208 Social

/ Updated on September 9, 2016

Last year, Michelin-starred chef Nate Leonard and his wife opened 208 Social where the old Stoney Lonen used to be. That Second and Wilmington corner has an interesting past. On May 24th, 2000, John Rishko and Nelia Dolen replaced Steve Taylor’s Ann Marie’s restaurant (which moved to Coastal Highway and eventually morphed into Saketumi) with an Irish eatery named after Dolan’s family farm in Ireland. In fact, Nelia waited tables at Ann Marie’s long before she helped create Stoney Lonen. She is now the marketing director for SoDel Concepts restaurant group.

Fellow restaurateurs circled the wagons to help John and Nelia get started. Their wine list was assembled by oenophile Tommy Wayson (former bartender at Chez la Mer, now at Back Porch Café). Norman Sugrue at Big Fish Grill donated items from chef and current Cape Gazette wine columnist John McDonald’s Garden Gourmet (where the Schell Bros. offices are now). Some cooking equipment came from Third Edition (where Stingray is now) and Stoney Lonen’s barstools were provided by Arena’s. That sort of camaraderie was not unusual here in Rehoboth Beach, and some restaurants keep that tradition alive today.

In 2007, Bryan and Rita Lookup took over the facility, keeping the Irish theme and the bright yellow and green exterior that became a beacon to beachgoers who love a cozy bar and Irish fare. Fast-forward to earlier this year when Nate and Lisa Leonard applied a fresh coat of paint inside and out to make it their own. 208 Social opened for business the week before last.

Leonard brings an impressive resume to Rehoboth Beach. He worked as sous chef at Philadelphia’s Striped Bass; with Christopher Lee at Gilt in NYC, and at Petite Passion in Philadelphia under Chef Guillermo Pernot (author of the book ¡Ceviche!). Nate attributes his restauranting skills to his friend and mentor, Chef Lee Chizmar, James Beard semifinalist and co-owner of the celebrated Bolete restaurant in Salisbury Township, Pa. Nate celebrates his military background (Army Airborne, Ft. Bragg) by offering a discount to any customer presenting a military ID showing current military service.

Nate’s creativity shines through the menu, with tavern fare like the ridiculously good Oyster Fry Bread (I ask for it without the truffle oil…) and a pair of fried Eastern Shore Dogs dressed up more or less like the iconic Chicago version. The entrée menu is fairly short, but covers all the bases. Do not miss the Poor Man’s Wellington (delightfully moist monkfish enrobed in crispy puff pastry with a red wine butter sauce that I would like to take home in a Thermos).

Another don’t-miss at 208 Social is the tender, cut-it-with-a-fork Roasted Virginia Chicken Breast, prepared in a special way to retain every last bit of its essence. Olive oil crushed fingerlings, glazed carrots, asparagus (with grill marks, yet!) and a savory jus top it off. Of course I could not resist the 208 Double Patty: A towering burger with two short rib & chuck patties crowned with smoked bacon, arugula, pickled shallots, your choice of three cheeses and Leonard’s secret sauce. Don’t hesitate to add the fried sunny-side-up egg – in for a dime, in for a dollar, I say. And don’t expect to eat again for a couple of days.

Nate and Lisa have kept the basic look of the interior, with refinished floors and brighter dining rooms. The bar is relatively unchanged (why mess with success?) with centrally located tap handles, a long list of brews and specialty cocktails.

I don’t want to divulge all the secrets lurking inside the new 208 Social, but I will say one thing (well, OK, two): Crispy Cheesecake Spring Rolls and Apple Pie for Two with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Govern yourself accordingly. Reservations may be made at 302-227-6700.

Look for menu items like Eastern Shore dogs with avocado mousse, shortrib burgers and mushroom frybread. Take a look at the menu here.

We’ve been a few times and want to show you some of the dishes. Scroll through the photos. I will remind you once again that Nate changes his menu almost as often as the tides change. That is not unusual for many of the restaurants here in Rehoboth. So some of the items in the gallery may or may not be available. But I can tell you that you will find something to like there.


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)

208 Second St., Rehoboth

302-227-6700

OPEN TABLE logo copycrenh for specials
Sunday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Monday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Tuesday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Wednesday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Thursday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Friday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
Saturday
Dinner 4-9
Tavern menu at bar til 10
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. Robert Houck says:

    My spouse and I dined at 208 Social for the first time on Friday night before going to see “Meet Me in St. Louis” at Rehoboth’s Clear Space Theatre. We have lived in Lewes for about a year and have been trying the many great (and not so great) restaurants in the area. How happy we are to have found 208, thanks to friends’ recommendation and the restaurant’s participation in the Cape Gazette’s Dining Card! We took advantage of the 3-course dinner special. It began with simple salads, topped with a wonderful homemade dressing. The 2 perfectly sized broiled crab cakes were perhaps the best I have ever eaten and my spouse’s steak was a tender piece of meat cooked perfectly to his request. 208’s version of an “Ice Cream Sandwich” was just enough of a sweet to top off a wonderful meal. Our server, Sean, was absolutely flawless in his attention to our needs and his friendly, smiling attitude. In fact, all of the staff members were so welcoming and helpful. This will definitely be one of our regular places to dine. The excellent show at Clear Space topped off a superb evening out in the festive holiday season. Bob Houck

  2. Teresa says:

    208 Social is my new favorite in Rehoboth. I’ve stopped in several times and end up eating at the bar because it’s so cozy there, and they have such a friendly staff you feel like a regular after just one visit. Cocktails are the best on the eastern shore right now — inventive and old school at the same time, and it keeps changing, in a good way. Nate, the chef, was trying out a new drink last time we visited, which involved shaving piñon wood, lighting it on fire, then upending a glass over the small bonfire to create a unique smokey yet subtle taste… I won’t divulge the rest of it, that drink was to die for. Menu is small, which I prefer, and at this point I think I’ve had every dish on the menu. It’s fabulous. The Lobster Wellington is amazing, even better than it sounds. Do order the short rib burger too, you’ll be craving it over and over again. Nate also had a duck dish on the winter menu that I still think about. I hope he puts it back! I’ve been coming to eat in Rehoboth for more years than I care to share, and 208 is really something special.

  3. Stan says:

    After reading a lot of good comments we decided to try 208 Social for dinner. I called for a reservation for 7:30 but the hostess asked if we could come in at 7:45 because they had a huge party of 11 (eleven) people coming at 7:30 and they would be swamped. This should have been my 1st clue. When we arrived on time we waited in the lobby for about 5 minutes – numerous waitstaff told us we would be helped soon. Even the bartender called over to ask if we have been helped and he seemed to try to send someone our way. Finally, we were sat down. After a few minutes a waitress came to deliver menus and take a drink order – she highlighted their special cocktail of the evening so my wife ordered it. After about 10 minutes she came back with no drinks to say they had run out of the special of the night cocktail so could my wife order something else; which she did. Then, in a couple of minutes a different waitress came and introduced herself as our waitress and asked it we wanted a drink; when we said we already ordered one she simply walked away. Our drinks arrived and we ordered dinner. After a few minutes (not too long) our appetizers came – very generous portions and tasty. Then, nothing. We noticed the party of 2 behind us, who had sat after us, already were served drinks, appetizers, and dinner and were getting their bill. For us, still no dinner. Finally we asked our waitress to check on our dinners and she left; after about 5 minutes the hostess/owner’s wife showed up – she said that as it turned out the aforementioned couple behind us had ordered the exact dinners that we did so the (different) waitress served them our dinner. I mentioned that this wouldn’t happen if we had one waitress serving us. The owner’s wife then went on to try to explain to us that they use a serving process and that they know better how to run a restaurant then I do. (Still no dinners in sight). She said she would check on our meals. When she returned she said they could rush and have our dinners out to us within 7 minutes. By this time we had eaten appetizers and bread over 40 minutes earlier so I said just cancel the order (since it clearly was not even started yet anyway) and present us the bill for what we consumed. She left and came back with her husband’s card (he was working behind the bar) and suggested I call him some other time so he could talk to me. (There were only about 2-3 patrons at the bar so I don’t know why he didn’t simply walk over.) I declined the card and again asked for my bill…we had now been seated over an hour with still no dinner. To be fair the owner’s wife said our drinks appetizers were complimentary and asked us to come back again. Based on such bad management of staff and “serving process” we will not return. Rehoboth Beach is a bustling beach town in the summer and clearly this place is not ready to handle any crowds. The food we did get was fine, but hardly better than from many of the other fine restaurants in town. I would run, not walk away from this place.

  4. Bob says:

    We tried 208 over the weekend and loved it. Swordfish was outstanding. Pear gimlet was made to specification and was great as well. My partner had the Fried Chicken catfish which had all the spice he was looking for and the piece of bread on the bottom which sparked an entire conversation around how mom use to make it in the hood. Very enjoyable time. Great stretch of town for restaurants!! Looking forward to the spring reopening on this one.

  5. Kathy Edelen says:

    I was so sorry to see that Stoney Lonen closed. I looked forward to returning to it all winter. There are so many great “foodie” restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, but sometimes the comfort of a good quality Irish Pub cannot be beat. V

  6. Pat Markel says:

    Oh no !! Sorry to hear that Stoney Lonen has closed. It was our go to place for crabcakes night. And loved chatting with Chester.

  7. Leo says:

    Happened to stop and speak with Nat, the new owner. Seems like a nice guy with good experience in the restaurant business and willing to satisfy the dining customer. I am looking forward to a new experience and hope to be there for the opening.

  8. Leo says:

    We will miss the Lonen. Rita and Bryan were two of the best hosts that I have ever met in my 50 years of restaurant dining. And the bar had some great bartenders in Chester Davis and Kim Ferguson. A terrific staff and ownership that I hope the new owners can at least duplicate.

  9. Bob Pfister says:

    We too loved Stoney Lonen…it became one of our main go to places while on vacation…especially the daily specials! Minimal changes required!

  10. Walter Yatko says:

    Love Stony’s, hope they keep the same motif and name and food.. Keep us posted..

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