Delaware is a state full of small towns. Of the 57 individual municipalities, only 5 have populations above 10,000, and a total of 10 towns have a population above 5,000. The vast majority of Delawareans live in tiny, rural towns spread out throughout the state. One good thing about the small town living in Delaware is that we get to support a ton of local restaurants. Read through our list of the top small towns for dining and decide which place you want to try for your next outing. Let’s eat!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
There's certainly no shortage of great seafood in Delaware, but it's still nice to be able to sit out on a dock overlooking the water and enjoy steamed crabs or fried oysters. You'll find both at JP's on the Wharf in Frederica. Despite being a tiny town with just over 700 people, Frederica's got a few hidden gems that you'll need to try. Beyond JP's, El Coqui is the go-to Mexican joint in the area, with some of the best guacamole in the state. Frederico Pizza and Pasta is always a winner, too, no matter what you order.
This is another town with just under 400 people. This southern Delaware town really nails the southern comfort food, at Southern Grill of Ellendale. The fried chicken is fresh and delicious, and the pulled pork really stands out. If you're looking for bar food in the area, you're in luck, too! One 13 Bar is a friendly place with good service and good fried food.
8. Frankford / Dagsboro
Bailey's Seafood is a dive, there's no question there. There's also no question about where to go for some amazing fried scallops. Small mom and pop seafood restaurants are one great thing about living in a small Delaware town, and Bailey's is no exception. They serve some of the freshest seafood you'll find. There's also great Chinese food (Wong Kitchen) and a wonderful Pizzeria (Porto!) between these two neighboring small towns.
7. Delaware City
Let's go to Lewinsky's on Clinton for brunch! Their Bloody Mary bar is the first of its kind in the state, and it's so worth checking out. Their brunch burgers top off the whole experience, making Lewinsky's one of the top brunch picks in the entire state. If you're looking for something else in Delaware City, you can grab a big plate of pasta or a sub from La Matesina, or a giant tray of fresh crabs from Kathy's Crab House.
6. Selbyville / Fenwick Island
Is there anything more "Delaware" than sitting on a picnic table with a cafeteria tray of fresh crabs? I don't think so! You'll find some of the best seafood in the state at Captain Mac's in Selbyville. There's also Luna's Cactus Cafe, which makes authentic Mexican food (you'll be blown away by the fajitas and the enchiladas). Check out One Coastal and Yellowfin's, too, for more impossibly fresh seafood.
Odessa is the smallest town on our list, with a population of just over 360. Most of the town is on the National Historic Places registry. It's an incredibly well preserved place, and Cantwell's Tavern brings a modern twist to the town without taking away from the feeling that you're still walking into the original Cantwell's Tavern in 1822. Their burgers and fries are absolutely perfect. Odessa is also home to a great little diner called Hearth, which serves up wonderful breakfast food and delicious, classic desserts.
If you love seafood, you've got to try Odd Fellows Cafe - like, NOW. The crab cakes, the steamed clams, and the fried gulf shrimp are absolutely perfect. If you're looking for a more lively atmosphere, grab a pint and a burger at Sheridan's Irish Pub. If outstanding BBQ is more your thing, Karibbean BBQ Grill will not disappoint. Whatever you're in the mood for, you'll find some place in Smyrna that's perfected it.
With a population that hovers just around 2,000, Bridgeville is a tiny town with two great places to check out. Jimmy's Grille has some of the best fried chicken and crab cakes in the entire state! It is a little bit of a dive, but the food is delicious and the desserts are out of this world. Down the road from Jimmy's is Tony's Pizzeria, which has great pies and even better wings. They might be my favorite wings in the state.
Milton is a very cool town with a lot of history and a beautiful downtown area with plenty of great places to eat. The Backyard is the place to stop any time of day - whether you want amazing breakfast sandwiches or perfect burgers for lunch. Try the avocado fries! Po' Boy's has delicious cajun food, and Baachus Wine Bar is the place to go for a cheese plate on your night out. There are so many great options in Milton!
Laurel made our top spot in our list of top small towns for dining, and those who've eaten in Laurel won't be surprised. It has two of the BEST taco places in the entire state - and maybe even in the entire DelMarVa region. Which one do you prefer - Tacos Chabelita or Tacos La Placita? Beyond tacos, though, Laurel has a few other hidden gems. Abbott's on Broad Creek is the place to go for amazing meals like their Pumpkin Gnocci with Duck Confit, and South Fork Deli makes great fresh subs and sandwiches.