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Popular Mexican restaurant Agave coming to Middletown

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This rendering shows the Rehoboth Beach location for Agave, which will open this summer. A third location in Middletown will likely use the same design on a single floor. RENDERING COURTESY OF FISHER ARCHITECTURE

MIDDLETOWN – The popular Lewes-based Agave Tequila Bar and Restaurant will be trekking north to open its third location, according to its owner.

The Middletown Town Council approved a major land development plan Dec. 2 that will build a nearly 10,000-square-foot restaurant near the Hedgelawn Plaza off Middletown Warwick Road, right in the heart of the exploding development in the U.S. 301 corridor.

Agave owners Chris and Jocelyn McKeown announced the Middletown location on their Facebook page Wednesday, Jan. 15. In responses to Facebook questions, the owners said that they plan to open the location in 2021.

Delaware Business Times left messages with the McKeowns in recent weeks regarding the news of the location, but they haven’t been returned and the original restaurant is closed for renovations until Jan. 20.

The Middletown location will be the eatery’s third after its second location off Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach broke ground in recent weeks.

The McKeowns opened the original Agave location off 2nd Street in Lewes in 2008 with just 30 seats. Two years later, after rave reviews made it one of the most-sought-after spots at the Delaware beaches, the McKeowns completed renovations that added another 28 seats. A third renovation in 2017 pushed its seats to over 100, but they continued to see pent up demand.

So last year they announced plans to build the Rehoboth restaurant, located at 232 Rehoboth Ave. next to the Summer House Bar and Restaurant and across the street from the new Rehoboth Beach City Hall, from the ground up on a vacant lot. While they had hoped to open the location in 2019, kinks in the plan over parking and construction delayed their progress. They broke ground in October and anticipate opening this summer.

The new location will be a standalone site adjacent to Hedgelawn Plaza, which already boasts a Two Stones Pub. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

The McKeowns are joined in their expansion efforts by Mike Firetti, a retired businessman and longtime regular at the restaurant.

The Middletown location will likely take the prototype designed for the Rehoboth Beach location, which was redesigned to 9,940 square feet to avoid the city’s parking requirements for restaurants 10,000 square feet or more. According to plans filed with Middletown, the third location will measure 9,950 square feet.

In an interview with the Cape Gazette, Firetti said that they had signed a 30-year lease for the single-story location in Middletown – a departure from the Rehoboth’s two-story design to fit that confined space. The owners are also reportedly looking at further expansion, with eyes on locations in Wilmington and Annapolis, Maryland.

By Jacob Owens



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