Delaware: The First State for Coastal Dairy-Free Cuisine

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Last Updated September 2020! This sliver of a state claims milk as its state food, but that doesn’t mean they use it in everything. In fact, many beloved local foods are dairy free, and are often served without any cheese or cream. But Delaware is a small place, so we are still seeking out options.

See our small but growing list below of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops 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 local restaurants (first) and chains (second).

Local Delaware Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

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 specific recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = 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

  • 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!”

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.

Newark

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 ⭐️ – Ashley R. let us know about the dairy-free menu at this restaurant location. In fact, they also have special menus for gluten-free, egg-free, shellfish-fee, garlic-free, and vegan. The options are actually quite impressive and extensive, but use caution since they do include goat cheese on their dairy-free menu.
  • 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.

Most Popular Chains in Delaware for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

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!

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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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