Arena’s, a chain of popular casual dining restaurants in Sussex County, will soon be opening new locations in Milford and Georgetown.
The deli/bar will become the newest eatery at the Sussex County Airport when it opens later this spring, followed by a summer grand opening for its Milford location at the former site of The Pelican Bar on Northeast Front Street.
“We’ve wanted to come to Milford for some time, but just weren’t able to find the right spot until this location became available,” Matt Evans, one of the restaurant’s five co-owners, said this week. “We think it’s perfect spot for us, being right on the Mispillion River and in the heart of downtown, and we can’t wait to open.”
Arena’s, which began in downtown Rehoboth more than 20 years ago, was purchased by Deli Days LLC in 2005 and has since expanded to a second Rehoboth location, as well as locations in Lewes and Long Neck.
The restaurant’s Milford location will be its first foray into Kent County, even if it’s only by a few feet.
“As we increase the number of our locations, we’ve been looking more and more at doing different things at each one, including some menu changes,” Evans said. “I think what will make the Milford location really standout is that it will have a great sports bar feel with an outside deck onto the river that we’re really excited about.”
Evans said the business will begin construction on the 1,000-square-foot deck after property owner Silicato Development completes a façade of the building, which Arena’s will follow with a remodeling of the interior.
“Our goal is to be open sometime between Memorial Day and July 1,” Evans said, adding that he expects the restaurant to hire 50 to 60 full- and part-time staff.
In the meantime, Deli Days also will be working to open a new location at the Sussex County Airport near Georgetown.
“This is the first time we’ll be opening two restaurants at the same time, but you have to take chances in life,” Evans said. “We’ve done our research and we’re confident in what we have and we think we can be successful in both markets.”
Under the terms of a lease agreement approved last month by Sussex County Council, Arenas will pay up to $15,000 a year in rent, based on a percentage of sale volume, for the Georgetown-area location.