market) and a Steamed Seafood Sampler with a little bit of everything including mussels. We got that twice and it makes for a great appetizer to share.

I probably get 50 emails a week asking me where to get a large selection of crafts on tap. I have added JD Shuckers (only about 5 minutes west of Coastal Highway on Rt. 24) to that list. (Take a look at the gallery to see the crafts board.) I was particularly pleased to see my favorites (at the moment), Fat Tire and Troeg's Mad Elf (easy on The Elf – he packs a punch at around 12% ABV). All the standard bearded brewers are represented, including our very own Dogfish Head, the 16 Mile boys out there in Georgetown, Dominion, Evolution (#3 is the draft – get it), plus a few surprises like Magic Hat. Of course the board is constantly in flux, and, in particular, The seasonal Elf will go into hibernation as summer approaches.

Entrees of note include the Fresh Seared Ahi Tuna with a side of tomato chile salsa and the Blackened Shrimp & Scallop Salad. At the time of our visit, both were properly cooked with a moist interior, and beautifully presented. The blackening spice on the seafood is quite good, with just a tiny bit of heat. Like the one-night-only prime rib, the every night 10 oz. NY Strip arrived at the table properly cooked to temperature with those black & tan O-rings cavorting about. There is also a rotating Burger of the Week, and I snagged the one with bourbon-jalapeno cured bacon and a BBQ/blue cheese sauce. Like the burger night burgers, this one's put together nicely with a properly soft and yielding roll. A little bit of that sauce goes a long way, so order it on the side.

The Fried Oysters also stand out. They are served simply with a cocktail sauce that I doctor up with extra horseradish and Tabasco. The Fish & Chips comes out looking vaguely like fried flounder, but it is also quite good. This is not the typical English F&C with the big crackly crust on a fat piece of cod (and perhaps wrapped in a page from the London Times), but the fish is moist and the breading is tasty. If you like fried fish, this will not disappoint you.

If they have the bread pudding special dessert, get it TO SHARE. It's enough for the 5th Regiment, and it is quite good.

The service has improved substantially -at least for our several visits – since we were there under the former ownership. But reports since our series of visits suggest that this might not be consistent.

JD Shuckers is about 5-7 minutes west of Coastal Highway on Rt. 24. at 20750 John J. Williams Highway, Lewes. Take a look at a sample menu here. Take a look at the happy hour times & prices here. If you are just interested in the raw bar, there is a lot of bar seating with a small table area near the bar. Note that the second Tuesday of every month is the “Kids Got Talent” night. As with any event like this, some of the kids got talent, and some don't. Good, bad or indifferent, you gotta give 'em credit for getting up there and giving it a try. So if you are looking for a quiet evening or somewhat more professional music, avoid that night. However, I have to tell you (my first visit happened to be on one of those nights) that some of these kids are quite good, and it's fun to watch mom, dad, sis, Aunt Murlene and Uncle Herb cheer them on. Let your conscience be your guide.

Call them at 302-945-8850. They appreciate a heads up for large groups. Happy hour is 4-6 Mon.-Thurs. and 2-6 Fri. (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate.

Follow JD Shuckers on Facebook.

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)

20750 John J. Williams Hwy., Lewes


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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 Paula Pepper says:

    They also serve Hopkins Farm Creamery ice cream for dessert!

  2. Avatar Phillip and Jeanne says:

    Went here expecting something great! They are not anywhere there yet! Pork belly dish described as pork belly, green onions and green beans, when it finally came, it was all gnocchi with four small pieces of pork belly. We do not Luke gnocchi and never would have ordered it if we knew. As we had started our appetizer, they came with our meal asking if we were ready? I said, “do we look ready?” Server was overwhelmed. We took the food as we did not want it to get cold. Mine was the last order of their special ravioli. Hubby’s was supposed to come to capallini, instead he got penne! No explanations at all. They were out of the wine we ordered, even though they just opened, so he picked another which thankfully was quite good. It took so long for the server to ask about desert we decided to just get the check and leave. Oh yes, do not go here on a date or a romantic evening. Noise level is out of sight and we were in the “quietest table in the place,” the server said.

  3. Avatar Walt says:

    My wife and I went to JD Schuckers after reading this RehobothFoodie article wanting to try some good seafood. I ordered the Grilled Chesapeake Oysters for an appetizer. What a shock! Four (4) half oyster shells, ONE with an oyster and the rest loaded with only the dip concoction. Hardly or should I say NOT WORTH the $10 charge. Our entrees came right after the appetizer and we couldn’t wait to try them. What a disappointment! I had the fried oysters, with french fries and cole slaw. FF were reheated, cold and had many small crunchy pieces and the cole slaw (all of a 2 inch diameter container) tasted like milk over cabbage…absolutely no taste. My wife had the 2 crab patties, french fries and stewed tomatoes.
    In addition, my wife began to eat her crab patty and complained to me that it had a strong odor unlike crab she’s eaten before. I took a fork full of her crab and couldn’t eat it either as it had a bad smell to it. My wife then began to eat the french fries and complained that they were hard, cold and reheated as well. She ate the stewed tomatoes which were fine. When our waitress came by to check on us she complained to her about the crab. The waitress told us she would have the chef come by but he/she never did. We got a credit for her meal, left our tip and exited. My advice…there are better places to eat than Schuckers. In my opinion, this is a tourist trap, a restaurant with well known turnover in both staff and kitchen. Save your money.

  4. Avatar Beach Eater says:

    I’m a fish and chips aficionado, and J.D. Shuckers measures up. I actually wanted everything that everyone else at the table ordered. Seafood or not, everything looked good. Big Fish Grill (in Rehoboth) is one of my favorite local places to eat, reasonably priced but still high quality. I’m calling J.D. Shuckers “Big Fish West.” Will definitely go back.

  5. Paul Cullen Paul Cullen says:

    So glad to see Jaime D is getting good reviews. After a bit of transition when he took the place over completely, He has taken the food up to a delicious and fresh new level by using local purveyors like Big Fish Market. We have really enjoyed our recent visits. Great Craft Beer selection and the best steamed shrimp!!

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