Mrs. Robino’s keeping stomachs full Downstate

Mrs. Robino’s Beach Express Route stops in Smyrna, Dover, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. But Robin Robino said she’s flexible with where she can meet anyone for pickup if it’s off of Del. 1. (Submitted photo)

WILMINGTON — Years ago when Wilmington restaurant Mrs. Robino’s was asked if there was any way it could deliver food downstate, Robin Robino said sure, why not?

Once a week, Mrs. Robino would drive down Del. 1, meeting customers at predetermined pickup points. She called it the Beach Express Route.

With restaurants currently closed to dine-in service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Beach Express Route is as busy as it’s ever been as downstaters try to get their fix of the famous Wilmington Italian-American eatery.

“When I first started it, sometimes I would have two orders, sometimes I would have 10,” Mrs. Robino said. “This week I had a truck full of orders.”

The Beach Express Route runs every Thursday. Customers are encouraged to get their orders in either the day prior or as early as possible on Thursdays.

The route stops in Smyrna, Dover, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. But Mrs. Robino said she’s flexible with where she can meet anyone for pickup if it’s off of Del. 1.

“My grandma started this business one table at a time in her dining room, so I’m doing one order at a time,” she said. That’s how you build a business. I’m doing anything I can to make it work.”

Mrs. Robino’s has been open since 1940 on Union Street in Wilmington and has been featured on such popular programs as the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.

Throughout the years, it has built up a loyal base of downstate regulars. Some of those customers grew up in Wilmington before moving to Kent or Sussex counties.

“We call them the transplants,” Mrs. Robino said. “It’s been working out well. We have a nice clientele and they never forget us even if they move. Of course I’ll bring it down for them.”

“People wanted it,” she added. “And I listen to the people,”

Mrs. Robino’s also has added a Monday delivery to Middletown. Based on the recent success of the Beach Express Route, Mrs. Robino said she is debating if she can do a separate trip to Smyrna and/or Dover another day each week.

The dropoff points are figured out with the customers and are typically parking lots close to Del. 1. Some of the most popular meeting points are the Wawa in Smyrna, the Mattress Firm in Dover, the Ace Hardware in Lewes and the Bed Bath and Beyond in Rehoboth Beach.

“I open the back of my car and it’s been like a drive-thru,” Mrs. Robino said. “They drive up to me and I just hand it through their window.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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