The Rehoboth Foodie serves up the dish on local restaurants for Coastal Style Magazine
In the beginning there was the Pig & Fish Restaurant Company in downtown Rehoboth Beach. And, under the control of partners Doug & Lisa Frampton and Mike & Denise Stiglitz, it was good. So good, in fact, that they opened a second location called the Pickled Pig Pub. It was also good. Both restaurants offered well-prepared, upscale bistro grub — and lots of craft beers in a casual setting; Pig & Fish a bit more entrée-oriented, while Pickled Pig Pub excelled with overstuffed sandwiches, appetizers and happy-hour noshes at the bar. After a while, Chef Stigz and Ben Muse (his beer guru, aka Ben 1.0) decided to leave the beach behind and take their act northward to create what is now multiple locations of Two Stones Pub and their 2SP Brewery (home of the delicious Delco Lager).
Undeterred, the Framptons kept both restaurants running smoothly with the help of Corporate Chef Ian Mangin and yet another beer-lovin’ Ben (2.0 to be exact). Ben Cowell keeps the craft programs rotating at both locations.
You’d think that would be enough to keep these talented people busy, but it was not. A couple of months ago they opened the Pig & Publican, just east of the drawbridge in the Beacon Motel on Savannah Road in Lewes. (Remember the Beach Deli that used to be in there?) The Pig & Publican is similar in concept to the other two popular pigs but with a number of special international twists and turns.
Open at 11 for lunch and dinner year-round, the Pig & Publican has approximately 80 seats, as well as an outdoor patio that seats 20. Doug, Lisa, Ben, Ian and the crew offer casual yet surprisingly upscale offerings with a focus on Belgian recipes and craft beers. From the appetizers to the soups, sandwiches, salads and entrees, there’s always a polite nod to Belgian influences.
Opening night was a blast, with the able assistance of gatekeeper Lisa Frampton, GM Zach Rempfer, our enthusiastic server Kyle, bartender Eddie Pardocchi and the rest of the Pickled/Pig/Fish/Publican crew. So let’s take a look at the menu: One of the don’t-miss dishes on is the Bitterballen appetizer. These couldn’t be more different from Italian meatballs. Laced with crispy kale and a creamy demi, each one has a surprise cheese curd buried inside. They are generously portioned and can be easily shared.
The chicken and waffles entree with the fried egg gives an entirely new dimension to comfort food. It’s not breakfasty at all — it’s quite savory, in fact, with a dark gravy over crispy fried chicken (schnitzel, if you must) resting on a warm, slightly sweet waffle. Another tasty entree is the Machine Gun sandwich. A spiced Muerguez sausage is lovingly encased in a soft roll and topped with cheddar, sautéed onions and frites. A polite slather of mayo with harissa (a spicy blend of peppers) is the crowning touch. You will not be hungry for a while after you tackle this one.
Brussel sprout aficionados will love the little crispy orbs sprinkled with melted parmesan and basking in caramelized onion horseradish aioli. Of course, we had to pay homage to the Pickled Pig Pub by ordering the Poutine. Simple, to the point and filling: Sausage gravy overtop of warm fries and melty cheese curds. Viva Canada! Leave your diet at home for this one.
The dinner menu offers five varieties of mussels, paired with little gastronomic exclamation marks like ginger, bacon/gorgonzola, that Muerguez sausage, parmesan or bratwurst. The fries (call them “Beach Frites”) also come in eight varieties, in half or full orders. Nice touch.
Pig & Publican offers a huge selection of crafts in bottles and cans, including offerings from Allagash, Goose Island, Rodenbach, Ommegangs, Oskar Blues and even a couple of Trappist varieties. They have eight tap handles, and Ben 2.0 keeps the selections rotating seasonally. Get ready for the Captain’s Reserve Bottles. These include some brews you will not find elsewhere.
PIG & PUBLICAN
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