Dollars & Sense

Mexican food done quick and easy at Taco Taco

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: A small sampling of the offerings at Taco Taco on Rt. 26 in Millville, across from Atlantic Auto.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: A small sampling of the offerings at Taco Taco on Rt. 26 in Millville, across from Atlantic Auto.Quick service, flavor and a filling meal are key for Millville’s newest taco shack, called Taco Taco.

Owner Kevin Martin loved the simplicity of a small, quick and easy restaurant, mirroring the create-your-own meal style of fast-casual restaurants like Subway, Chipotle and Moe’s.

“I knew the area always needed quick, quality food for a reasonable price … for the working man.” Martin said.

People choose either two tacos, a burrito, a salad or burrito bowl. Meals are priced by the meat, which includes chicken, chorizo, fish, breaded shrimp and ground beef. Overnight slow cooking is the key to shredded beef and shredded pork.

“It just falls apart in the morning,” said Martin, also brainstorming a vegetarian option.

Today & Tomorrow Conference to highlight ‘Innovation’

Coastal Point • Submitted: Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will come together to raise public awareness on current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at DelTech.Coastal Point • Submitted: Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will come together to raise public awareness on current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at DelTech.Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will join together to raise public awareness regarding current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference. The event will be hosted on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown.

Following welcoming remarks by Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard, and Vice President and Campus Director Ileana Smith, the morning will include information that could be important to Sussex County employers.

The conference will include a statistical update by Workforce Analyst Ed Simon of the Delaware Economic Development Office and a keynote address by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.

There will also be an hour reserved for Delaware Tech’s 1 Million Cups initiative, a partnership effort with the Kauffman Foundation to support entrepreneurship nationwide. The two presenters will be Rob Rider of Body & Soul Fitness and Katey Evans of the Frozen Farmer.

The new stereotype of Gen Y business builders

Coastal Point • Submitted: Joshua Bam and Benjamin Gichner of Benchmark Legal.Coastal Point • Submitted: Joshua Bam and Benjamin Gichner of Benchmark Legal.The benefits and challenges of a workplace with a mix of generations is well-known. What can make the blend interesting is that a few common stereotypes continue to exist, as people attribute certain characteristics to certain age groups.

For example, Baby Boomers (ages 50 to mid-60s) are supposed to be old-school; members of Gen X (ages 35 to 50) are supposed to be self-entitled; and members of Gen Y (ages 18 to 35) are supposed to be to be lazy and aloof.

Then there’s Zack, Sean and Ben from Sussex County, who refuse to be part of the stereotype. They’re Gen Y professionals building their businesses from the ground-up, and, no, they’re not just selling lemonade for nickels.

Zack King grew-up in Ocean View. He’s a member of Gen Y, at 27.

King currently owns his own restaurant and distillery on Route 1. He built Delaware Distilling Company from the ground up in 2012. Now he runs a successful restaurant and distills more than a dozen spirits for use in the restaurant and for retail sale and distribution.

“I like to surround myself with people that are dedicated, hardworking and passionate about what they do, regardless of the generation,” said King. “We have key employees from 25 to 65 years old, and it works. I’m not saying we don’t have our share of turnover, like most businesses in the area. It’s just important to recognize talent and keep those people happy.”

Hocker’s upgrades to digital

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Hocker’s new digital sign is the first install of the MX board in the country. It allows ads to be uploaded to it via iPhone or even rotate through an RSS feed.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Hocker’s new digital sign is the first install of the MX board in the country. It allows ads to be uploaded to it via iPhone or even rotate through an RSS feed.
There’s been a change in scenery along Route 26 in Clarksville in recent weeks, with Hocker’s Super Center’s revamped billboard at the corner of Routes 26 and 17.

Hocker said the digital billboard received approval on the county, state and federal levels prior to its installation.

“It has been a four-year process. I went through every proper channel I needed to go through to get 100 percent approved,” said Gerry Hocker. “I first started with the County, and got approval from the County. Then I had to get approval from the State. There were a lot of meetings. It took a lot of time.

“I went through every proper channel… Looking back now, I don’t know how I did it… other than determination, perseverance and respect.”

The billboard, which was upgraded in August, is a state-of-the-art, double-sided digital billboard, with each side measuring 300 square feet, and is available for rental by interested parties or advertisers.

Hocker’s grows catering offerings

Coastal Point photos • Bob Bertram: G&E Hocker’s and Hocker’s Super Center have added another food trailer to their existing two, to offer the more choices for those looking for a BBQ catering service.Coastal Point photos • Bob Bertram: G&E Hocker’s and Hocker’s Super Center have added another food trailer to their existing two, to offer the more choices for those looking for a BBQ catering service.G&E Supermarket and Hocker’s Super Center have been Hocker-family-owned and -operated businesses for more than 50 years. Along with its deli, supercenter, gas station and convenience store, Hocker’s also offers catering services.

Last month, Hocker’s added a new food trailer to its Hocker’s BBQ fleet, continuing to expand their catering business.

“It’s just another avenue of our business where we like to diversify,” said Gerry Hocker. “The downturn of the economy kind of affected everybody. We were affected, as well, with our businesses. We looked into where we could diversify and what we could expand into, and avenues we could take that our competition couldn’t.”

“You have a lot of competition come in. You have to do things that your competition can’t, being that we’re locally owned,” added Greg Hocker. “We can branch out and do those other things that the other brand stores can’t do.”

Greg Hocker said the catering business and barbecue trailer started small but have continued to grow.

“People start asking about certain things that we had never even thought about making,” said Greg Hocker. “We started experimenting and making it, and now we can make pretty much just about anything anybody wants.”

NorthEast Seafood Kitchen celebrating 10 anniversary

Coastal Point • Submitted: NorthEast Seafood Kitchen offers a patio dining area, as well as an interior dining room.Coastal Point • Submitted: NorthEast Seafood Kitchen offers a patio dining area, as well as an interior dining room.When SoDel Concepts opened NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in May 2005, the restaurant was a bit of a gamble. Chef Matt Haley, founder of SoDel Concepts, had a solid history of success in the hospitality industry. However, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen is located in a strip mall in Ocean View, which in 2005 was just starting to experience growth. It was just a few miles from Route 1, but would residents and tourists venture inland?

They did and they do.

“NorthEast Seafood Kitchen might be the greatest SoDel success story,” said Scott Kammerer, the current president and CEO of SoDel Concepts, which owns eight coastal restaurants, Plate Catering, Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen, a food truck, and hospitality management and consulting divisions. “Today, it’s an incredibly busy year-round restaurant, and it has an incredibly loyal clientele, who support the restaurant and the staff.”

On Friday, Oct. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., the restaurant is celebrating its milestone anniversary with happy-hour drink specials, appetizers and the debut of a commemorative video, which will be shown on the half-hour during that time period. The video was created by W. Films and SoDel Films, and was directed by Rob Waters.

Bethany Blues/Mango’s crew expands dining options at Bethany’s new hotel

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Danny Somoza and Donna Serafina combined their efforts to bring 99 Sea Level to reality for a trio of partners, Dick Heidenberger, Steve Montgomery and Jim Weisgerber. The restaurant is located in the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Danny Somoza and Donna Serafina combined their efforts to bring 99 Sea Level to reality for a trio of partners, Dick Heidenberger, Steve Montgomery and Jim Weisgerber. The restaurant is located in the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites.For Dick Heidenberger, taking the helm of Bethany Beach’s newest oceanfront restaurant was a move that made a lot of sense.

The endeavor began back in January as a conversation with Jack Burbage, owner of the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites/Residence Inn. Burbage is also Heidenberger’s landlord at the Bethany Beach eateries Mango’s and Bethany Blues. Once he took a look at the hotel that was still under construction and the plans for the restaurant space, Heidenberger said, he decided to jump onboard.

The rest of the winter brought a flurry of preparations for Heidenberger and partners Steve Montgomery and Jim Weisgerber, Heidenberger said. The trio quickly began assembling a team of people to bring their vision to life. A crucial part of that process was hiring chef Danny Somoza and director of operations Donna Serafina.

“The two of them really put together our playbook here,” Heidenberger said.

That playbook includes a “very innovative menu” that features the freshest ingredients possible. To that end, 99 Sea Level works with a number of local food producers — including, but not limited to: Adkins Produce of Millsboro, Bennett Orchards of Frankford, Fishkiller Lobster Shack of Dagsboro and Sea Eagle Fish Company of Selbyville, in addition to farms and seafood companies from all over the Delmarva Peninsula.

From wild-caught salmon to free-range chicken, the menu features the freshest ingredients available, Heidenberger said. And from those ingredients, “everything that is served here is made fresh, in-house,” he said.

The crowning touch on the 99 Sea Level menu is the Seafood Tower, designed to be as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. The tower comes in three sizes and features blue-point Chincoteague oysters, steamed shrimp, Broadwater clams, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels and steamed Alaskan crab clusters.

The location of the restaurant, which seats 90 inside and 100 outside, is a huge part of what makes it unique — steps from the boardwalk and the dunes, it is one of a very few oceanfront restaurants in the Bethany Beach area. The wide porch, graced with elegant columns and fitted very simply with potted palms, was cool and pleasant even on a recent hot, humid afternoon, with ceiling fans adding to the breeze from the ocean.

A shuffling of dream jobs brings new Chamber employee

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Emilie Bonano recently joined the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce as the communications manager.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Emilie Bonano recently joined the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce as the communications manager.As soon as Emilie Bonano realized that she enjoyed marketing, she wanted to do that in a tourist location. That makes her new position as communications manager for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce even more fitting.

What is the role of communications manager? “It’s all-encompassing,” she said. She’ll handle all press releases, newsletters, social media and email lists, but also creating, developing and selling ads for Chamber publications.

“Working for such a wonderful organization that really brings all of the tourism businesses together all in one, and being able to make this community united and getting the [word] out there for everyone” really excited her about this job, she said.

Bonano said she wanted to join a group that makes people and tourists “feel at home when they visit,” and get “the community united, and getting our tourists here going to the businesses that are members of the Chamber.”

The Chamber staff was delighted with her experience in marketing, event planning and recruiting.

Christine’s Consignments celebrating five years with Labor Day sale

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Christine Hinz with Chrisinte’s Consignments mascot, Evelyn, pose for a photo in the Ocean View shop.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Christine Hinz with Chrisinte’s Consignments mascot, Evelyn, pose for a photo in the Ocean View shop.From wine night every Thursday in the off-season, to group trips up to New York City and the shop’s mascot — a dog named Evelyn — Christine’s Consignments in Ocean View is not your average consignment shop.

But that just might be the reason for the store’s success. Since opening the doors in 2010, owner Christine Hinz has even been able to open up a second location in Rehoboth, catering to men’s clothing. So to celebrate the store’s five-year anniversary, she’s rewarding the customers who have made it all possible with a 25 percent off sale for Labor Day weekend.

“The whole store — everything’s going to be 25 percent off,” Hinz explained. “I’ve never done that before, and I won’t do that again until my 10-year anniversary.”

Under the tagline “A trendy to place to shop,” the Ocean View location caters to local women and carries items ranging from women’s clothing and shoes to an array of jewelry, handbags, home decor and even furniture — offering some of the top names in designer merchandise, without the designer price tags.

“I’m very selective. We love designer,” she said. “We love Louis Vuitton, Tori Burch. We get a lot of Coach, Cole Hahn. Then we have a lot of sterling silver jewelry and some gold.”

Jeep donation to raise funds for Tunnell Cancer Center

The Beebe Medical Foundation announced this week that it will hold a new fundraising raffle, for a 2015 Jeep Wrangler donated by Megee Motors of Georgetown. All the proceeds from the Jeep raffle will benefit Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center, located at the Beebe Health Campus on John J. Williams Highway (Route 24) in Rehoboth Beach.

Flaim joins ResortQuest Real Estate’s Bethany Beach office

ResortQuest Real Estate announced this week that Richard “Rich” Flaim has joined the firm’s Bethany Beach/Hickman Beach Plaza West office on Coastal Highway near Bethany Beach.

Drifting Grounds Café settles in Bethany Beach

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Christian Heneghan and Erin Dresler-Looper behind the counter of Drifting Grounds, Bethany Beach's newest coffee house.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Christian Heneghan and Erin Dresler-Looper behind the counter of Drifting Grounds, Bethany Beach's newest coffee house.When Christian Heneghan was looking for a local roaster to supply the beans for Drifting Grounds, the new coffee shop on Route 26 in Bethany Beach, he had two main requirements: he wanted a roaster big enough to be able to offer high-quality, unique beans for his brews, but also wanted one that was small enough to be able to cater to his requests directly. That’s exactly what he found with Homestead Coffee Roasters.

“I wanted good and interesting beans, and then I wanted someone who would work with me,” Heneghan explained. “These guys are big enough that they can handle the summer rush, and they’re small enough where I won’t get lost in the shuffle.”

With the Delaware River Valley-based roasters bringing the beans, Heneghan has been brewing up the roasts from Guatemala, Columbia, Honduras and beyond — with one goal in mind.

Tom & Terry’s Too: New owners building upon proud local tradition

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell Joe and Cat Godleski are the new owners of Tom & Terry's Seafood Market in Ocean View, carrying on a proud tradition and bringing some new concepts, too.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell Joe and Cat Godleski are the new owners of Tom & Terry's Seafood Market in Ocean View, carrying on a proud tradition and bringing some new concepts, too.Tradition runs deep at Tom & Terry’s Seafood Market in Ocean View.

For 32 years, Tom and Mary Ellen Ball provided local patrons with the highest quality seafood that they could bring in. Not only have the crabcakes been made with the same recipe for more than 20 years — they’ve been made by the same person. And not only do the employees keep coming back, summer after summer, but now so do some of their kids.

So when it came time to retire, the Balls went to Joe and Cat Godleski, who they knew would be able to not only carry on the tradition they had built but carry it forward for the next generation.

“I originally met Tom and Mary Ellen when I moved back here after college. That was my first restaurant gig down here, was at Tom & Terry’s on [Route] 54,” said Joe Godleski. “We kept in touch over the years, and last year they asked Cat and I if we wanted to buy the place. They wanted to retire.”

Dana’s Pantry opens up the cupboard on the Bethany Beach boardwalk

You never know what you’re going to stumble upon at Dana’s Pantry. But to Dana Banks, who also owns The Parkway restaurant right down the block, that’s kind of the point.

Fenwick DQ is a local staple and summertime treat

Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver: Lanta Conaway, left, Brett Conaway, center, and Don Conaway, right, run the Fenwick Island Dairy Queen as a family business, with Lanta and Don’s other son, Don “D.C.” Conaway, and their daughter, Candace. A new favorite at the shop is a triple chocolate brownie à la mode, while the 60-year history of the DQ in Fenwick Island is clearly on display in a local history book.Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver: Lanta Conaway, left, Brett Conaway, center, and Don Conaway, right, run the Fenwick Island Dairy Queen as a family business, with Lanta and Don’s other son, Don “D.C.” Conaway, and their daughter, Candace. A new favorite at the shop is a triple chocolate brownie à la mode, while the 60-year history of the DQ in Fenwick Island is clearly on display in a local history book.The Dairy Queen is one of the very few businesses in Fenwick Island that has been in the same location for more than 60 years. It was opened by Virgil Willey in 1952. Willey was the school principal in Bridgeville, and he opened and closed the “treat store,” as it was known, according to the school summer vacation schedule.

Lanta Conaway bought the store 10 years ago to be a family business. She and her husband, Don Conaway, are both Realtors and have lived in Fenwick Island all their lives. In fact, Lanta’s grandparents on both sides lived there.

“I remember when it was just a walk-up with a single window,” she said. “I even worked here as a teenager for a while. At first, they just sold vanilla, chocolate and twist cones — always with a curly-Q on top — and then milkshakes and malts, followed by banana splits. It was always called soft-serve, as real ice cream has 4-percent milk and ours is 2-percent milk.”

“They built this structure to last,” said Don Conaway. “The concrete was dug into the ground and the later additions to accommodate the open flame brazier, and then eat-in seating, are equally sound. Even in the 1962 storm, when many of the local cottages were destroyed, and recently during Sandy, no damage was done here.”