The building that once housed Tex-Mex & Country Cook’n and, more recently, Leaky Pete’s, in downtown Berlin seems to have been a troublesome spot as of late. Well, Jeff Hamer seems to think differently. Hamer, owner of the FINS Fish House & Raw Bar on the Avenue in Rehoboth Beach and FINS Ale House & Raw Bar on Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach, is excited to be opening his third FINS location in America’s Coolest Small Town!

When we asked Hamer “Why Berlin,” while sitting on the front porch of his new restaurant, his response was, “there is a great sense of community down here. It’s been great. Everyone’s been so unbelievably helpful, how could you not want to be here?” Hamer said that everyone – from the chamber to the Main Street personnel to the police department – has been so incredibly helpful in getting his new location off the ground. “People just walk in and ask if we need anything,” Hamer explained. Hamer has also always loved Berlin for its plethora of antiquing spots (and we do, too!). Hamer used to come to Berlin to find vintage items for his other restaurants, so it’s especially convenient for him now!

The new FINS Ale House & Raw Bar restaurant is slated to open on October 17th and, according to Hamer, “we have a lot of work to do.” Hamer told us that they know what they like to do and what has been successful for the restaurants in the past, but making that happen in Berlin in such a short amount of time is a huge task. Just in the 30 minutes we spent chatting with Hamer about the new restaurant, his decorator, painter, and carpenter were all buzzing about choosing paint colors and taking measurements.

While the task may seem daunting to some, Hamer wanted the new restaurant to be open in time for the Halloween festivities in downtown Berlin. He explained that, “in Rehoboth, everyone knows we have the best Halloween candy.” (Do we smell a challenge for the other shops in downtown Berlin?) Hamer loves the trick-or-treat festivities they’ve always participated in because he loves giving back to the families that support his restaurants throughout the year. Hamer loves going to the store and stocking up on mounds of candy so he can pass it out to the excited kids on Halloween.

The new restaurant is going to be open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week (we’re a little sad that they aren’t going to start off with the incredible brunch they offer at their Route 1 location but we’re hoping Jeff will add that for us after a little more coaxing). The restaurant will feature 5 fish and 6 oysters on their board each night. Additionally, they’ll offer other popular menu items like their crab cakes, po’boys, fish tacos, tuna nachos, and burgers (we were literally drooling as he explained each of these in great detail). He said these menu items are tried and true and their customers love them. Why fix what’s not broken? They also plan to have an extended happy hour from 12 to 6 on Fridays and Sundays. Other nights, their signature happy hour will run from 3 to 6.

One key point Hamer wanted to mention is that the new FINS Ale House & Raw Bar plans to host a different fundraiser each month. Hamer doesn’t want to simply exist in the Berlin community, he wants to truly immerse himself in the local culture and do what he can to help improve it. He mentioned fundraisers for Worcester Prep and scholarship funds right off the bat. Hamer envisions nights where everyone could invite all their friends out to dinner and a portion of the night’s sales would be donated to a local cause.

Oh, and remember Hamer from our recent article on the new Big Oyster Brewery? Well, this new FINS Ale House & Raw Bar will be the first restaurant in Maryland to sell Big Oyster beer.  While all this is going on in Berlin, Hamer is currently working on breaking ground on the new brewery in Lewes. Hamer is quite the busy man but we love that he’s not too busy to help the communities around him. We’re excited to welcome Hamer to America’s Coolest Small Town!