On Saturday, August 24, Milford celebrated the long-awaited opening of Arena’s Deli & Bar, located on NE Front Street in the former Pelican Grill location. Arena’s has been a landmark in Rehoboth Beach for over 20 years, and the restaurant has won many awards for their menu selections.
“I am a resident of Milford, and I felt that Milford needed more options as far as dining,” said Ramsey Schrader, co-owner of the restaurant chain for the past eight years. “The city has been very accommodating in helping us get the restaurant open, and I am very happy to be here to serve customers in my hometown.” Mr. Schrader said that they purchased one restaurant eight years ago, and have grown it to six after taking over.
At a private reception held for the ribbon-cutting, many guests expressed excitement to have Arena’s in Milford. The partners are happy that they are employing people in Sussex County, especially to an age group that often has difficulty locating employment in the area, the 18 to 25-year olds. Some also liked the fact that even teenagers can come into Arena’s and enjoy reasonably priced lunches and dinners, in a relaxed, upbeat atmosphere, and feel at home.
The restaurant features bright, sports-themed decorations, with the trademark list of the many varieties of beers, wines and other drinks available written in colored chalk above the bar, as well as on walls throughout the establishment. A 1,500-square foot deck should be completed within two weeks, according to Mr. Scrader, complete with a fire pit for cooler evenings. The deck will overlook the Mispillion River.
“I love the location and the deck that will bring more attention to the river,” said Bill Poulterer, one of the attendees at the function. “Arena’s reputation precedes them, and it seems as if the owners have discovered what people like and are running with it.” City Manager Richard Carmean agrees that it is nice to have businesses tie the river into their business plan.
“This is one of the few businesses in town who are capitalizing on the river,” Mr. Carmean said. “Of course, when a business comes in that is similar to others in town, we worry that the current businesses may suffer, but I have spoken to those already here, and they are thrilled to have Arena’s in town. They all feel that Arena’s offers something different, and feel that when people who have been to Rehoboth venture here to try out this Arena’s, they will see other places and town and want to try them out as well.” Mr. Carmean also expressed that there have been many businesses in the building that houses Arena’s, and although some prospered there, Arena’s seems to be a better fit for the location, with the proximity to downtown and Bicentennial Park.
“This is a huge draw for downtown,” said Lee Nelson, Executive Director of Downtown Milford, Inc. “It is a well established chain with a known clientele. Not only that, we are on the way to the beach, and many people will consider stopping either on the way down or on the way home to visit a restaurant they already know is good. They are also hiring local staff, which supports our economy. The deck overlooking the river gives more weight to our ‘River Town, Art Town, Home Town’ motto.”
Arena’s plans for a grand opening celebration once the deck is complete, but they opened to the public at 9 PM on Saturday. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 AM until 11 PM, Friday from 11 AM until 1 AM, Saturday from 9 AM until 1 AM and Sunday from 9 AM until 11 PM.