Ocn Blu opens off Rehoboth Avenue Extended
New owner trades in corporate life for restaurant life at the beach
By: Chris Flood – Cape Gazette
After 30 years of working her way up the corporate ladder of heavy-machinery giant Caterpillar, Trish Himelright said she and her husband Dave were looking for a new adventure. Which is why, she said, when she was presented with the opportunity to open a restaurant in Rehoboth she didn’t hesitate.
“I retired from Caterpillar Jan. 31, and on Feb. 1, we were down here getting things ready,” said Himelright, sitting at a table in her new restaurant Ocn Blu Beach Bar and Grille.
Located in Henlopen Square, off Rehoboth Avenue Extended in the space formerly Murph’s Beef and Ale, Ocn Blu has been open for roughly two weeks. Himelright said the space didn’t need much work to convert it to Ocn Blu. Most of the equipment was in good working order, she said, adding the bar staff from Murph’s was hired to give some continuity from one restaurant to the next.
“It gives our customers some familiar faces,” she said. “The ones that could, helped remodel this place. I wanted them to add to the flair.”
Himelright said Dave, who used to own his own contracting business, helped out with the quick transformation, but she said, he’s quick to point out the restaurant is hers.
“His end is almost done, and he didn’t even get paid,” said Himelright, laughing, watching her husband get the bar ready for the day’s service.
This is Himelright’s first experience owning a restaurant, but with decades of experience in business – most recently as an operations manager for Caterpillar’s 1-million-square-foot facility near York, Pa – she said she’s confident it will translate from one to the other. What she doesn’t know, she said, she’ll learn from the people she’s hired to get the restaurant up and running.
“Running a restaurant is new, but the idea of running a business is not,” said Himelright. “It wouldn’t make sense to try and do this on our own.”
Himelright, grew in Texas and was taught to cook by her momma, described the menu as bar food, with a twist.
“We want things to be a little different,” she said. “There’s a lot of spice. That’s the southern girl coming out in me.”
There’s a full list of specialty cocktails, and similar to the food, Himelright said the house Bloody Mary has a special ingredient. She almost revealed what it was, but was persuaded not to.
Ocn Blu Bar and Grille, 37169 Rehoboth Avenue Ext., is still in its off-season hours – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday. As summer nears, and staff becomes more comfortable with the menu, Himelright said hours will be 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week.
The Ocn Blu website, ocnblurb.com, is under construction. Himelright said it will be up and running soon, but information on specials is available on Facebook or by calling 302-212-5355.