The Lewes installation of Pat's Pizza now occupies the space next to Bling Salon and Spa where the old Five Guys used be be. They have over 50 locations in DE, NJ, MD and PA, and word on the street is that they're doing a good job. Of course the Foodie had to see (and munch) for himself, so after 5 visits, here's the lowdown:
Owners Alex Kotanides and John Diamond share the duties of running this and their other Pat's in Dover, though it makes sense that Lewes resident Alex would spend most of his time at this location. They are apparently in the process of rebranding themselves as "Pat's Family Restaurant" rather than just plain ol' Pat's Pizzeria. That probably explains the extensive menu. OK, enough chitchat. Let's get down to business.
Before I even visited for the first time, I got emails that the portion of steak on their Plain Steaks, Cheese Steaks and Philly Cheese Steaks was fairly light. If you look at the photo on the menu [pictured, left], the roll is stuffed to the top with thinly shaved rib-eye. What you actually get, however, is pictured left, below the menu photo. Indeed, the regular Steak is definitely chintzy with the meat.
Properly indignant, I was about to write, "Hey guys! Charge me a buck or so more and pile on the meat like all the other places!". Then I took another look at the menu and, lo and behold, you can get extra steak for a buck fifty-nine on the small and two fifty-nine on the large. Fair enough -- and even with the added cost, it's still in line with other cheesesteaks around here. So it's a win/win: Light eaters can appear dainty in front of their companions with a politely austere sandwich, and we fressers can pony up an extra buck or two and get something more like what we're used to.
The steak is nicely chopped on the grill, and the toppings are generous. Note the Philly Steak with mushrooms, letuce and tomato [pictured, right]. And by the way, the rolls on which the steaks are served are delicious. They have a great "pull" to them, are smooth and firm on the outside and nicely soft on the inside. So if you are going there for a steak, get the extra meat and the wonderful roll will make it worth it.
"Family" or not, it still seems to be very much about the pizza at Pat's. On our most recent visit we ordered the large (16"X16") with all pepperoni, half sausage and half mushroom. It is square rather than round, and the toppings and cheese are generous [pictured, right]. The cheese is mild and creamy. The sausage needs more of an Italian kick. It isn't breakfast sausage (mercifully), but it could still use more Italian spices to stand up against the rest of the toppings. Now it just gets lost. The pepperoni slices are thin and curl up nicely in the oven. The mushrooms are sliced vertically, which makes for a slightly larger piece and a nice 'shroomy mouth feel.
The crust has a pleasantly yeasty taste, but from a texture viewpoint, it's a little homogeneous. I like a crispier crust, and the "bite" on the bottom and the perimeter actually improves if the pizza is cooked a little longer and is not quite so bready. So I suggest you order your pizza slightly well done so the crust will have a little more crispy personality. And that's never a bad thing where cheese is concerned.
Today for lunch I had the Combo Club Sandwich [pictured right]. It's served on your choice of white, wheat or rye toast, and has a reasonable amount of turkey, ham and bacon. Again, it isn't quite as tall and proud as depicted on the menu, but it is neatly presented (with fries) and the ingredients are fresh. And they cut it into cute little triangles like they're supposed to. You can get pretty much any of the club sandwich fillings in a wrap or as a cold sub. My non-carnivorous dining companion ordered the Veggie Wrap and she liked it. Interestingly, neither the veggie sub nor the veggie wrap include cheese. I guess that's a vegan thing.
Speaking of fries [pictured, left], theirs are quite good, under one condition: Order them well-done!. Note the fries on the left: They were not ordered well-done. The ones on the plate with the club sandwich (on the right) were. See the difference? As a frozen product (albeit a high quality one), they are much better taste and texture-wise if they are allowed to brown to a nice creaminess on the inside and a delightful crunch on the outside. Every time we have asked for them well done they have been perfect. Hey guys, why not just cook them that way for everybody? They're really better.
Pat's has a long list of salads. You can't get a small dinner salad as a side, and the small salad is actually quite generous an appetizer. But they will happily divide the small salad into two side portions [pictured, below left] -- the perfect size to keep you busy while your pizza cooks.
The large salad is a dinner size and is served with your choice of the always tasty Ken's dressings. Pat's is justifiably proud of their soups, and apparently make them fresh in the store (or at least that's what they told me). You can read about their soup du jour on their Facebook page. We had the Maryland Crab Soup the other night, along with a salad [pictured, right] and it was quite good. The soups may be the sleeper there, and can make for a nice warm lunch on a breezy, damp day.
Pat's is planning on delivery, probably around Mid-March or so. They also make group lunches, platters and party trays. One thing I have to tell you is that every time we've visited (5 times to date), the young ladies behind the register have been delightfully friendly. So many places start out like this, and after a while everybody is wearing a frown and has come down with selective deafness. I really hope that doesn't happen at Pat's as it has at other sandwich shops around here. (Alex' continued presence will hopefully nip that in the bud.) Several times during each of our visits they came out from behind the counter to clear our plates and ask if all was OK. Nice touch!
There is no online menu as of yet (unless you place an order online), but they also have wings, dinner platters, strombolis, calzones, oven-baked sandwiches, your basic pasta dishes and the standard list of fried appetizers. I must admit that sometimes I just have to have a jalapeño popper.
Pat's Family Restaurant is at 17644 Coastal Highway between Home Depot and Lowes, across from Lewes AutoMall. They share a little strip center with the ever-popular Bling Salon and Spa. You can see the shopping center's ridiculously bright lighted sign glaring at you from about 100 miles away. Don't stare at it: You'll go blind and run your car off the road.
If you're coming from the south, you'll have to execute a death-defying U-Turn to double-back, so bring your "A" game if you're visiting from the Rehoboth end of things. They are open Mondays thru Thursdays 10-10, Fridays and Saturdays 10-11 and Sundays 11-10. You can order to-go by calling (302) 644-9070. You can also order online (and get 20% off your first order) by clicking here. I suspect they will use this same system when they start delivering. They do not serve alcohol. (L., D.) Price range: Inexpensive.