New Fenwick Venture Puts Unique Spin On Hot Dogs, Tacos

New Fenwick Venture Puts Unique Spin On Hot Dogs, Tacos
New Fenwick

FENWICK ISLAND – Twilley’s Willys is now open for its first full summer season as the menu fills a void in Fenwick Island with a Puerto Rican twist.

Twilley’s Willys owner Mark Twilley grew up in Fenwick Island spending the winter months in Puerto Rico since he was 18. His first job in Fenwick was at Ocean Side and since then he has filled every position in the restaurant industry knowing one day he wanted to own a restaurant of his own.

Twilley’s better half, Tara Sansone, is from New Jersey and in visiting her home town where many hot dog establishments can be found, it became obvious the local beach community was in need of a place to enjoy one of America’s best known foods.

With the availability of a store in the Village of Fenwick last year, Twilley jumped on the opportunity to open a restaurant in his home town.

“I grew up in Fenwick, so it has a spot in my heart,” he said.

Twilley spent last summer renovating the space with the help of his friend, Jeremy Hale. Formerly a clothing store, the space was completely gutted and renovated to become Twilley’s Willys that took on the look of a surf scene at that beach.

“I want people to feel like they can come in with no shirt and no shoes and get service, and come off the beach and get quick food,” Twilley said.

Twilley’s Willy’s menu ranges from City Style Dogs to Other Doggy Style, burgers, fries, and even tacos, pulled pork, pinchos and veggie options.

In creating the menu, Twilley wanted to make his own twist on the traditional hot dog and toppings found in different cities around the states.

“I did as much research as I could in what cities are known for, and then I put my own spin on it,” he said.

For example, the Chicago hot dog is with pickle, house sweet relish, pepperoncini, tomato, onion, spicy mustard on a poppy seed bun. The Baltimore hot dog comes with mac and cheese, jumbo lump crab meat and Old Bay seasoning. The Rincon hot dog has ground beef, sauerkraut, cheese sauce, onion, potato sticks and mustard.

Some of the other hot dog options were influenced by traditional sandwich recipes or plates Twilley came across at other restaurants that he incorporated into a hot dog recipe. The Cubano substitutes ham with a hot dog and comes with pulled pork, pickle, Swiss and mustard. The ‘Ole Goat, which is a hot dog with goat cheese, honey and caramelized onions, was influenced from a tapas dish Twilley tried with crostini, chorizo sausage, goat cheese and honey.

The Puerto Rican influence on the menu carries on to the selection of tacos, which is currently pulled pork or fresh fish with queso fresco, cilantro sour cream, cabbage and tomato, and the beef taco with lettuce, tomato and shredded cheese.

Twilley uses a technique on his tacos that he picked up from one of his favorite taco spots in Rincon.

“I do a great taco,” he said. “I dress up the outside shell by putting it on the grill with parmesan cheese. It gives the taco extra flavor, and brings it all together. Nobody does that around here.”

A meal at Twilley’s Willy’s isn’t complete without trying a pincho, which is barbeque chicken skewer with garlic bread.

“I wanted to put that Puerto Rican flare onto the menu. Everyone likes barbeque chicken and it’s a quick, light food that is easy to eat,” he said.

Twilley is proud to say, all of the ingredients served are fresh and local. Twilley makes most of his ingredients in house, such as the chili that he has been working on for years and the pulled pork that is roasted overnight.

All of the pork, beef, chicken and chorizo come from local distributor Kirby & Holloway out of Harrington, Del.  The hot dogs are 100 percent beef from Berks out of Reading, Pa. All the buns are freshly baked from Crack of Dawn Bakery in Berlin and arrives fresh daily with no preservatives.

“In the future, I want to grow and expand with more locations. I would like to go into Bethany Beach, or on the Boardwalk in Ocean City but for now I am focusing on my Fenwick location,” Twilley said.

Twilley’s Willy’s is currently open seasonally from May to October, seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the center of the Village of Fenwick located off Route 1.