Delaware: The First State for Coastal Dairy-Free Cuisine

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Last Updated May 2021! We’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores in Delaware that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!) that’s divided into restaurants & shops by city (first) and major chains found throughout the state (second). And we’ve started a section for specialty dairy-free foods produced in this state.

We Update Continuously! You can ignore the original date on this post going forward. We update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new recommendation, change, or closure.

Dairy-Free Delaware: Recommended Restaurants & Shops - with gluten-free and vegan optionsPhoto from Summer House Saloon in Rehoboth, Delaware

Dairy-Free Delaware: Recommended Restaurants & Shops

Every Delawarian lives within 35 miles of the ocean. So it should come as no surprise that crab boils and other shellfish dishes are popular. But poultry is also abundant, and one of Delaware’s most iconic foods is slippery chicken and dumplings. The dumplings are more like thick noodles, and are usually dairy free. In fact, the entire dish is often made without dairy. Just be sure to check on the chef’s recipe – they might indulge it with some butter or cream.

States further north like to cover their French fries in cheeses and gravies, but Delaware diners usually keep it simple with French fries and vinegar. But be aware of their beloved Tatanka sauce, which is served at many casual spots. It looks dairy-free, but actually contains butter and Parmesan cheese. For dessert, Italian water ice is loved, and usually dairy free. You also might find some good local salt water taffy. Just be sure to read the ingredients since milk is sometimes used in different flavors.

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city and then by the restaurant or shop name. For large chains with locations throughout the state, see the Major Restaurant & Grocery Chains section below. We have dedicated posts with dairy-free details for many of the big guys.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Bethany Beach

  • Maureen’s Ice Cream & Desserts – This local Delaware shop offers some rotating dairy-free ice cream flavors, which can include chocolate, mint chocolate chip, vanilla, or coffee royal, acai bowls (complete with dairy-free chocolate chips!), and push pops. They can also accommodate food allergy orders with their custom baked goods.
  • Off The Hook – Gretchen D. recommended this local seafood restaurant. “This is a farm-to-table restaurant less then a mile from the water. All of the staff is very aware of food allergies, we always feel secure having our anaphylactic daughter eat here – and she always has an amazing meal, not just a piece of plain, cooked chicken!”
  • TCBY – See our TCBY Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.

Dover

Hockessin

  • Harvest Market Natural Foods – In addition to a store filled with special diet options, they also have a kitchen that makes several dairy-free prepared foods, like chicken tenders, vegan burgers, and paleo baked goods.

Lewes

  • 2 Dips Ice Cream – Dairy-free guests can enjoy various water ice, sno cones, sorbets, and vanilla dairy-free ice cream.
  • Nectar Cafe & Juice Bar – In addition to fresh juices, they offer some vegan sandwiches and salads with “just dairy-free” options.

Milton

  • Bella’s Cookies ⭐️ – This lovely little local bakery was built right on the owner’s property, and it’s completely vegan! Obviously, cookies are their specialty. They have the classics, cute custom designs, healthy options, and a huge gluten-free range. But they also bake pies, muffins, scones, cinnamon buns, brownies, and more.
  • Dogfish Tasting Room – Move over milk stouts, this local brewery created the first oat milk ale. Their Hazy-O IPA is made with four types of oats. The kitchen at this location often has a dairy-free food option, too.

Newark

Newport

  • Sweetopia – This gluten-free bakery also offers a small vegan line with a handful of dairy-free, egg-free cakes and pastries.

Ocean City

Ocean View

  • Big Fish Grill ⭐️ – This casual seafood restaurant labels dairy-free, gluten-free, and shellfish-free items right on their menu. And there are quite a few dairy-free options, including their crab cakes (also gluten-free!). But be sure to let your server know you need dairy-free, as some are dairy-free with minor modifications. According to Ashley R. they are well trained in food allergy management. “I used to work for the Ocean View restaurant and not only do they do the best at making sure cross contamination does not occur, the manager delivers the allergen plate.”

Rehoboth Beach

  • Big Fish Grill ⭐️ – They have impressively detailed allergen menus with tons of options. The menus include dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, shellfish-free, garlic-free, and vegan. Check out their market next door for to-go options. Use caution though, as they do have goat cheese on their dairy-free menu.
  • Dogfish Restaurants – Move over milk stout, this local brewery created the first oat milk ale. Their Hazy-O IPA is made with four types of oats. Their food isn’t heavy in dairy-free options, but the Chesapeake & Maine location is seafood focused and has a raw bar.
  • Forgotten Mile – Ashley R. said this restaurant “is AMAZING with allergies. Every time I go in they always know how to prepare my food with no milk containing ingredients.” This ale house has 14 taps that rotate with craft beers and a diverse casual menu of appetizers and entrees.
  • Grandpa (MAC) – This cheesy establishment doesn’t forget dairy-free guests. They offer two types of vegan mac pasta, a panini option, vegan caesar salad, and soups.
  • SEED eatery ⭐️ – This is a dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and added sugar-free restaurant! They make custom order bowls with your choice of base, proteins, veggies, and sauces, and offer a global array of flavors. They also offer dairy-free cheesecakes for dessert, and have a big selection of menu options for vegan diners.
  • Stingray Sushi Bar + Asian Grill ⭐️ – This is a modern Asian restaurant, so several dishes on the “grill” side do contain dairy. But they label their menu items for dairy-free and gluten-free guests. This is a part of the Big Fish group of restaurants.
  • Summer House Saloon ⭐️ – They have impressively detailed allergen menus with tons of options. The menus include dairy-free, gluten-free, and shellfish-free. This is a part of the Delaware-based Big Fish group of restaurants.
  • Sweet Charlie’s – This rolled ice cream chain offers a dairy-free and vegan base that you can customize with various flavor and add-in options or even enjoy as a “milkshake.”
  • The Crab House ⭐️ – They have impressively detailed allergen menus with tons of options. The menus include dairy-free, gluten-free, and shellfish-free. This is a part of the Big Fish group of restaurants.
  • The Ice Cream Store – They offer a house-made, coconut milk-based vegan “nice cream” in addition to some dairy-free sorbets

Salisbury

Wilmington

  • Big Fish Grill ⭐️ – They have impressively detailed allergen menus with tons of options. The menus include dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, shellfish-free, garlic-free, and vegan. Check out their market next door for to-go options.
  • Daily Veg ⭐️ – This is a vegan fast casual restaurant serving vegan burgers, wraps, salads, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and milkshakes.
  • Drop Squad Kitchen ⭐️ – This is a from-scratch vegan kitchen offering salads, sandwiches, tacos, and shakes.
  • Green Box Kitchen ⭐️ – This purely plant-based restaurant has two locations in town, each serving healthy, fast casual fare.
  • Honeybee Organic Market & Kitchen – This is a natural food grocery store that also offers prepared entrees and baked goods with many dairy-free and vegan options.
  • Sweet Charlie’s – This rolled ice cream chain offers a dairy-free and vegan base that you can customize with various flavor and add-in options or even enjoy as a “milkshake.”

Dairy-Free Delaware: Recommended Restaurants & Shops - with gluten-free and vegan optionsPhoto of the Hazy-O IPA made with oat milk at Dogfish Brewery

Restaurant & Grocery Chains found throughout Delaware

Some recommended restaurant and store chains are getting too big for our city listing britches. They have many locations, or are rapidly growing, and you might stumble across them in a number of towns in this state. Click on them for more dairy-free details.

Dairy-Free Delaware: Recommended Restaurants & Shops - with gluten-free and vegan optionsPhoto from SEED eatery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Local Dairy-Free Food & Drink Producers in Delaware

These dairy-free friendly companies don’t have their own retail location, but are in Delaware. So you have a good chance of finding their products at grocery stores, restaurants, and/or other shops in this state. Keep an eye out!

**We’ll add them as we hear about them!

Dairy-Free Delaware: Recommended Restaurants & Shops - with gluten-free and vegan optionsPhoto from Bella’s Cookies in Milton, Delaware

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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