Sambo's is a great dockside seafood restaurant in Leipsic (pronounced lip-sick), Delaware about 5 miles northeast of Dover. It has been in this location for over 50 years, selling crabs and fish fresh off the boat. Their sandwiches include soft-shell crabs & crab cakes for about $10 & their dinners range from $10-25 for crabs, shellfish, and fish. The seafood platters are a good choice; one has fried fish, oysters, clam strips, scallops, shrimp and fries ($20), while the other adds a tasty crab cake ($23). But you can't beat the fresh crabs... a very nice meal for two with 6 crabs, 10 steamed shrimp, fries, and onion rings will run you about $43, depending on the price of crab.
Sambo's is a seasonal restaurant, only open from April to November. But it is open seven days a week during those months. They only serve fresh crabs in season, so they might not have any until May each year. Prime crab season is in the fall.
Note: Sambo's is a TAVERN, not a restaurant, so no one under 21 may enter. Don't bring your kids unless you want to leave them playing in the street while you enjoy your mouthwatering crab-cake sandwich (hey, that might be a good idea...)!
Take a look at the maps on the walls of where their customers are from. People from all over the world have enjoyed dinner at Sambo's. Looks like a few drunk locals have also stuck their name tags in unusual locations like Siberia....
I visited on a Monday night in April and they had live music... one guy with a synthesizer and guitar. It was casual and enjoyable as he played a great mix of oldies, country songs, and Jimmy Buffett.
Sambo's is also a favorite with the NASCAR crowd. Not only is the place packed over NASCAR weekend, but many famous drivers including Darrell Waltrip have enjoyed a meal here! I went to Sambo's on the Friday before the September 2005 NASCAR race and I saw drivier Jamie McMurray and millionaire car owner Richard Childress.
Dress is very, very casual... blue jeans and a T-shirt are adequate. They do not take credit cards; cash only!
Where Pigs Fly is Dover's best Barbecue joint. It is a nice restaurant at a great location on the corner of Loockerman St and Du Pont Highway. They (of course) specialize in BBQ including ribs, brisket, sausage, and chicken. They also have a few non-BBQ entrees such as baked chicken if you are not a BBQ lover. Their sandwiches are good, but be sure to ask for them with the cole slaw on the side (and not on top) if you've never tried coleslaw on your BBQ sandwich! Most meals here are under $10 with the exception of the dinner combos.
There's a reason locals call this place "Where Pigs Die!"
The Boondocks restaurant in Smyrna is a local favorite for hard shell crabs, soft shell crabs, and steamed shrimp. It has a huge dining area with seating for several hundred guests. Try one of their combo meals such as the "Pig Out" and enjoy 6 crabs, 1/2 lb of steamed shrimp, chicken wings, corn on the cob, and french fries for about $30 -- it feeds two people.
Try the "Swampwater" for an extra kick. A large is $8 and small is about $5. This green mixture contains rum and other assorted goodies.
The second picture shows the debris and carnage after eating the "Pig Out" at Boondocks. No wonder they use a huge plastic table cloth to wrap up the waste and throw the whole thing away!
Here you see the crab carcasses along with empty bowls from the wings, fries, and shrimp, along with a nearly-empty glass of delicious Swampwater.
The Lobby House is a huge restaurant/bar on the edge of Silver Lake in downtown Dover (Loockerman St). They have a unique menu of tasty food including burgers, wraps, and dinner entrees. I enjoyed a very good Bleu Cheese Steak wrap on my visit. When the whether is nice, there is no better place in Dover to sit than The Lobby House's outdoors dining area along the water.
We have also returned here off an on for drinks in the evening.
This tavern on the water is open seasonally and serves great Maryland crabs and local seafood (scallops, shrimp, flounder, etc). A lot of the fish comes fried, but you can get it grilled if you'd prefer a healthier alternative. The staff is a lively group of women and the owner is pretty much always sitting by the bar chatting with customers. Feel free to get messy, the place is covered in newspapers.
Since it is a tavern, you need to be 21 to get in, so this is not a family spot. But grab a seat in the back room and you can look out onto the water at the crabboats coming in.
Sambo's is only open from April to November. But it is open seven days a week during those months. They only serve fresh crabs in season, so they might not have any until May each year. Prime crab season is in the fall.
Favorite Dish: Steamed crabs smothered in Old Bay seasoning with shrimp and french fries.
So on one of my last days in Dover, Joe and I grabbed Vietnamese food for lunch. Now I understand why people like noodle bowls so much! I had a beef brisket bowl and we split some rice-paper rolls. It was all really good. A nice little place to stop for lunch.
I've been to the Lobby House countless times because it's an easy place for new people to find and has good wings. That being said, with the exception of once or twice, the service is slow and spotty at best. While the food is good, I'd suggest going in the evenings for drinks and maybe something small to much on at the bar. You'll save yourself time and frustration.
The ambience is casual and the restaurant itself is nice, with large screen TVs and a fireplace. On weekends it tends to be crowded with the 30-35 yr old crowd and the overflow from Smithers up the street.
Start with 'lil Chicken Fingers you can dip in honey-mustard. Then get a crisp Green Salad with some spinach leaves included (i go for oil and vinegar dressing). Next, the Prime Rib, tender and juicy with that reddish center and a Potato baked, served in its skin with melted butter. Coffee and Apple Cobbler for dessert (and bring out the wheel barrow to roll me out to the car).
If that sounds good to you, then you need to come to Lone Star Steakhouse. Bring a friend and a thick wallet 'cause it ain't cheap.
Price was about $15 for the steak, $2 for the salad, $2 for the coffee, $4 for the dessert. That's about $60 a couple (including tip). But it is worth every bite
Viet Kieu is one of two Vietnamese restaurant in Dover. I tried the pho (or noodles) with beef on my visit and it were very authentic, reminding me of my trip to Vietnam. The decor is also very authentic traditional Vietnamese in a clean, modern restaurant (in other words, you don't sit on small plastic stools like in 'Nam!).
A small bowl of pho is around $4 while a large bowl is $6. Three spring rolls (pork, chicken or shrimp) cost just over $3. They also offer larger meals such as beef or chicken skewers (satay)
A great place for a quick lunch.
Atwoods was formerly known as the Blue Coat Inn until very recently. As the Blue Coat Inn, it was famous for its fine dining and dishes including steak and seafood. The menu is still the same, but under new management, it doesn't seem to be as popular. Surf and Turf was $25 and the seafood platter with fish, scallops, shrimp, and crab meat was also about $25. The service was excellent, perhaps the best I have experienced in Dover.
For the rumor mill: apparently the previous owner hired a hit man to "knock off" his business partner when they were deep in debt. The previous owner is now doing hard time and the partner owns the business.
\Bad news for Blue Coat Inn fans, good news for Atwoods haters.... This restaurant and parking lot area along Silver Lake has been sold to Zimmerman, the local developer. He plans to build a multistory office building and small tavern here overlooking the lake.
The best quote ever... When Zimmerman was asked if people might be upset about tearing down the picturesque little gazebo along the water where many weddings have been held, he replied, "Some people that got married there probably got divorced. They might be happy."
Beautiful reasoning and logic. Tear it all down, Z-Man... tear it down.
JW's is the classic American sports bar. It has 2 pool tables, about 30 TVs with plenty of live sports via satellite, and approximately 10 beers on tap. The have a good menu specializing in "grinders" (or subs) and chicken wings. JW's also offers steaks and a few other large meals.
My last visit, I enjoyed 2 beers and a crab cake sandwich for under $10, so the price is right.
Wednesday is 25 cent hot wing night. Minimum order is 20 wings for $5, and the special price only applies to hot wings, not their other great flavors.
This is a great spot to catch a football game or NASCAR race on Sunday.
Though they seem to have trouble spelling, the staff at Countrie Eatery has no problems cooking. This is my favorite spot in Dover for a good, hearty American breakfast, and it sits in a nice location on the edge of Silver Lake. The prices are very good -- three of us ate nice breakfasts for only $12.00.
Lunch and dinner are also available, but I haven't had the chance to give either a shot, yet.
Countrie Eatery and Atwoods (formerly the Blue Coat Inn) were once owned by the same family, but after an infamous murder-for-hire mystery, they are now separated by a wall of Jersey barriers.
Touchdown is another typical sports bar located on the south side of Dover. The night I was there, draft Miller Lite's were only $1. I had a very tasty Touchdown Burger for about $6.00. They also have a good variety of nice dinners and a separate dining area for family dining. I really enjoyed the hot wings ($6.95) which were spicy, but sweetly flavorful. The cheese steak sandwich was very good ($7.70). French fries are an additional $1.50 on top of the price on any sandwiches, otherwise you're stuck with chips.
This is definitely one of the friendliest bars in Dover. The bartenders are great and the patrons are fun to be around. Furthermore, this is one of the few bars that have NTN trivia if you really need something to keep you busy.
La Tolteca is Delaware's #1 Mexican restaurant chain. All of their meals range in price from $7.00 to $13.00. They have many different Mexican combos. I enjoyed the enchilada combo of steak, cheese, chicken, and bean enchiladas. Tuesday is margarita night with $2.99 margaritas.
La Tolteca has been voted "Best of Delaware" for 11 of the past 12 years... not sure what happened in 2000!
UPDATE (23 June 2005) - The kitchen at La Tolteca in Dover caught fire on 23 June 05, destroying much of the building. The bad news: they will be closed until summer 06. The good news: no injuries, and they are still serving La Tolteca food at Corellejos, just across the street. Both restaurants have the same owner, and now similar menu items and drink specials. There is also a new Tolteca opening in the old Wendy's near Dover Downs and Home Depot at the north end of town.
UPDATE (March 2009) - Upon returning to Dover, I discovered that Tolteca was renamed La Tonalteca, but it is still owned by the same family... why confuse people? There is also a brand new La Tonalteca on the north side of Dover near the speedway and Bubba's bar and pool hall.
33 West is located at the NE corner of Loockerman St and Bradford Street in downtown Dover. It is only open for breakfast and lunch, 8am to 3pm, but it has a good selection of deli sandwiches and burgers. I had a great turkey wrap with lettuce and asparagus on a tomato and basil wrap. The wrap with pasta salad and a bottomless cup of Pepsi was $7.50.