Local girl goes Global in Bethany Beach
If I had to come up with one word to describe the restaurant business, it would be “relentless.” It’s a 24/7 proposition, and I admire anybody who can provide consistently good food and service to his - or her - customers. And there’s no shortage of women here in the Rehoboth area who have proven they’re up to the challenge.
If anybody out there still buys into that “weaker sex” stuff, they need look no further than pioneers like Sydney Arzt, Joyce Felton, Alison Blyth, Marilyn Spitz, Nancy Wolfe, Emily Carr, Susan Townley Wood, Doris Lynch, Yolanda Pineda, Joan Caggiano, Lauren Cox-Ristenbatt, Jennifer Zerby, Justine Zegna, Danielle Xiong, Dana Banks, Ginger Brenneman, Mara DePace, Meghan Gardner, Maria Ramirez, Gretchen Hanson, Maya Contractor, Lori Kline, Lily Thamibutra, Victoria Kopunek, Amanda Randall, Irene Vrentzos, Lynn Lester, Patsy Dill Rankin, Debra Holmes, Shelia Savaliski, Steph DaLee, Wendy Adams, and the late Marcia Shihadeh … the list goes on and I’m sure I missed somebody. Sorry in advance.
Let’s have some fun. The first reader who successfully pairs each name listed above with the appropriate Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany or Lewes eating establishment wins a one-year subscription to the Cape Gazette. No restaurateurs or Gazette employees, please. Send your list to my email address at the end of this article. My offer expires Friday, Dec. 7.
OK, back to business: Earlier this year, a young woman unlocked the doors of the brand-new 14 Global in Bethany Beach. Tia Sexton is certainly no stranger to the Lewes and Bethany eating landscape, and her cleverly conceived restaurant is already a rising star on the Delaware coast.
Tia is a true local. She was born and raised in the Ocean View-Bethany Beach area, her mom was a fourth-grade teacher at Lord Baltimore and her dad worked for DuPont in Seaford. She was 15 when she got her first job as hostess at the Ocean View landmark, Magnolia’s. “I knew restaurants were for me,” she smiles, and she worked there for 12 years. Around Labor Day 2010, Chris McKeown approached her to take over the position of general manager and bartender at Agave, his popular Mexican hot spot in Lewes.
Sexton’s drive and personality helped keep the high-energy tequila bar going, but she was fascinated by McKeown’s youthful success: “If he can do this, then I can do it too,” she thought. And so she did. On New Year’s Day, 2012,
14 Global was born. The small-plate concept allowed for lots of variety (actually semi-small plates because they are so generously portioned).
She combined her love of cooking with research into leading-edge New York City bistros and literally thousands of cookbooks to create 14 Global’s one-of-a-kind bill of fare.
By the time she approached head chef Shane Kellagher, she had the menu pretty much figured out. She liked what he had accomplished at Pickled Pig Pub in Rehoboth, and though he was successful as sous chef at JAM Bistro, he knew the view never changed unless you were the lead dog. Without showing him the menu, Tia asked him to prepare several dishes on his own. They were both surprised when his ideas matched hers almost exactly.
14 Global looks as cosmopolitan as it tastes. The walls are covered with intricate wood and stone work, courtesy of General Manager John Speziale, a 12-year veteran of Bethany’s Parkway restaurant. Internationally flavored music floats in the background as the illuminated-from-below onyx-topped bar casts a soft glow on bar patrons - some of whom actually end up glowing on their own after a few of Tia’s creative cocktails.
The menu is divided into six sections. Roasted bronzini with black quinoa shares the list with seafood mac ‘n’ cheese, fried Boursin cheese balls, crab Rangoon, bison sliders, a deconstructed cheesesteak, and an octopus pizza with coconut curry sauce. Last week’s dessert special was chocolate-dipped bacon. (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.)
Tia Sexton continues to wow diners from Ocean City all the way to Dover. 14 Global is at 14 (what else?) Pennsylvania Ave. in Bethany Beach, next to the post office. It is presently open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, plus lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Of course, this is the beach, so always double check at 302-616-1035.