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Sambo's Tavern: Vintage Seafood Restaurant in Leipsic, Delaware
Samuel Burrows Portrait
Isaac Burrows as Featured in a Delaware Today Article
Step Back in Time at Sambo's Tavern
A visit to Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic, Delaware, is a step back to a simpler time when watermen made a living off the Delaware Bay.
The restaurant is just south of the Leipsic River Bridge and patrons can still see local crabbers bringing their day's haul to Sambo's dock, although some of the seafood now served in this thriving restaurant is purchased from quality seafood wholesalers.
My husband read about Sambo's in James Milton Hanna's book, "More Tales from Delaware Bay," and was intrigued by its history and reputation as a great place to eat crabs, crab cakes and seafood so he asked me to take him there for Father's Day. From our hometown of Milford, we took Rt. 1 north to Dover and turned right onto Rt. 9 passing lush green corn fields, grazing horses and cows, and farm houses.
The bucolic scenes made it easy to imagine that this part of Kent County still looks much like it did over half a century ago when Samuel Burrows, trying to supplement his farming income with money he earned from crabbing, decided to retail his day's catch by erecting a small building where customers could purchase fresh caught steamed crabs to carry out.
Mr. Burrows opened the restaurant and bar in 1953 and it's been owned and operated by family members ever since.
Sambo's Tavern as it Looks Today
Photos of Sambo's Tavern
Sambo's is Famous for its Crabs, Vintage Bar & Nascar Driver Patrons
From the outside the tavern looks modest, almost disappointing in its bland appearance. Signs remind visitors they must be 21 to enter, but when the door is opened patrons are treated to a retro, casual atmosphere where newspaper covered tables sport whole rolls of paper towels.
Such details remind one this is a special place meant for cracking crabs with wooden mallets until the juice pours out of them or for eating plump juicy crab cakes which are filled with perfectly seasoned lump crab meat.
In addition to crabs, friendly waitresses serve baskets of seafood, shrimp and clams and hand out cute business cards meant to be used as "drink holders" that remind staff not to remove a half full drink when a diner goes to the rest room.
The restaurant décor is casual with a Nascar Theme featuring photos of many famous drivers who have come to the tavern after racing their cars at nearby Dover Downs.
Maps of the United States and World hang along one wall, each map full of colorful push pins that have string tags bearing the names of tourists from other states and countries.
The first dining room has a vintage bar and pool table and opens into a second, main dining room that has fabulous views of the Leipsic River and marina.
More Photos of Sambo's Tavern and the Town of LeipsicClick thumbnail to view full-size
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"Landmarks and Legacies"
This limited-edition book was written by Pam George and illustrated by renowned photographer, Kevin Fleming. All sites detailed in the book and featured on the Delaware History Trail were selected by Delaware historian Russ McCabe.
Copies of "Landmarks and Legacies" may be purchased through the Delaware Tourism Website at: http://www.visitdelaware.com/delaware-history-trail/book/ .
New Hub Series: Vintage & Famous Restaurants Along the Delaware History Trail
This hub answers the question, "Where would you go in your local area and why?" which was asked by ChristinS.
It is the first in a series of articles that I plan to write about vintage and famous restaurants along the Delaware History Trail. The trail and its website were created by the Delaware Tourism Office to highlight significant historic sites which have impacted Delaware and our nation's history.
You can learn more about the trail and download a free Delaware History Trail Passport at: http://www.visitdelaware.com/delaware-history-trail/.
Those who complete the trail and fill out special codes on their passports may receive a limited-edition copy of, "Landmarks & Legacies," a beautifully illustrated history book which features photographs by renowned photographer, Kevin Fleming, and contains many interesting facts about Delaware's colorful and important history.
Delaware History Trail Sites Near Sambo's Tavern
The following sites are on the Delaware History Trail and are within 15 miles of Sambo's Tavern:
- Air Mobility Command Museum
- Biggs Museum of American Art
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
- Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village
- John Dickinson Plantation
- Johnson Victrola Museum
- Smyrna Museum
- The Green
I have included a map with GPS addresses for your convenience. More information about each museum and historical site including links to their respective websites, can be found at the above link to the Delaware History Trail.
Dover & Smyrna Museums & Historical Sites
Sambo's Tavern on the Leipsic River.
Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base.
Biggs Museum of American Art.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village.
John Dickinson Plantation.
Johnson Victrola Museum.
The Smyrna Museum.
The Green in Historic Downtown Dover.
"More Tales from Delaware Bay"
Delaware author, James Milton Hanna, has written several books about the Delaware Bay. This one is about historical and modern incidents involving shipbuilding, crabbing, oystering, and fishing on the Bay.
It includes a chapter about the history of Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic, Fort Delaware located on Pea Patch Island, and tales about pirate raids on oyster beds in the Delaware Bay.
Hope You Enjoyed Your Cyber Visit to Sambo's Tavern
I hope you have enjoyed this hub about Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic and are able to dine there in person if you are ever in Kent County, Delaware.
Reservations are highly recommended if you plan to go on Friday or Saturday night. Hours of operation are seasonal so it's also best to call in advance to be sure the tavern is open when you want to visit.
Call 302-674-9724 for reservations or information or visit the Sambo's Tavern Facebook Page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sambos-Tavern/115382508473923 .