The Good Life
Delilah’s Brew and Chew in Ocean Isle Beach is a haven for hanging out and enjoying good food, wine and company.
Delilah stands watch at her namesake Brew and Chew in Ocean Isle Beach and welcomes everyone who enters.
She doesn’t speak. She just looks up with expectant caramel-colored eyes, hoping for a gentle pat on her head.
Her owner, Lisa Rutherford, refers to Delilah as “this beautiful mix.” She rescued her dog from the Columbus County Animal Shelter in Whiteville two years ago and says Delilah turns four in August.
“I thought she was beautiful and named her on the way out of the shelter,” she says. “The name just came to me.”
When Rutherford opened Delilah’s Brew and Chew in May 2019, Delilah was at the door welcoming customers. She’s gentle, doesn’t bark and will nuzzle people when she has the inclination.
“I wanted to have a business offering what I thought the community needed and wasn’t available,” Rutherford says. “I wanted a place where people could hang out.”
She listed the needs:
• Healthy products such as kombucha and gluten-free food
• Breakfast food/snacks
• Music, both live and recorded
• Art and books
• Local products made by local artists
• Other entertainment, such as television and games
• Conversation areas
• A private room
She found a building and designated space to meet her requirements, and people came. Delilah’s has jewelry, clothing, household items, jams and a host of other products for sale. A room is available to rent where people can use virtual equipment for meditation or music. The art corner has supplies people can use for their creations. A bookcase is available as a book exchange.
“I love that people love it here,” Rutherford says. “We have good coffee and good service. It’s fun, and we have a lot of events in normal [non-virus] times.”
Barista Jenny King says she began working at Delilah’s from the day it opened. “I love it,” she says. “It’s so clean, and all our customers are so great. Delilah gives you a really warm feeling. She is good with everybody and a wonderful animal.”
Never short of creative ideas, of which the name of her business is one, Rutherford offers wine slushies, features musicians and artists and has held Wine and Chocolate nights and champagne brunches.
An upcoming event is a wedding ceremony — between Delilah and friend Nicole Depauw’s five-year old Mugsy, who is half American Staffordshire terrier and half beagle. Proceeds benefit RACE, an animal rescue shelter in Shallotte. Since COVID-19 has curtailed activities, a definite date has not been set.
Background music is a constant at Delilah’s, which adds to the cheerful atmosphere. Customers Sally Nolan and Carole Barth request red wine, and Rutherford suggests a red from California’s Cocobon Vineyards.
“I come here all the time,” Barth says. “[Lisa] is my sommelier,” she adds, a little tongue in cheek. “I get referrals a lot from her because she has wines I’ve never tasted.”
Rutherford says she learned about wines while living in Ventura, California, and uses that knowledge to choose how she stocks her shelves.
She explains that she grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and after high school attended Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, for two years. She later chose to enter Heartwood Institute in northern California, where she received certification in massage therapy. She also learned about Eastern medicine and cupping, a form of alternative medicine that eases people’s pain. “I loved being able to help people and make them feel better,” she says.
Eventually, she decided to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue photography as a career. She entered TAFE, Technical And Further Education, in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia. A picture she took of Delilah hangs in a prime location at Brew and Chew. She enjoyed photography, but was offered a job as a massage therapist and moved to Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia. She stayed four years then moved back to California in 2010.
When she couldn’t find a job as a massage therapist there, Rutherford established lisahelp.com in which she was similar to a Girl Friday. She washed and cleaned cars, cared for pets, cleaned homes, bought groceries and performed other household tasks people didn’t have time to do.
“People would tell me they were too busy to have a massage, so I decided that if people are too busy, I could help them out,” she says.
In 2017 a cousin of Rutherford’s needed someone to live in her vacant condo in Sunset Beach. Never having married and without children, Rutherford volunteered. “I didn’t know anyone when I moved here, but I went to as many things as I could,” she says.
She took Pilates and yoga classes, contributed to animal welfare groups, accepted a job in a local business and made friends in the process.
“I envision Delilah’s to be a place where everyone wants to come and hang out,” she says. “They can find things they can’t find anywhere else, like Moroccan rugs. This is where local artists come and feel free to bring their stuff and have lunch.” She pauses then adds, “I can’t wait until things get back to normal.”
Want to go?
Delilah’s Brew and Chew
207 Beach Drive SW, Ocean Isle Beach
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., live entertainment 5 to 7 p.m. when weather permits
Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday 7 to 10 a.m.