Occasionally I have a hankering for a juicy steak. When that happens, I hold out for Thursday nights at Café Azafran so I can indulge without paying exorbitant steak dinner prices. Azafran’s Thursday night $29 entre, side dish, salad, wine deal seems like a bargain, and it tastes great! Also, I enjoy listening to the “singing bartender” Holly Lane and her buddy John Flynn. The duo performs weekly (And this Thursday prior the “weekend snow-storm” I was just one in a hearty crowd of listeners). Holly and John are popular performers around town.
Cafe Azafran is not the only game in town for “meal deals,” but I’d say it’s a strong contender and has the bonus of Holly/John entertainment. The Rehoboth Foodie is a great resource for finding a plethora of lunch, dinner and happy hour specials. The “cheap eats and /specials” page lists just about every restaurant in the Dewey/Rehoboth/Lewes corridor and Milton and offers a profile on who is offering what. Not every listing shows a special though, sometimes you have to dig to find those. Here are a few to whet your appetite:
- Burgers seemingly are a popular “cheap eats” item. Summerhouse Saloon on Rehoboth Avenue serves up $8.00 hamburgers all day on Mondays and a $36 prime rib selection on Sundays and Thursdays.
- Monday night is BURGER NIGHT at Fish On in Lewes and, on Tuesdays, you get 25% off your entire check no matter what you order. Fish On obviously specializes in seafood.
- Dogfish Head Rehoboth serves up wood-fired pizzas and burgers for $10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Irish Eyes, Lewes,is a popular happy hour spot partly because of its $2.50 beers and enticing items like tuna wontons and steamed clams ($8) on the happy hour menu. Irish Eyes is one of the few water-view venues in the area as it sits right on the Lewes-Dewey canal.
The Foodie website makes it easy to get a quick overview of the restaurant scene. There is a lot of useful content on the site – like restaurant reviews, write-ups on the establishments, tips on which places allow dogs, restaurants that deliver orders or feature music and the Foodie’s Pick Hits (i.e. local favorites). By the way, the Rehoboth Foodie is actually a real-life person who has passion in his heart for food and telling people about the dining cuisine in the coastal towns of Sussex County. Some of his restaurant write-ups are a bit dated although one at least gets a flavor for what to expect.
But, back to Café Azafran for a moment and its unique Thursday steak night/ cabaret combo. It actually does feel a bit like a cabaret probably because Holly spent time in Paris as a cabaret dancer and jazz singer at various establishments in the City of Lights after stints in the Bahamas, Martinique, Switzerland and Greece. It probably wasn’t a hard transition since her mother is from Marseilles, and she learned to speak French before she learned to speak English. Now, she also sings locally with the Shore Jazz Trio and in a jazz duo arrangement with Bob Diener.
Holly has been bartending at Azafran for about 12 years. “After all my years of travel, I am very happy living in Rehoboth now,” she says. She has mastered the art of mixing exotic beverages or just filling your glass of chardonnay singing her heart out from behind the bar. It’s soulful! Plenty of customers come to hear her and John, and I’d dare to guess it’s just as much if not more than they come for the dining specials (which are themselves noteworthy!).
Azafran is one of the few restaurants that offer a special just about every night – or at least Monday through Friday – all year long. But if you go looking for Holly and John, then enjoy the Thursday Steak Night special as they’re only there Thursdays.
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Ophrah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.