Patsy’s Restaurant in Bethany Beach, Delaware is a tribute to Key West and Southern-inspired cuisine. Founded by Patsy Dill Rankin and her daughter Robin in July 2000, Patsy’s is a colorful and eclectically decorated eating establishment frequented by the locals in off-season and jam-packed by beachgoers during the summer months. We really do miss Chef Patsy’s extensive PEZ dispenser collection that graced the restaurant’s interior walls a few years ago.
Patsy and Robin are both classically trained chefs having graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine Professional Culinary School. They spend their winter vacations doing research in Key West in order to bring back fresh ideas for new dishes each season and updates to current menu offerings. Patsy’s crab cakes were served over sweet potato fries when we first frequented the restaurant. Now, they’re served on a celery root and Granny Smith apple remoulade and topped with an herb salad alongside lovely asparagus spears. Either way, they’re the best crab cakes at the beach. Both chefs love what they do and it shows.
Patsy’s is always a regular dinner or brunch stop for us when we are visiting “The Shore.” Daily specials accompany a regular menu that is brimming with outstanding choices. Seduce yourself with some Key West favorites! These two ladies know how to pull together complimentary flavors to produce memorable meals.
When you arrive at Patsy’s during the summer season, the wait might be long, but it’s worth it. Sit on the covered porch in warmer weather to enjoy the pleasant ocean breezes. My husband and I prefer to sit inside the air-conditioned dining room at our “favorite table” for two.
Once you are seated, relax with a house-made concoction while you peruse the menu. Patsy’s attentive wait staff is well-versed in the restaurant’s offerings. It’s comforting to see the same familiar smiling faces over the years in a restaurant’s wait staff and kitchen staff — the mark of exceptional restaurant management and employees who are committed to providing outstanding service. You will find both at Patsy’s.
Quite a number of my photos depict delicious daily specials at Patsy’s, while others showcase items offered on the regular menu. Some specials are repeats while others have made just a few appearances. As an example of a special that became a mainstay, the blackened fish tacos were a periodic offering, and due to their popularity, eventually became a staple on the regular restaurant menu. I will leave it up to you to review the offerings on Patsy’s regular menus and look forward to the changing nightly specials. You will not be disappointed with the selections!
Since Patsy’s is a creative and environmentally-aware restaurant, the nightly specials will reflect fresh organic and local ingredients that are in season. The chefs pride themselves on the outstanding quality of their fish, meats, and produce. You can be sure that everything is made fresh in-house or it won’t be served.
Two favorite libations are the green apple martini and the organic strawberry martini. The strawberry martini features house-made organic strawberry vodka. There’s an organic blueberry martini as well as quite a number of other seasonal flavors including a lovely green Thai Basil martini.
And one of my most recent favorites is the Ruby Red Grapefruit martini — so refreshing on a hot summer evening. There’s a regal hot pink-hued Cosmpolitan which goes well with the Key West color scheme.
The bar is well-stocked, and the wine list has good variety if you are seeking another option from my favorite fruity martinis (you are what you drink, so they say…). Wines are available by-the-glass. Restaurant regulars usually eat dinner at the cozy bar which has a few stools.
Appetizers should be ordered immediately to be enjoyed with your beverages. During the perfectly ripe summer peach season, the chilled grilled peach with herbed cheese and served with herby mixed greens just might contain some herbs from the restaurant’s kitchen herb garden just outside the side window. My husband’s favorite appetizer choice is the plate of crispy conch fritters.
Pizzas range from a cheesy tomatoey Margherita pizza and a fresh arugula-topped garlicky white pizza with prosciutto on the regular menu, to nightly specials such as duck confit and sliced pear pizza or a scallop and asparagus pizza. Thinly crusted pies with just the right amount of toppings are a treat — we love them all.
Patsy’s salads contain the best local organic ingredients available. My favorite salad, besides Patsy’s House Salad with Granny Smith Apple spirals and goat cheese, is the Key West salad. A sucker for mango, I really enjoy the sweet mango along with creamy avocado and crisp organic greens. Add a succulent crab cake and you’ve got a satisfying main course.
You’ve got to try at least one of the nightly specials — one of which last summer was the best gazpacho that I’ve ever tasted. It’s rare to find an ice-cold gazpacho with just the right amount of heat and veggies that are still very crispy. Heaven in a bowl.
It’s hard to choose a favorite entree because they are all delectable. Cuban pork is slow-cooked and so melt-in-your-mouth-good that you will want to take some home. A Butcher’s steak is available on the regular menu and grilled to your satisfaction. A house-made duck confit special captivated my husband and will impress anyone else who understands what goes into this dish. Another special enjoyed by my husband was a spiced lamb, couscous, and chickpeas main course. The lamb was perfectly cooked to rare, and the spices nicely complimented the meat and starches.
For vegetarians, several delicious and filling dishes are available. A stuffed poblano pepper special was a delight for me on one visit, as was a woodsy wild mushroom-smothered creamy polenta dish on a chilly winter evening. Experience Key West warmth every day at Patsy’s.
Fish is a specialty at Patsy’s. Probably the wildest-looking (and maybe most exotic) dish on the menu is the flash-fried Tempura-style whole snapper that’s flown in fresh from Key West. The snapper is a best-seller on the regular menu. I’m a huge fan of bluefish which is cooked crispy on one side, flaky on the other. It’s usually draped with a yummy tapenade of whichever available fresh ingredients inspire the chefs. I’ve enjoyed the bluefish a number of times with different luscious accompaniments and each preparation has been stellar. When offered, a perfectly seared tuna served with a cabbage and carrot salad is a star of the nightly specials.
Sundays at Patsy’s Restaurant during high season offer brunch options including the wonderful Southern Fried Chicken served with just-as-tasty accompaniments. The Chile Verde Enchiladas are my favorite brunch entrée. Traditional Eggs Benedict with crispy bacon strips is served over these wonderful herbed biscuits that are crunchy on the outside and oh-so-delicately-soft on the inside. Another example of seductive heaven on a plate.
And now for the sweets! It’s hard to make a really good peanut butter pie. Either the filling doesn’t congeal properly and becomes a runny mess, or it’s got chunks of cream cheese in it which take away from the smooth feel of a good creamy pie. Patsy’s is perfect. Her chocolate peanut butter pie is my absolute favorite dessert. My husband favors the crispy cinnamon-y sweet banana crepe dessert affectionately known to us as “The Banana Thing at Patsy’s.” When it’s “Pie Time” at Patsy’s, you will find a super-flaky pie crust filled with fruit-in-season just waiting to be devoured for dessert.
Try a chocolate martini for a drinkable dessert and a fine end to the evening. Remember to walk over to the Bethany Beach Boardwalk to make sure the ocean is still there (a joke with me and my husband — we have to check, just in case it decided to leave). Watch the sapphire waves crashing over and over — it’s addictive. And you can view the ocean from the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Cam year-round…to be sure the ocean is still there…. Check it out at bethanycam.com.
Patsy’s Restaurant is usually open from mid-March through December with some vacation (and research) time for the staff during January and/or February. Sunday Brunch is served during the high season (Memorial Day – Labor Day) and selected Sundays throughout the off-season such as Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day. Sundays also bring that wonderful Southern fried chicken — did I mention it’s only available on Sundays so get in there and get yours! It’s been voted Best Fried Chicken in Delaware by Delaware Today Magazine.
Be sure to get yourself a souvenir shirt at Patsy’s! It’s based on the famous Patsy’s mural.
If you are lucky, Chef Patsy will stop out to show you her latest creations — in this case, her freshly baked dinner rolls! And maybe she’ll give you some to take home.
Located just behind Patsy’s restaurant, Chefs Patsy and Robin also ran the Coastal Living Market which had the best smoked salmon bagel in Bethany (or anywhere else, for that matter)! In 2014, Chef Robin closed the Coastal Living Market and opened Pie in the same space. Pie offers homemade pizzas and many types of pies, along with cheese and meat plates as well as wine to compliment your meal.
Visit Patsy and Robin here:
121 Campbell Place
Bethany Beach, DE
120 Central Blvd.
Bethany Beach, DE.
Parking is free during off-season. During high-season, patrons pay a parking fee from 10AM – 11PM (10AM – 8PM in some areas). Click HERE for more information on parking and fees. There is usually free parking in the off season.
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