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Surf Bagel eyes Fenwick Island location

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Surf Bagel, SoDel Concepts in Milford. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

SoDel Concepts is preparing to bring its Surf Bagel franchise to Fenwick Island, marking its southernmost location to date. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

FENWICK ISLAND – One of the Delaware beaches’ most popular brands is continuing to eye new growth as Surf Bagel reportedly seeks a Fenwick Island location.

A former Dairy Queen at 1055 Coastal Highway was recently razed by owner Balsamo Real Estate, and the site could soon be home to the southernmost location for the local breakfast franchise.

“We anticipate signing a deal for the Fenwick Island property in the next few weeks. Surf Bagel is stoked to have an opportunity to bring our freshly made New York-style bagels to Fenwick and the surrounding communities,” Matt Patton, vice president of Surf Bagel under Lewes-based restaurant group SoDel Concepts, told Delaware Business Times.

Patton said they are eying a summer 2024 opening for the Fenwick location.

That addition comes on the heels of the February announcement that Surf Bagel would open its fourth location in a leased space in the Taormina Square Shopping Center on Route 24 in Long Neck this summer.

Since opening in 2004, Surf Bagel has become a beach favorite for residents and visitors alike. Founded by brothers and avid surfers Dave and Tom Vitella, the venue is well-known for its New York-style bagels, flavored cream cheeses, bagel sandwiches and other breakfast and lunch items.

When the Vitellas were ready to move on to the next chapter, they sold Surf Bagel to SoDel Concepts in November 2021 to ensure that the brand would continue and flourish.

SoDel President Scott Kammerer thought Surf Bagel would be a natural fit in his fast-growing restaurant group, as many of their existing concepts have menus geared for lunch or dinner dining. He also told DBT that he envisioned Surf Bagel as a chain that could expand beyond southern Delaware.

Its first stop outside of its original Lewes and Rehoboth Beach locations off Route 1 was downtown Milford, as the franchise opened in that growing city in December 2022.

The prospective site for the Fenwick Island location has been the subject of heated discussions in recent years and even a lawsuit, as developer Joe Balsamo had argued that the town was delaying action on his building permit to enact more restrictive parking regulations. Ultimately, a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the town, and Balsamo tore down the existing structure in May.

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