SoDel Concepts announced upcoming construction of Thompson Island Brewing Company, a 250-seat brewpub. Thompson Island will be built on a site to the south the company’s Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar which opened in 2017 in the Rehoboth Gateway shopping center off Coastal Highway.
“We’ve experienced phenomenal success in this location,” said Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts. “Our guests appreciate the easy access, the parking and our dedication to service and beautiful, simple food. It made sense to bring another concept to the same site. Unlike most SoDel restaurants, which opened in existing buildings, Bluecoast was built from the ground up and the same will be true for Thompson Island.
Built from the ground up
The brewpub will pay homage to longtime area attractions and activities, such as bonfires, kayaking, paddle-boarding, fishing or just relaxing on the sand. In addition to the bays and beaches, local farms will play a prominent part of the theme, a release stated.
“We will craft a menu using local ingredients when possible that will pair perfectly with beer and the beer culture,” said Doug Ruley, who oversees culinary operations for the hospitality group. Items will include wood-grilled steaks, chops and rotisserie chicken.
Thompson Island will have a beer garden that will seat about 100. Guests can play ping-pong and bocce ball in the garden. The restaurant will also feature a 1956 Chevrolet Apache truck that’s outfitted with beer taps.
Tröegs to serve as brewing consultant
John Trogner of Tröegs Independent Brewing will be the consultant on the brewing side of the new restaurant. Trogner and brother Chris founded Tröegs in Harrisburg, PA in 1996.
A division of SoDel has served as a consultant to Tröegs and Tröegs’ beers have been featured at special dinners at SoDel’s restaurants.
The brewery is now in Hershey. John Trogner spent time in Colorado working in a brewery before he and his brother started their own company. They will assist with the build out of the brewery itself, consulting on recipe development, and brewery staff training.
Fisher Architecture in Salisbury and Rehoboth Beach-based Broadpoint Construction are working on the project. Construction will start on Monday.
A beer destination
“Coastal Delaware is a destination for beer lovers,” Kammerer said. “We’re giving them another good reason to visit the Culinary Coast.”
SoDel has been growing of late. It recently acquired Crust and Craft, also off Coastal Highway near Rehoboth.
Other restaurants are Fish On and Matt’s Fish Camp in Lewes; The Clubhouse at Baywood in Millsboro; Crust & Craft, Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar and Lupo Italian Kitchen in Rehoboth; Matt’s Fish Camp and Bluecoast Seafood Grill + Raw Bar in Bethany Beach; NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View; and Catch 54 and Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria in Fenwick Island.
SoDel Concepts also has Plate Catering. Other divisions include Haley/Kammerer, a hospitality consulting firm, and Highwater Management, a hospitality management company, as well as SoDel Films, Matt’s Homemade Soda Co., a line of artisanal sodas, and SoDel Salts, a line of chef-inspired gourmet seasonings.
Chef Matt Haley, the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award, founded SoDel Concepts in 2004. After his death in 2014, Scott Kammerer, president of SoDel Concepts, started the SoDel Cares Fund in his honor. The nonprofit supports local organizations that assist children, at-risk youth and adults, and the elderly.
Coastal Sussex is emerging as a brewing hotspot. Wilmington-based Iron Hill last year opened a restaurant with an on-site brewery on Coastal Highway.
Tröegs is a rival to Milton-based Dogfish Head, which operates two restaurants in Rehoboth Beach.
Troegs offers its brews throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and into Ohio. Troegs was listed as the 27thlargest craft brewery in the annual report of the Brewers Association, which had Dogfish Head at 13th.
A brewpub would also give SoDel the ability to offer limited edition house brews at its other restaurants.
Thompson Island is named for a state-owned island in the Forgotten Mile area between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Native Americans are believed to have camped at the island for short periods of time before the birth of Christ. Burial sites were also found in the area. The peninsula has become popular with hikers and birdwatchers.