Bidens at the beach: Where to catch a glimpse of the president and his family in Rehoboth Beach


When one of her customers became president, Lori Kline took note: The Rehoboth Beach cafe owner named a sandwich for Joe Biden and his wife. Now the menu at Lori’s Cafe features “The Bidens,” a combo made of tuna (Joe’s favorite) on one half and chicken salad (Jill Biden’s choice) on the other.

“They go well together,” Kline said of the duo.

At Double Dippers, an ice cream shop on First Street, ask for “The 46 Special” and you’ll get a scoop of chocolate chip in a waffle cone — the favorite of the nation’s 46th president.

“We have White House cherry [ice cream], but Joe prefers his flavor,” said owner Joe Mack, who has served Biden and his family for years.

Clearly, Biden’s election in November created a buzz at the beach and energized the Delaware shore. While he has long vacationed in Rehoboth — Biden bought a home there in 2017 — his victory caught the fancy of a coastal town trying to rebound from the pandemic.

“For most folks, it’s a positive, uplifting thing,” said Mack, in business for 23 years. “There’s a different breath in the air, now that the vaccine is out and Biden is in [as president]. I’m seeing people in my store who haven’t been to Rehoboth in more than a year.”

Many hope to glimpse the commander-in-chief, who, in recent years has casually melted into the crowds in summer, shopping at Browseabout Books on Rehoboth Avenue, dining at DiFebo’s on First Street or slurping up a smoothie at GreenMan Juice Bar on Wilmington Avenue. His wife has been just as visible.

In the past, Susan Kehoe said, “You’d see Jill standing in the checkout line in the grocery store, or at the deli counter buying sliced ham.”


Kehoe owns Browseabout Books, a showcase for Biden-related merchandise, from their autobiographies (the couple has held book signings there) to coloring books. There are socks bearing the likenesses of the president’s dogs, Champ and Major; an 8-inch plastic “action figure” of Biden, as if addressing a crowd; and scented candles that smell like orange Gatorade, reportedly his favorite drink.

“The election sort of sealed our fate as ‘the nation’s summer capital,’ " Kehoe said. “There is worldwide interest in Rehoboth; we just had a film crew here from a Scandinavian country who were doing a documentary on [the first lady].”

Even as vice president, she said, Biden slummed easily with his entourage:

“The Secret Service went with him, but it wasn’t, like, 50 guys in black suits. It was guys wearing T-shirts and Bermuda shorts and just kind of ambling along with him,” she said. But Kehoe fears those days may be gone.

“Obviously, it’s a different world now,” she said. “Given the political climate and the pandemic, I just don’t see them moving as freely about town.”

Mack agrees: Much as they’d like, he said, the Bidens will likely struggle to blend in:


“Two summers ago, Joe stopped in many times with his grandkids, got them cones and took home quarts and quarts of chocolate chip. Now, as president, imagine the tons of people involved for him just to come and get ice cream.”

Ever-hopeful vacationers remain vigilant.

“Our business picked up in the offseason because of ‘the Biden Effect,’ “ said Nick Caggiano Sr., who owns Nicola Pizza in town. “There’s more foot traffic, more cars with Biden/Harris stickers. People want to see the president and are curious about where he lives.”

That’s the $2.7 million home the Bidens own in the trendy North Shores community on the cusp of Cape Henlopen State Park.

“It’s a classic, modest-sized coastal beach house,” said Frank Cole, who owns Atlantic Cycles, a local bike shop. Cole services the Bidens’ bicycles and once delivered them to their home in what he said was “a surreal experience.”

Biden is a longtime customer who used to rent bikes at his shop before purchasing his own, said Cole.


“He rode a red Fuji Absolute 2.1, but I don’t know which particular one — I have dozens of those,” he says. Often, Biden would chat with the staff there.

“We’ve had a number of summer employees who are students from Eastern Europe, and Joe would talk to them about international affairs. That was the highlight of their summer,” Cole said.

Now Biden owns a Trek Hybrid and has been seen riding along the bike paths between his home and the town of Lewes, about eight miles away.

“He has brought in his bike for repairs in his Chevy truck, along with one of his dogs,” said Cole. On other occasions, while driving around town, Biden “has pulled up to our store on 1st Street and asked for change for the parking meters.

“Last year, just before the election, Joe popped in with a [security] detail, announced ‘These guys are the best,’ and then took off. I wish my parents were still alive so I could tell them that their son made good as the bike mechanic of the president of the United States.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.