Categories
Beaches Business Food & Dining Headlines

Jake’s Seafood House will close Sunday; sold to someone else

Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth beach will close Sept. 20, because it’s been sold to someone else.

Bill and Lois Klemkowski, owners of Jake’s, announced the closing Monday. Their son, Will Klemkowski, said his parents accepted an offer for the restaurant, but he couldn’t release details about who purchased the location.

“COVID-19 was definitely a contributing factor in this decision,” Will said. “It played a part in the decision to accept the offer as it demonstrated the instability in our industry. It showed just how quickly we can get cut off at the knees. If there had never been a COVID-19 pandemic, we may have passed on the offer.”

A letter sent to customers said Lois and Bill would be “turning the page with Jake’s Seafood House and starting a new chapter in their lives.” Will thinks his mother is ready to retire.

“I think she is looking forward to the other side of working so hard,” Will said. “My dad is not a sit-around guy. I would not be surprised to hear of another project around the corner. As for me, I am focusing on the end chapter here at Jake’s with 100 percent attention. I feel like I owe it to our staff and our customers. After Sunday, I will look toward my next chapter.”

Jake and Mary Schneider founded the original Jakes’ Seafood House in Baltimore on the Patapsco River in 1929. It was one of Baltimore’s first seafood houses, offering what were known as “swimmers” or fish sandwiches. The original Jake’s, just over the Hanover Street Bridge, remained in the Schneider family for almost 50 years.

In 1988, Rosemary, Jake and Mary’s daughter, her son, Bill and his wife, Lois, opened Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth Beach, offering a jumbo lump crab cake from a recipe that has been in the family for over 80 years.

Just like the Baltimore location, all food at Jake’s was prepared daily and cooked to order. In 2003, a second Jake’s Seafood House opened on Coastal Highway. The downtown location closed three years ago due to a lease issue.

Jake’s has been a family operated business since the beginning.

Will, the oldest son of Bill and Lois, began working at Jake’s at 13, starting as a bus boy before becoming a server, bartender, manager and general manager. Their youngest son, Daniel served as general manager for four years. Their daughter, Christina, worked at the downtown location.

“I want to thank all the wonderful people who frequented Jakes’ Seafood House over the past 17+ years, as well as to all of you who have been a part of Jake’s,” Bill wrote in a letter sent to customers. “We were so blessed by such wonderful people, many of whom became dear friends.”

The family had a great run at Jake’s, the letter said.

“Thank you to all the hard-working, honest, fantastic people that worked with us,” the letter said. “We all had lots of fun at Jake’s … We all took so much pride in what we did, no matter what the task. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all the chefs, line cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, hosts, hostesses, servers, bussers, bartenders and managers.

“But it is time.”

Categories
Beaches Business Food & Dining Government & Politics Headlines Health

New emergency order requires masks in homes, private gatherings

When Gov. John Carney rounded up all the modifications of his State of Emergency Order and put them into one new document, it added a sentence:

“A private residence where there is an indoor gathering of more than 10 people who do not reside at that property shall be considered an indoor space open to the public for purposes of this Order.”

That is new, confirmed Carney spokesman Jon Starkey, “though we have had some restrictions on private gatherings for a while.”

The new rule comes as Labor Day weekend is heading into full swing, with the last parties and cookouts of summer.

The new verbiage showed up Thursday, when Carney issued a press release saying that he had signed the 27th modification to his State of Emergency, combining all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order, creating an Omnibus Executive Order.

The modification also formalized reopening bar service in Delaware beach communities and required that businesses more strictly enforce face covering requirements among their employees. 

The new addition — in the section about face coverings — essentially requires homeowners and guests to follow the same protocols that restaurants and other public places do: wearing masks unless eating, but making sure the face coverings are on if you are moving around.

“That’s about letting people know they should be wearing masks and socially distancing whenever they’re around people outside their household,” Starkey said in a text.

The addition also gives the state some enforcement powers about house parties, Starkey said.

Efforts were unsuccessful Friday to get comment from the state Division of Public Health about how that would work. Their office of Health Systems Protection often enforces the COVID-19 business and gathering rules.

“In this case, the specific goal is targeting the type of gatherings we know lead to outbreaks,” Starkey said. “We’ve seen evidence across the country that big private gatherings, parties are a real concern.

“We saw it at the beach and we’re seeing that at colleges across the country.”

The issue of gatherings has been a big one in Newark, where the City Council voted last week to limit private gatherings to 12 adults in a home and 20 outside the home, including the homeowner.

Carney praised the move, saying it would keep the state from having out breaks and maybe even save lives.

The council passed the rule the Monday before University of Delaware students began moving into dorms over the next weekend. One councilman said he considered the law a tool in the city arsenal to deal with big gatherings.

But that tool got used the first weekend to break up a party of 75.

 

 

Categories
Beaches Business Food & Dining Government & Politics Headlines Health

New emergency order requires masks in homes, private gatherings

When Gov. John Carney rounded up all the modifications of his State of Emergency Order and put them into one new document, it added a sentence:

“A private residence where there is an indoor gathering of more than 10 people who do not reside at that property shall be considered an indoor space open to the public for purposes of this Order.”

That is new, confirmed Carney spokesman Jon Starkey, “though we have had some restrictions on private gatherings for a while.”

The new rule comes as Labor Day weekend is heading into full swing, with the last parties and cookouts of summer.

The new verbiage showed up Thursday, when Carney issued a press release saying that he had signed the 27th modification to his State of Emergency, combining all active COVID-19 restrictions into a single order, creating an Omnibus Executive Order.

The modification also formalized reopening bar service in Delaware beach communities and required that businesses more strictly enforce face covering requirements among their employees. 

The new addition — in the section about face coverings — essentially requires homeowners and guests to follow the same protocols that restaurants and other public places do: wearing masks unless eating, but making sure the face coverings are on if you are moving around.

“That’s about letting people know they should be wearing masks and socially distancing whenever they’re around people outside their household,” Starkey said in a text.

The addition also gives the state some enforcement powers about house parties, Starkey said.

Efforts were unsuccessful Friday to get comment from the state Division of Public Health about how that would work. Their office of Health Systems Protection often enforces the COVID-19 business and gathering rules.

“In this case, the specific goal is targeting the type of gatherings we know lead to outbreaks,” Starkey said. “We’ve seen evidence across the country that big private gatherings, parties are a real concern.

“We saw it at the beach and we’re seeing that at colleges across the country.”

The issue of gatherings has been a big one in Newark, where the City Council voted last week to limit private gatherings to 12 adults in a home and 20 outside the home, including the homeowner.

Carney praised the move, saying it would keep the state from having out breaks and maybe even save lives.

The council passed the rule the Monday before University of Delaware students began moving into dorms over the next weekend. One councilman said he considered the law a tool in the city arsenal to deal with big gatherings.

But that tool got used the first weekend to break up a party of 75.


Categories
Beaches Business Headlines Sports

Slam Dunk’s cancellation another loss for beach businesses, traditions

As a kid and a teenager, current Cape Henlopen High School girls basketball coach Pat Woods said he almost looked more forward to the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament than Christmas and presents.

Crazy you say.

How about getting the opportunity to see the likes of LeBron James, Nate Robinson, Tyson Chandler, TayShaun Prince, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Williams, and JJ Redick grace the Cape High basketball court as high school stars.

Want presents over future NBA stars now?

“We would go and find the schedule and mark down the games that we must see,” Woods said. “We used to play outside at the school during the day games. There were certain games we would play outside, but then come back in to see for example, DeShawn Stevenson (a 13-year NBA veteran who made the leap straight from high school). We would probably be there from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. My whole family would be there all day.”

Unfortunately, area prep basketball junkies will not get the opportunity to see the next future NBA stars in action Dec. 27-29 at the Cape Henlopen gym. On Monday, tournament chairman Matthew Robinson made the decision to cancel this year’s event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, this was a difficult decision,” Robinson said. “At the center of our decision was the safety and well-being of our participants and spectators. We have been following the trends overall and specifically within the elite high school basketball environment and we came to the conclusion that the prudent decision was to hold off until 2021.

“I’d like to think that we were in a good position going into this year from a financial perspective,” Williams said. “We have teams calling us who want to be in the event, so we’re never at a short for that. So, we feel confident that we will be back in 2021.”

Lewes Mayor Ted Becker, although disappointed that the tournament will not be held this year, understands the cancellation.

“It is popular and attracts a lot of people to come here, but I think the decision to not hold it was made based on solid evidence and trying to reduce the exposure to COVID,” he said. “It’s like so many things that we normally enjoy here in Lewes and every other municipality, we’ve all had to adapt.”

There’s n way to know what conditions will be in December, he said.

“Our restaurants are still only at 60 percent, our bars are not open … Our hotels are at 60 percent,” Becker said.

If Gov. John Carney is able to rescind some restrictions, Becker said, “We might have been able to accommodate … but given what we know today, the decision that was made was a solid one. We’ll look forward to having them back next year.”

Betsy Reamer, the Lewes Chamber of Commerce executive director, who has been involved in promoting the event and going to press conferences put on by Robinson, was also disappointed.

“I’ve been watching what sporting events were being allowed and weren’t; so, it is very disappointing that they’re not going to have it,” she said. “But I understand the situation with the COVID is why it’s not happening.”

One of the cancellation’s impacts will be on Lewes’ businesses. The tournament comes when there are no summer visitors, but still means hotel rooms are book and Lewes’ restaurants and shops are busy.

“It’s hard to estimate, but it will definitely cut into their bottom line because the week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually not high visitation volume Reamer said. “People are with their family but this was a destination driver.”

Categories
Beaches Culture Headlines Health Schools

Lewes’ Hope for Success turns life angst into music

Drew Fitzkee remembers eating lunch by himself for a week his freshman year in high school.

His regular group of friends had turned on him as they grew older and interests changed. He felt alone and  bullied and full of other feelings.

Instead of stewing on those feelings, he wrote them down. Those notes grew into lyrics for songs with titles such as “Have a Good Life” and “Twig Man.”

“It just seemed so necessary,” said Fitzkee, 15, of Lewes. “Make myself feel a bit of relief.”

 Those songs are part of the regular set list for his band. The band, named Hope for Success was founded by Drew and his brother Alex Fitzkee, 13, who sings and plays drums.

They met their guitar player, Jasper Isaacs, 13, when they arrived for a gig at a farmer’s market and the guitarist they thought was going to play didn’t show.

Alex asked their vocalist, Elaina Marsch, 13, if she’d like to be in a band after they all attended “Mr. Hetfield’s Rock and Roll Summer Camp” in Rehoboth. They’ve played together for about two years now.

Hope for Success
The Lewes band Hope For Success: from left, Alex Fitzkee, Drew Fitzkee, Jasper Isaacs and Elaina Marsch

While Hope for Success mostly play covers of rock and alternative music, they are adding more of their own work to every gig.

 “Have a Good Life,” Drew describes as a snarky song telling his tormentors, one in particular he calls the Twig Man, to “have a good life, or don’t.” He doesn’t know if the bullies have heard it. He hopes so, but between the songs, the concerts and his new friends he says he doesn’t have time to think about them.

Hope for Success is a busy group. They practice at least three times a week and are working on songs all the time. Alex said he walks around the house singing into his phone to get all his ideas down.

“Normally, I come over for writing and Drew and Alex have it mapped out and then I play it my way,” said Isaacs, who lives in Milford, but spends a lot of his days in the Fitzkee’s Lewes home.

“The most important thing when working with a band is flexibility,” said Alex. The band members agreed that their songs are better and stronger when everyone has a voice in the creation of them. They collaborate on the lyrics and music that covers memories and issues they experience.

The song, “Paper Planes,” was written about life during the pandemic and how difficult it was for Marsch. She describes herself as a very social person and being cut off from school and friends was very difficult for her as shown in the verse, “Where I was, I couldn’t live my life, living that way, filled with sorrow and strife.”

The song chorus is about her dream to fly away.

The final product came through collaboration, with Alex turning Marsch’s poem into verses and chorus and Drew and Isaacs working on the music.

Hope for Success
Hope for Success bass player Drew Fitzkee

“There are plenty of songs written to feel better,” said Alex, His song, “We’re Too Young,” is about a music contest the band won. The prize was to play a concert at a casino, but the band members were too young to be allowed in.

The song starts, “Won a show in a casino. Didn’t even let us go.” Still, it’s a fun song about youth.

Audience members danced and clapped along at a recent concert the band played as part of their summer concert series. They are playing outside in local neighborhoods. The concerts are free as part of the band’s effort to allow people to social distance and still get out of their houses for some fun.

“I have seen them multiple times and I am always entertained,” said Alison White of Lewes. “These kids are proof that the next generation is not only interested in video games.”

Walter Hetfield, who runs the rock camp that helped form the band, said he’s pretty impressed with the band members and their dedication. It’s unusual for kids this age to stick together as a band, he said, let alone take on the grind of playing an actual concert series.

The musicians are serious about their work. While they haven’t written any songs about the upcoming school year, they are looking at ways to make it work for them.

Hope for Success
Hope for Success drummer Alex Fitzkee

The Fitzkee boys are planning to start the year online and then they are looking into options to home school so they have more time to write and practice their music. Isaacs is already home schooled. Marsch is also looking into options.

In the meantime, they continue their concert series and are picking up outdoor shows at local restaurants. They enjoy all the music they play, but say playing their own songs is always better.

They know the emotions and stories that go into every one. In fact, so much emotion that they aren’t ready to release some of the songs they’ve written. They are just still too personal.

Hope for Success hopes others get something from their messages as well.

“Everybody’s going through stuff,” said Drew. “Everybody has a twig man. This lets them know it’s OK.”

For more about the band and their concert schedule, go to www.HopeForSuccess.com

Categories
Beaches Headlines Health

DNREC lifts swimming warning for Rehoboth Beach

DNREC on Friday afternoon lifted an advisory for Rehoboth Beach at Rehoboth Avenue that had warned people to avoid swimming in that area.

On Friday, DNREC said after water samples taken Thursday showed bacteria levels had returned below the advisory level. 

This was the second advisory of the year for Rehoboth Beach at the Rehoboth Avenue location.

The state routinely tests the water each Wednesday. Ocean beach swimming advisories based on bacteria levels usually end after a day or so.

Water experts say the elevated level of bacteria in both incidents are most likely associated with heavy rainfall. These bacteria originate in the gut of warm-blooded animals, such as wildlife or domestic pets, and then wash into near-shore waters.

The current advisory status and history of test results for monitored recreational waters in Delaware, including ocean and bay beaches as well as some inland ponds, is at https://recwaters.dnrec.delaware.gov/. Anyone can sign up at the site to be notified of recreational water advisories when they are issued. 

Categories
Beaches Headlines Health

State issues recreational swimming warning for Rehoboth Beach

DNREC has warned swimmers that it’s found elevated levels of bacteria in a sample of water taken Wednesday from Rehoboth Avenue.

Elevated levels of bacteria there are often associated with heavy rainfall, like that which occurred in the area Wednesday morning. 

The advisory recommends people avoid swimming in that area, especially anyone with health issues.

These bacteria originate in the gut of warm-blooded animals, such as wildlife and domestic pets, and then wash into near-shore waters during periods of heavy rainfall.

DNREC’s Recreational Water Program staff has collected another water sample, with results t available Friday afternoon., at which time a decision will be made to lift the advisory.

Ocean beach advisories usually can be ended after a day or so, as was the case with the previous Rehoboth advisory issued July 30 and lifted the next day.

Additional information on recreational swimming advisories and DNREC’s water testing program, and instructions on how to join the advisory notification list, can be found at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/watershed-stewardship/assessment/recreational-water-monitoring/ 

The current advisory status for DNREC-monitored beaches and water bodies is at https://recwaters.dnrec.delaware.gov/.

Categories
Beaches Business Culture Food & Dining Headlines

Nicola Pizza stuns Rehoboth by saying it’s moving to Lewes

Within 24 hours of Nicola Pizza announcing it will move from Rehoboth Beach north to a new location in Lewes next year, more than 1,200 customers had weighed in on Facebook.

Many expressed grief over losing the Rehoboth location. Most people, though, were overjoyed. 

“This is awesome,” said Crystal Timmons-Bryant. “I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with traffic or parking.”

Others said they would follow Nicola anywhere. 

“I know where my customers come from,” said Nicholas Caggiano Jr., vice-president of Nicola Pizza.

It’s just time for a change, he said.

After 50 years in Rehoboth the company has put their two locations for sale and plans to move the restaurant to Route 1 in Lewes at the site of the former Wright Mini Storage.

“It was just a no brainer,” said Caggiano. He already owned the property around the mini storage.

The company announced the move on Sunday on the Nicola Facebook page. Nicola, known for its Nic-o-Bolis, will continue operating at its Rehoboth locations while the Lewes location is built. A fall 2021 date is expected for the opening. 

“I have nothing against Rehoboth,” said Caggiano.

Originally, he thought the company would keep one of the Rehoboth locations open after building in Lewes, but his father, Nicholas Sr., and manager Kelly Munyan didn’t think that was the best idea.

“Everybody had to be on board,” he said. 

Parking and space considerations were two factors in the decision to move. One of Caggiano’s employees told him that he spent $1,000 on parking while working for the last five years for Nicola. 

The move will help the company expand its brand, and keep everything under one roof, he said.

Every spring he has local customers tell him they will see him in the fall because they don’t want to fight traffic and have to search for a parking during the summer. Five times this summer he’s met people well before the 11 a.m. opening so they could pick up boxes of Nic-o-Bolis before parking meters started.

Caggiana said he’s already had people call him to talk about holding weekly meetings at the restaurant in Lewes once it opens. 

Nicola Pizza was founded by Nicholas and Joan Caggiano in 1971.
Nicola Pizza was founded by Nicholas and Joan Caggiano in 1971. Photo from Nicola Pizza’s Facebook page.

While the announcement is new to the area, the plans have been under way for a while.

The current structures on the nearly two-acre property will be removed to make way for construction. The new building is expected to have 40 seats at the bar, 300 seats inside and another 100 to 125 seats outside for the first phase. The second phase would include a 125-seat banquet space. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. 

Nicola Pizza was founded by Nicholas and Joan Caggiano in 1971. Caggiano Sr. was a school teacher, the son of immigrants, and Joan was a banker.

Soon after opening, Caggiano Sr. invented the Nic-o-Boli, a cross between a stromboli and a calzone. That item and the restaurant has been a staple in the community ever since. 

While Caggiano admits it’s risky to give up on a location that has worked since 1971, he believes the new location will be fine.

There will be two hotels within walking distance there. Caggiano is building one that is set to open in the next year. It will have 110 rooms. 

As for the Rehoboth properties, they are listed for $4 million for both. Caggiano’s already had prospective buyers contact him.