Dec 222011


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BETHANY BEACH — With affordable, home-style meals reminiscent of what mom use to make, the owners of The Cottage Cafe want patrons to leave having full stomachs and a great time.

The Bethany Beach restaurant, located on Route 1 across from Sea Colony, has served up lunch and dinner daily and breakfast on the weekends for about 18 years.

The family-friendly restaurant offers a casual and comfortable atmosphere for patrons. Owner Brent Poffenberger said the goal when they opened was to have a year-round place that offered dishes locals would love.

The dinner menu includes comfort food favorites, such as pot roast, meat loaf and crab cakes. Entrees are served with fresh muffins and a choice of two sides and are all under $24.

The daily specials, which are consistent but different every day, are also popular, especially in the off-season, Poffenberger said.

“We were trying to do food that was more affordable (and meals that reminded customers of) going to have dinner at your grandmother’s house,” he said. “That’s the one good thing, the home-style food tends to be a little bit more affordable for most people.”

With a wide variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and appetizers, the restaurant also sees a lot of area business people, groups and clubs for lunch, he said.

The “Poffen” burger and crab cake sandwiches — made from jumbo lump crabmeat and locally caught when available — are top sellers, said chef Graham Reese.

For bar patrons, there is a $4.99 special and reduced prices on some of the appetizers as well as happy hour specials from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.

“You can’t beat that,” Poffenberger said. “For five bucks, you (can) get fries, cole slaw and a half-pound burger.”

While Reese has only been the chef at the Cottage Cafe for a short time, his culinary experience and fusion background are bringing something new to this well-established eatery.

Although there’s no intention of changing the home-style meals the Cottage Cafe is known for, Reese’s fresh perspective on food will help the restaurant evolve and continue to be successful, Poffenberger said.

“I have a little bit different style than most people and I’d like to bring those flavors into the restaurant,” Reese said. “I try to incorporate a lot of different things into single dishes.”

From the homey cooking to the warm and comfortable atmosphere, Poffenberger hopes customers leave with more than just a full belly.

“We also want when you walk out of here (to say) ‘that was a great meal and great service,’ ” he said.

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