La Esperanza board votes Matt Haley president


Georgetown, DE – Restaurant entrepreneur Matt Haley has been elected president of the board of La Esperanza, the Sussex County human service agency for Latino immigrants.

Haley, who owns a number of popular eateries and related businesses in southern Delaware, counts 180 Hispanic workers among his 500 employees.

“We could not operate our businesses without the Latino community,” Haley said. “Supporting La Esperanza is one way we can show our appreciation and be of help to the families who help us.”

Haley, who first joined the La Esperanza board in 2008, assumes his leadership role at an important time, said executive director Zaida Guajardo.

“As Latino service agencies consolidate and the economy remains challenging, we are being asked to do more,” Guajardo said. “At the same time, many generous individuals and organizations want to support us. Matt’s business skills and can-do attitude will energize our efforts.”

Haley has established a number of award-winning restaurants in the Delaware shore area since 1998. In 2001, Haley opened Bluecoast in North Bethany Beach, followed by Fish On! in Lewes in 2004 and Ocean View’s Northeast Seafood Kitchen in 2005. Growth continued with Catch 54 Fish House & Marina in Fenwick Island in 2007, then Lupo di Mare in downtown Rehoboth Beach. His latest ventures include Betty’s: Pure and Simple in North Rehoboth and Matt’s Fish Camp, opening this spring.

Haley and his restaurants have earned more than 30 “Best of Delaware” awards by Delaware Magazine, including “Best Chef” downstate. SoDel Concepts, his hospitality company, was named the sixth fastest growing food and beverage companies in the nation by Inc. Magazine in 2009. Haley’s restaurant management company, Highwater Management, works with a number of local and regional establishments.

Besides his many business interests, Haley is active in nonprofit work, including the Celebrity Chef’s Beach Brunch for Meals on Wheels, La Esperanza and the Rehoboth Summer Children’s Theater. His new Global Delaware Fund provides support to an orphanage, a school and a group home in Nepal. Haley has recently produced a documentary, “Hands of Harvest,” which depicts the intrinsic relationship between Chesapeake Bay fishermen and Latino women and is completing a second documentary in India.

La Esperanza provides a variety of educational, behavioral health and family support services to thousands of Latino immigrants from Georgetown and other areas across Sussex County. La Esperanza received the 2010 “Arts and Humanities” award from Delaware Technical and Community College in tribute to their efforts.