About 15 miles south of Rehoboth Beach is the (relatively) quiet, yet popular Bethany Beach. Like all resorts, it has its icons and traditions, and one of them is certainly McCabes Gourmet Market. Located in the York Beach Mall strip center on the west side of Ocean Highway at the southernmost end of Bethany Beach (actually, in the town of South Bethany), McCabes is a required lunch stop for just about everybody who lives down there. And it’s worth the drive from here, too.
Don’t be fooled by the word “market.” Yes, they sell all kinds of unusual goodies like condiments, spices, cheeses, relishes, sauces, cookbooks, mixes, high-end electrics and cooking tchotchkes. But the main reason people go there is the made-to-order sandwiches, pastries and cookies. It’s not unusual to find a line poking out of the door on a warm summer day. It’s first come, first served. Order your sandwich from the polite and helpful staff right at the counter, and after they make it (right before your very eyes), you’re on your own. You can take it home, or nibble in the small inside eating nook or al fresco on the adjacent covered porch.
The star of the show is the Chicken Salad (firm, not too wet, all white meat, with grape slices, walnuts, and all kinds of stuff). I get it on a delicately crispy, buttery croissant with lettuce, tomato, creamy havarti and avocado. Needless to say, it’s a meal in itself. My preferred dining companion loves the fresh turkey and the medium rare roast beef (no cold cuts here, thank you) with the havarti and all the other fixins’. McCabes offers a selection of breads, toppings, pates, freshly baked meats and unusual cheeses for their large selection of sandwiches. I’ve been witness to the smiles brought about by their shrimp and tuna salads (both as good as the chicken). All the meats and salads can be ordered as platters and in bulk to go.
Don’t miss the brownies, blondies, bagels, cinnamon rolls, muffins, filled croissants, French breads, rolls and cookies. As much as I like the breads and pastries, the cookies are the stars for me. I’m pretty sure they are made right there, and they’re always impossibly fresh (simply because they sell out so quickly). I usually get a dozen assorted. Sometimes they make it back to Rehoboth Beach … and sometimes they don’t.
Regulars at this site know that there are very good places for chicken salad right here in Rehoboth, and I would never try to lure you from our popular purveyors of poached poultry and potables. But if you find yourself peckish and south of here, McCabes is a must-do. They are only open for breakfast and lunch. Their hours are limited in the off season, so give them a call at (302) 539-8550. Click here for a list of McCabe’s sandwiches. (B, L) Price range: Moderate -.