Best of the Shore 2019

Best of the Shore 2019

Shore season has finally arrived, and if you’re like us, you can’t wait to head down the Parkway to your favorite exit, park the car and plant your toes in the sand. But before you embark on this annual rite of passage, allow us to offer some assistance.

We traveled from the shores of LBI all the way down to the top of Cape May to find the best food and drink items in each town. From satisfying sandwiches and quintessential quick bites to craft cocktails and enticing entrées, we’ve got you covered with a town-by-town roundup of the best items along the coast.


Avalon

Cheesesteak Dumplings, Avalon Brew Pub
It’s basically Philly in a dumpling, which is good in itself, but the little additions make this dish standout—such as the pickled onion to add sweet acidity and the sweet Thai chili sauce that takes it to another level. 

Kohler’s Cream Donut Ice Cream, Sundae Best

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Take Sundae Best’s creamy, homemade ice cream and mix it with Kohler Bakery’s famous cream doughnuts—both places that have lines out the door— and you have one insanely good, sweet combination.
 
Thai Coconut Ginger Mussels, The Princeton
Our taste buds scream in the best possible way every time we have this dish. Mussels are sautéed in garlic and shallots, finished with Thai basil coconut milk and served with garlic bread to scoop up every leftover drop. It’s so good; you might be tempted to lick the bowl.
 
Veal Loren, Café Loren 
Café Loren has quite a reputation in Avalon, and for good reason. Besides seasonal specials, many items on their menu don’t change and the dishes somehow taste better year after year. Veal Loren consists of tender veal medallions, topped with shrimp, crab and herb roasted Yukon potatoes in an addictive garlic cream.
 
Bruschetta Pizza, Circle Pizza                              
Sometimes it’s good to change things up a bit, like putting the ingredients on a pizza underneath the cheese. You read that right—it’s a little backwards, but it works, trust us. Diced plum tomatoes with fresh basil, garlic and a touch of onion, marinated in EVOO are baked with provolone cheese on top.
 
Shrimp & Avocado BLT, Concord Café
This is the creative twist on a BLT you never knew you wanted, until now. Chilled shrimp add another dimension to play off the saltiness of the bacon while sliced avocado adds a depth of creaminess that makes every bite an explosion of complementary flavors.
 
Seven Mile Salad, Windrift
It’s easy to throw diet regimens out the window when you’re by the beach, but this colorful plate of spinach, arugula, watercress, quinoa, apple, tomato, radish, dried cranberries, pecorino Romano cheese, carrot crisps mixed with honey Dijon dressing helps us get back on track. 
 
Cooler by a Mile Cocktail, Rock n’ Chair
Cooler by a Mile is the saying on the Seven Mile Island, and this cocktail with both Bacardi Banana Rum and Bacardi Mango Rum, Triple Sec, fresh lime, Disaronno and orange juice has is as cool as it gets after a long day with your toes in the sand.
 
Sunset in Cape May Sushi Roll, The Whitebrier
The Whitebrier cranks out some of the most palatable sushi rolls down the Shore and we absolutely love this homage to one of summer’s favorite pastimes. Crunchy spicy tuna, avocado and crab are wrapped in soy paper and topped with more tuna and salmon. A finishing touch of a jalapeño sauce adds a welcomed fiery kick.
 
Pesto Manifesto Breakfast Sandwich, Isabel’s
We wish more places put the thought into their breakfast sandwiches the way Isabel’s does with this wonderful rise and dine option. Eggs and provolone are enhanced by a tantalizing pesto spread and served on a flaky croissant.
 
Sticky Buns, Mallon’s
Few things are as rewarding as a morning stroll over to Mallon’s for the chance to chomp down on these sticky buns that are jammed full of high-grade Korintje cinnamon, butter and coated in a secret sticky topping that makes each sinfully sweet bite one to remember.
 
The Wakeboard, 29th St. Deli
Two eggs cooked your way with sautéed spinach, fried onions, roasted red peppers, cheese and a dash of Hank’s Hot Sauce on your choice of bread. We can’t get think of a better way to start your day.
 
Risotto alla Scampi, La Vecchia Fontana
Driving through Avalon you could easily miss La Vecchia Fontana as it’s off the beaten path and tucked away on 7th Street. But this Italian restaurant is worth the visit for dishes like the Risotto alla Scampi—Italian Arborio rice sautéed with jumbo shrimp finished in a divine basil-rose cognac cream sauce.
 
Avalon Freezer, Avalon Freeze
It never feels quite like summer until we’ve had our first Avalon Freezer of the season. Your choice of ice cream or yogurt mixed with Oreo, Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&M’s or gummy bears. Our favorite combination is chocolate soft serve with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but you your only limitation is your own imagination.

What’s New in Avalon
Surfside Park on 30th Street adjacent to the boardwalk is currently under construction after Avalon received a $2 million grant to revamp the space. The park will feature a small performance stage, lawn, playground, rinsing stations, hanging stations and access to the boardwalk. Officials hope to have the space open this summer.
 
New seafood market Capt’n Chucky’s Crab Cake Company has opened at 3011 Dune Drive.
 
The town has introduced a new boating concept, “boating without owning” at the Carefree Boat Club. Interested parties can become a member at the club located on 900 Ocean Drive.
 
Louella: Women’s Boutique, which has locations along the Main Line, opens a new location in at 2819 Dune Drive.
 
Atilis Gym on Dune Drive has closed and been replaced by Avalon Fitness.
 
Lululemon, which started as a pop up seasonal store a few years ago, is now open year round and expanded into Surfside Fitness’s old space next door. Surfside Fitness moved across the street to 2109 Dune Drive and reopened at the end of May.

Cape May
Fins Pie, Fins Bar & Grille
Pizza has long been a tradition on the Boardwalk, and of course seafood reigns supreme at the Shore, so why not combine them? Fins offers five varieties of flatbreads that all hit the spot, but we usually go for the bar’s namesake dish, which includes jumbo lump crab meat, three different cheeses, arugula and avocado lemon thyme aioli on a thin crust and is perfect to share during a lively happy hour.
 
Pineapple-Jalapeno Margarita, The Ebbitt Room
The Ebbitt Room’s romantic setting and farm-to-table dining philosophy have made it a go-to destination for date night in Cape May. A great way to start the evening is by listening to live piano music at the bar and selecting a drink from their extensive specialty cocktail menu. This offering takes a refreshing margarita and adds some heat, as it is made with Avion Silver tequila, pineapple puree, lime juice and jalapeno.
 
Seafood Fra Diavolo, Godmother’s
Standing since the days of Prohibition, this building has been everything from a doctor’s office to an ice cream parlor until Godmother’s was founded in 1983. All of the traditional Italian favorites can be found on the menu, including this standout filled with locally caught shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams in a spicy red sauce.
 
Saltwater Scrambler, Saltwater Café
When a gorgeous summer morning calls for more than just a plain, traditional breakfast, head to the Saltwater Café for creative takes on the most important meal of the day. The Saltwater Scrambler mixes scrambled eggs with red peppers, onions, roasted corn salsa and a savory poblano sauce in a flour tortilla. The only downside is, their picturesque views of the marina may make you late for the beach.
 
Blueberry Pancakes, Mad Batter
Lines form early for one of the best breakfast restaurants in Cape May, but the wait is worth it. There is something on the menu to make everyone in the family happy, including vegan options, but we can’t resist a stack of their award-winning pancakes with fresh blueberries.
 
Pan Roasted Local Day Boat Scallops, Peter Shields Inn and Restaurant
Executive chef Carl Messick is not only committed to having the freshest, locally caught fish on his menu, but he is also an avid angler himself, so you can bet the Peter Shields Inn and Restaurant takes their seafood seriously. Since Cape May is famous for scallops, we’re partial to this dish with beluga lentils, kale, pancetta and lemongrass aioli.
 
Watermelon Sangria, The Boiler Room
When happy hour is over and the sun has gone down, head to the basement at Congress Hall for live music, brick-oven pizza and the “speakeasy” vibe of The Boiler Room. We love watermelon—who doesn’t in the summer?—so we opt for this specialty cocktail that fuses the fruit with Pink Flamingo rosé, blackberry brandy, lime and mint.
 
Alla Antonia, Panico’s Bistro
Panico’s is located in an old church in West Cape May, and we think their brick-oven pizzas are worthy of being worshipped. Unique toppings on their specialty pies include everything from warm strawberries to broccoli rabe, and the Alla Antonia features prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella and arugula.
 
Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream, Uncle Charley’s
Kids may often complain about having to visit relatives, but they always welcome a trip to Uncle Charley’s. Situated inside the bustling Washington Street Mall, this parlor encourages customers to sample their wide range of homemade options, including the combination of sweet and savory flavors in the Salted Caramel Pretzel.
 
Blackened Prime Rib, 410 Bank Street Restaurant
Take a side trip to Key West or New Orleans without leaving Cape May by visiting this Victorian house draped in lush foliage. Many of the menu items have Cajun influences, including the Blackened Prime Rib, which is applewood smoked on the bone and covered in the restaurant’s signature sauce.
 
Fried Grouper Sandwich, Harpoons on the Bay
With live music and a casual beach setting that is even dog-friendly, we love to watch the sun set over the bay while enjoying food and drinks at Harpoons. The Fried Grouper Sandwich briefly went missing from the menu before returning last summer, and comes with lettuce and tomato on a snowflake roll. We recommend a stack of their famous onion rings as a side—you won’t be disappointed.
 
Mexi Dog, Hot Dog Tommy’s
The mantra at Hot Dog Tommy’s is, “Relish Today, Ketchup Tomorrow”—but they load their dogs with much more than the traditional toppings, from cole slaw and macaroni and cheese to mashed potatoes. The Mexi Dog takes an all-beef black angus wiener and slathers it with salsa, cheddar cheese and onions, combining favorites from the USA and our neighbors to the south.
 
Farm Burger, The Blue Pig Tavern
The Blue Pig, as befitting a restaurant located in Congress Hall, has an interesting backstory, as the name comes from a former gambling parlor at the site in the 1800s, and before that the space was a tavern for whalers. Today they are known for a New American menu that utilizes a connection with nearby Beach Plum Farm, which supplies the restaurant with fresh produce as well as the ham that comes on this eight-ounce fresh ground chuck burger, along with simmered onions and maître d’ butter.

What’s New in Cape May

Congress Hall has renovated the Brown Room to feature a 1950s-inspired design.
 
The Virginia Hotel, celebrating its 30th anniversary, has renovated its lobby and living room.

Long Beach Island
World’s Best Jelly Donut, Ferrara’s Italian Bakery
This Ship Bottom scratch bakery claims to serve up “the best jelly donut on the planet,” and you won’t find any argument here. Each pillow-like treat contains a veritable gusher of black raspberry filling—satisfying without overdoing the sweetness.
 
The Porkolator Omelet, The Chicken or the Egg
Head to Beach Haven’s can’t-miss breakfast spot for this three-egg omelet filled with just about every breakfast meat you can imagine—namely, bacon, ham, pork roll and sausage. Add in a generous ration of cheddar and it’s just about perfect.
 
Barrel Aged Manhattan, Daymark Bar & Restaurant
Belly up to the gorgeous bar of this Barnegat Light hotspot and ask the barkeep to dole out Daymark’s take on a classic cocktail: an amalgam of Buffalo Trace Kentucky bourbon, Cinzano sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters, aged in oak for weeks until fit for pouring.
 
Caribbean Coconut Shrimp, Pinky Shrimp’s Seafood Co.
Make a beeline for Beach Haven Crest for an order of these crispy, crusty, almost heavenly crustaceans. A coconut coating gives each shrimp a slightly sweet flavor, made even better by a shallow bath in Pinky’s “secret” dipping sauce. Consider us big fans.
 
House Jambalaya, Black Whale Bar and Fish House
This Beach Haven gem serves up some of the best seafood on LBI, including a terrific jambalaya that’s reminiscent of the Big Easy’s finest. Each serving includes a medley of so-called “fruits of the sea”—clams, scallops and mussels, for example, plus a lobster tail to boot—with sausage medallions in a creole-style red sauce, served on a bed of “dirty” rice and beans.
 
Lobster Ravioli, Beach Haven Fishery
Pasta and seafood make excellent bedfellows, especially at this local institution. Tuck into each delicate pouch of lobster and ricotta, poached in a tasty pink sauce and served with the succulent meat plucked from a pair of shelled lobsters. This dish easily ranks among the island’s best.
 
Viking Village Scallops, The Gables
Dining is an occasion at this historic Victorian inn, with a menu sure to please even the most discerning foodie. When in season, the seared scallops, served with foie gras, butternut squash, and shiitake risotto, are difficult to turn down. 
 
Fried “Epic!” Pickles, Tuckers Tavern
There’s nothing quite like a fried pickle. At Tuckers, the stack of panko-fried pickle spears comes drizzled with spicy mayo and sprinkled with the confetti of chopped green onion. It’s an ideal combination of salty and sweet, crispy and smooth, as close to a perfect starter as they come.
 
Conch Fritters, Biggy’s Beach Grill
North Beach Haven is a long way from the azure shores of the Caribbean, but Biggy’s makes the distance seem not quite as great. Married with a lovely piña colada sauce, the mild and sweet Bahamian-style conch fritters offer an authentic taste of island life you’ll want to recreate.
 
Risotto Del Mar, Stefano’s Restaurant
Risotto is something of an art form at Stefano’s, particularly when it comes to this stunning dish. The trio of lobster, crabmeat and shrimp makes the risotto shine, helped by a veritable garden’s worth of veggies and Romano shavings sprinkled in for very good measure.
 
Drunken Flyer, Barry’s Do Me a Flavor
When lunchtime approaches, trade in the sun and sand for a seat at this Beach Haven institution. Classic favorites abound, including this dish, which constitutes beer-battered cod and Swiss on grilled rye, with coleslaw and a generous slathering of Thousand Island.  
 
The Surf Special, Surf City Pizza
Pizza shops are a dime a dozen in any shore town. LBI has its share, too, each with its own lineup of signature pies. Surf City’s roster of specials includes this gourmet pie, which is heaped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and plenty of cheese.
 
Scooper Jack Sundae, Skipper Dipper
Looking for a place to cool down in Beach Haven? Stop into Skipper Dipper for this specialty sundae, which bears scoops of salted caramel ice cream, topped with kernels of Cracker Jack, peanuts and hot fudge, as well as a liberal froth of whipped cream.
 
Bananas Foster French Toast, Scojo’s Eatery
This Surf City destination has mastered the griddle, featuring a menu stuffed with pancakes and waffles galore. To make this particular specialty, Scojo’s tops Texas-style French Toast with caramelized bananas and butter-rum sauce, completed with a caramel drizzle. One caveat: You won’t find this dish on the daily menu, so keep your eyes peeled.

Dealer’s Choice, The WooHoo
There’s little room for convention at The WooHoo in Beach Haven. The rotating lineup of housemade flavors range from the highly inventive (avocado pistachio or lavender honey blackberry) to the downright mysterious (jalapeño popper or clam chowder). If cones aren’t your thing, The WooHoo’s roster of shakes, sundaes and ice cream cookie sandwich bars checks all of the important boxes.

What’s New in Long Beach Island
Hotel LBI
 made its debut in May, with rooftop access, a seafood restaurant and four different bars.
 
Buckalew’s sister restaurant Station 117 will offer coastal style cuisine in Beach Haven this season.
 
Jen’s Links is LBI’s newest 36-hole miniature golf course, sitting on the water steps away from the Barnegat Lighthouse.
 
Surf City now allows outdoor dining; be sure to check out if your favorite old digs has some new outdoor seating.
 
How You Brewin is renovating and improvements will include a new performance space, live views of their cold brewing process and the Surf City merchant will be home to LBI’s first mocktail bar.
 
LexMex fans rejoice; while the closing of the Ship Bottom location left a taco sized hole in the shore town, the opening of the Surf City location is set to fill stomachs once again and this time with more seating.

Margate/Ventnor 
Peanut Butter Bonanza Sundae, Two Cents Plain
This Margate mainstay is making every peanut butter lover’s dream come true with this sinfully sweet combination of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream topped with both hot fudge and a peanut butter sauce before the finishing touch of added peanut butter cups.
 
Egg Sandwich, Enlightened Café
Think of this morning go-to as a more sophisticated version of your favorite breakfast sandwich, made with a fried egg, homemade sage sausage and grass-fed cheddar cheese. And the café donates 100 percent of its profits to helping the recovery community when they need it most, so dining here fills your stomach and your heart.
 
Veal Parmigina, Domenico’s
The first time we tasted the delectable veal parm at Domenico’s, we fell in love. How could you not? A bone-in veal chop is pounded thin, breaded and cooked to perfection (we can taste the crispy exterior as we type this) and then covered in a rich marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil.
 
Caribbean Roll, Yama Japanese Restaurant
Sitting at the sushi bar and watching the skillful chefs prepare endless works of wonder is quite the show, but no visit is complete without an order of this specialty roll that invokes the islands. Shrimp tempura is topped with fried bananas, a tropical mango sauce and pine nuts for added texture.
 
Braciole, Red Room Café
We can’t get enough of the medley of flavors created when paper thin tenderloin is stuffed with smoked mozzarella and salty prosciutto. The finished product is lightly seared to lock in taste and then soaks in a vibrant tomato sauce which only further enhances each forkful.
 
Seafood Plaki, Sofia
Steeped in tradition, every bite of this dish makes it feel as if you’ve been whisked away to the heart of Milos. A dream team of ingredients the likes of which include jumbo shrimp, sea bass, tomatoes, kalamata olives, potatoes and feta cheese are baked in a terracotta pot with a hit of ouzo for a truly authentic Greek experience.
 
Roasted Tomato and Cheese Pie, No. 7311
Copious amounts of roasted tomatoes and onions are placed in a shell and topped with a mixture of fontina, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses along with a little sour cream and mayo. The result is a gooey, slightly charred top layer with the buttery soft veggies underneath making this savory pie one to remember.
 
Patron Perfect Margarita, Steve and Cookie’s
A signature cocktail if ever there was one, this cocktail is made with a Patron Barrel Select Reposado made especially for the restaurant. It’s blended with Patron Citronage Orange, fresh lime and orange juice for a citrusy libation that pairs well with a plate of oysters and good company.
 
Kevin’s Hot and Sweet, Hannah G’s
This buzzed-about breakfast and lunch destination pays homage to one of its owners with this eponymous sandwich made with grilled chicken, sautéed spinach, melted cheese, hot peppers and honey mustard stuffed inside a crusty Kaiser roll.
 
Dry Rubbed Wings, Bocca Coal Fired Bistro
These meaty, coal-fired chicken wings are expertly seasoned thanks to a unique blend of spices used to create Bocca’s signature dry rub. Silky caramelized onions and roasted long hots provide both sweet and heat, taking these wings from ordinary to extraordinary.
 
Blew Out My Flip Flop, Ventura’s Greenhouse
Known for its array of adult beverages, this mixed drink is certainly one of the standouts found at this multi-faceted bar and restaurant. Spiced rum, blue curacao, crème de banana, a hit of pineapple juice, sour mix and ginger ale are what makes up this absolutely crushable cocktail, just be sure and pace yourself out there.
 
Gnocchi, Saltwater
Noticeably sizable, the gnocchi are Saltwater’s calling card and it’s easy to see why. These pillowy pockets of perfection are served a variety of ways, and while we’ve not had a bad one in the bunch—including their toasted version with the soft ricotta center—we are partial to the Sicilian with diced eggplant, capers, Sicilian olives and hot peppers.
 
Stuffed Dates, Stella
You’ll find few appetizers as addictive as this delightful opening number. Warmed medjool dates are stuffed with creamy goat cheese and topped with toasted almonds and smoked bacon for a quick bite bursting at the seams with flavor and finesse.

What’s New in Margate 
The iconic Lucy the Elephant landmark will now also be home to Cousin Lucy, offering beachfront food and takeout.
 
Shore Cans is a new cleaning service available in town that sanitizes and deodorizes trash and recycle bins.
 
New businesses in town include Orange Cryo Wellness as well as clothing and accessory store Christina’s Boutique.
 
Digital retailer goPuff, which delivers snacks, drinks and more, is now serving Margate.

What’s New in Ventnor

Construction plans are visible throughout Ventnor as plans are underway to repair the deteriorating firehouse. Additionally, the Ventnor North Beach Business District received an $800,000 grant for street and sidewalk improvements.
 
Famed Philadelphia pizza shop and restaurant Santucci’s will be opening a location in town complete with a 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck.
 
Ventnor homeowners who use home-sharing sites like Airbnb to rent their properties for less than 30 days, must now apply for a mercantile license and pay a $100 annual fee.
 
Atlantic City’s Seafood Festival is moving after seven years. Its new home will now be Ski Beach and it will be rebranded the “Downbeach Seafood Festival” and will take place on Sept. 7 (down to one day from the previous two). The festival will run from 11 a.m. til 6 pm
 
The speed limit in Atlantic Avenue has been lowered from 35 to 25 mph.

Ocean City

The Salty Dog, Nauti Donuts
There’s no shortage of ways to wake up your taste buds in the morning down the Shore and this doughnut keeps ours entertained with a salty-sweet crossover. The fluffy fried dough is coated in maple icing, topped with chopped pork roll and drizzled with caramel for a sticky and savory start to our day.
 
Iced Hot Chocolate, Ocean City Coffee Co.
Caffeine lovers may flock here for their morning brew but there are plenty of reasons to come back later in the day. We’re partial to this frozen concoction, giving the quintessential snow-day beverage a beach-friendly makeover when blended with ice and topped with whipped cream. It’s the perfect chocolatey treat to cool off grown-ups, kids and even a certain lovable snowman (in summer).
 
Sweet Corn Crab Soup, OC Eatery
After sitting in traffic on the bridge, food is the first thing on our mind, so we follow 9th Street right to OC Eatery, dishing up some of the city’s freshest ingredients, including this gluten- and dairy-free chowder soup with chunks of crab and sweet corn kernels. With full bellies, our next stop is a nap in the sand. 
 
Venetian Pie, Piccini Wood Fired Brick Oven Pizza
Everyone in Ocean City knows Piccini, whether from word of mouth or maybe they saw it on Food Network’s Diners, Drives-ins and Dives. And although it’s under new ownership, Piccini’s quality menu won’t be changing, which is good news to us, because the Venetian pie, brushed with olive oil, covered with mozzarella, provolone and feta cheeses, before being topped with artichokes, roasted red peppers and fresh basil is our go-to.
 
Fresh Peach Sundae, Kessel’s Korner
The nostalgia runs deep at this cozy neighborhood establishment which has been serving families under its striped awnings for generations. Walk up for window service and order any of their mouthwatering desserts, but if it’s in season, you won’t want to miss this sundae with fresh-cut peaches over vanilla ice cream with a big ole’ helping of whipped cream. It’s the cherry on top of a perfect Shore day.
 
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, Sandwich Bar
Likely the only “bar” in Ocean City, this spot has people ponying up for from-scratch sandwiches that always hit the spot. From classic cutlets and cheesesteaks to hand-cut fries, you can taste the care that went into every bite, but perhaps nowhere more so than the pulled pork sandwich—with meat slow roasted for 10 hours, homemade barbecue sauce and coleslaw piled perfectly on a roll. If only we could make it a double.
 
Lobster Benedict, Dockside Kitchen
With only one summer season under its belt, this bayside restaurant is already making a name for itself with gourmet dishes served alongside some dynamic views. Here, breakfast staples get an upgrade, like the lobster Benedict with bacon, butter, braised tomato, poached eggs and chive hollandaise served with home fries. Paired with a virgin bloody Mary (it is Ocean City), this meal has “I’m on vacation” written all over it.
 
Wildflowers Pitaya Bowl, Bungalow Bowls
Winner of the “too pretty to eat” award (OK it’s not a real award), this bowl is primed for your next Insta-story. Granola, fresh-sliced kiwi and mango, blackberries, coconut flakes, edible flowers and a honey drizzle sit atop pitaya—more commonly called dragon fruit—which is high in fiber and rich in antioxidants, helping to balance out all those other Shore indulgences.
 
Pickles & Ranch French Fries, Steve’s Grilled Cheese & Quesadilla Company
We love this place for a few reasons, but especially because its menu can satisfy everyone in the family, from a picky 4-year-old to, well, a picky 36-year-old. While perusing the menu, throw in an order for the table of this basket of hand-cut fries with slices of fried pickles and ranch dressing for a crunchy, salty bite. Now who’s picky?
 
Apple Pancakes, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
Uncle Bill’s is a tradition all along the Jersey Shore and that first summertime visit is like seeing family we’ve missed all year, but no matter how many times we go, it’s never gotten easier to choose from the menu. Allow us to recommend these (giant) pancakes with warm apples folded inside with butter and cinnamon to top them off. Comfort food doesn’t get better than this.
 
Helena’s Beet Salad, Arlene’s on Asbury
When we need a break from the beach, the shops on Asbury are the perfect place to spend a few hours—or it’s just an excuse to go to Arlene’s, where the staff couldn’t be friendlier. We’re partial to the outdoor seating—if we can get it—and this salad, with grilled chicken, crumbled blue cheese, craisins, house-roasted roasted beets, walnuts, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
 
Spanish Frittata, Augie’s Omelette, Waffle House & Grill
From the outside, Augie’s may look unassuming, tucked into the Coral Sands Motel, but locals know it well. Just steps from the Boardwalk on 9th Street, Augie’s knows how to handle eggs—after all there are more than 40 omelets on the menu, including the Spanish frittata with ham, onions, peppers, salsa and Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, so we can try something different every time we stop in.
 
Breakfast Toast, Positively 4th Street Café
This eclectic café was serving creative toasts before millennials made it cool. Forget the jelly, and open your mind to chili-honey butter, hummus and yes, avocado gracing the surface of these crispy breads. A favorite is the cream cheese toast with fig spread, green apple slices and chia seeds, which is easy to enjoy while admiring the talented artwork adorning the walls.
 
Peanut Butter Cup Fudge, Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy & Fudge
Fudge can stir up intense debate among the oldest of friends, but on this we agree: When we see free samples on the Boardwalk, we will cut plenty of people off to grab a taste. Shriver’s always impresses with their out-of-bounds combinations, like this variety with whole mini Reese’s peanut butter cups set into the creamy fudge. Consider this an olive branch.

What’s New in Ocean City
Famed Philadelphia pizzeria and Italian restaurant Santucci’s will open a storefront at 944 Boardwalk next to Curly’s Fries.
 
Downtown Gillian’s opens a new location on Asbury Avenue. The new spot will allow guest to purchase discounted ride tickets or holiday gift certificates as well as T-shirts, hats and other items.
 
Bungalow Bowls has expanded beyond Asbury Avenue, opening a second location on the Boardwalk.
 
The only gas station on the north end of the city on Ninth Street and West Avenue closed last December, but the property was leased and has reopened.

Sea Isle City

The Hank Burger, Hank Sauce
You may know this place for their various iterations of hot sauce, but they also know how to cook up the right food to pair with it. This angus patty gets the royal treatment with sautéed shallots, applewood smoked bacon and a little heat from habañero jack cheese. It’s then polished off with some of their liquid gold along with fresh arugula and tomatoes.
 
Lobster Roll, Quincy’s
For us, there’s only one way to order a lobster roll at Quincy’s, and that’s to make it a “jumbo.” A split-top, butter-toasted roll overflows with huge chunks of Maine lobster that is well seasoned and lightly dressed—the key to any respectable lobster roll—with mayo and lemon butter.
 
Taglioni Nericon Gamberi, Andrea Trattoria Italiana II
This decadent entrée starts with homemade linguine that is dark as the night sky thanks to the infusion of a little squid ink, which both adds color and flavor to the noodles. The pasta is then served with succulent shrimp, hot sausage and diced tomatoes for an Italian dish that hits on all cylinders.
 
Chicken BLT, Steak Out
Tender grilled chicken is a worthy counterpart to the salty bacon and gives your everyday BLT a little more oomph, not to mention the long roll the sandwich is served on gives it a whole new look too. This one should be in your rotation all summer long.
 
French Fries, Nickelby’s
No trip to Nickelby’s is complete without an order of fries. Whether a loaded order with cheese sauce, chopped bacon and green onions or the version topped with pulled short rib and gravy, this place knows their spuds.
 
Fire Roasted Mussels, Mike’s Seafood
Mike’s is an institution and fewer things signify summer more to us than spending an early evening perched on the dock with a heaping portion of these meaty mollusks on the table. The aroma coming off these mussels as they swim in a roasted red pepper sauce with garlic is intoxicating and sets the stage as you pry open each shell to reveal the prize inside.
 
Sopressata Sharp, Giovanni’s Deli
This Italian deli brings the best of the Old World to the Jersey Shore. With an impressive lineup of specialty sandwiches, there’s no wrong way to go here. But our absolute favorite is this mix of gorgeously marbled sopressata shaved credit card thin and capped off with crumbles of fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers.
 
Y2K Chicken, McGowan’s Market
It’s been almost 20 years since Y2K, but we’ll always enjoy taking a journey back in time if it means we can feast on this imaginative sandwich. A familiar combination of grilled chicken, bacon and cheddar cheese is amplified with Russian dressing, lettuce, tomato and the slight bitterness of raw onion.
 
Bloody Mary, Kix McNutley’s
Perhaps you hung around this boisterous bar too late the night before catching the E Street Shuffle crank out your favorite Springsteen tunes and you need a pick-me-up. Well, look no further than the scene of the crime where you’ll find the finest bloody Mary’s poured into mason jars with seasoned rims and packed with all the necessary nutrients.

Kentucky Lemonade, Ocean Drive
The smooth notes of Elijah Craig Bourbon mixed with ginger ale and lemonade make this cocktail positively refreshing after a long day spent soaking up the sun. No shower happy hour, anyone?
 
The KG Steak, Braca Café
This isn’t your ordinary steak sandwich. Grilled spinalis—the ribeye cap, coveted for its intense umami flavor—is piled high with mushrooms and onion confit and melted provolone on a brioche bun with micro greens.
 
Pink Parrot, Henri’s Bar
Henri’s is well-known for its “302” (they even have a non-frozen version this year), but we also enjoy quenching our thirst with this frosty delight made with Pueblo Viejo Tequila and a tart guava blend.
 
Cinnabowl, Marita’s Homemade Ice Cream
This concoction of cinnamon roll bites glazed with even more cinnamon and drizzled with cream cheese frosting could be considered enough of a guilty pleasure, but it’s only right to add a scoop or two of Marita’s delightfully delicious ice cream for good measure.
 
Seven Mile Island Acai Bowl, The Juice Pod
Acai bowls are the talk of the town these days, and with how refreshing and delicious they are, we see why. An acai smoothie base with coconut milk and apple juice is topped with banana, mango, pineapple, flaxseed, with coconut flakes, strawberry and granola.
 
What’s New in Sea Isle City
Construction continues on the Townsen’s Inlet Bridge, and is slated for completion by late summer.
 
An updated beachfront playground on 85th Street includes new equipment and an upgraded gazebo.
 
Beachwood at The Dunes, a new dining concept by Chef Lucas Manteca (of The Red Store in Cape May), will replace Doc Macgrogan’s Oyster House on the south end of the island.
 
Ron Pablo’s Fresh Tex-Mex Kitchen is another new dining option.
 
Long synthetic beach mats that will stretch along the sand of every beach entrance are being installed.
This year is the 100th Anniversary of SIC Beach Patrol and the town is celebrating in grand style, complete with a parade, honoring ceremony and an open house look behind the scenes of the of the patrol’s headquarters. 

Stone Harbor
Chicken Normandy, Kitchen 330
Chef Gus Zimmerman opened this farm-to-table BYOB last year and it has already made a name for itself. With dishes like this gracing the menu, we see why. Chicken is cooked two ways, including a confit leg and thigh, with a warm Yukon potato salad and cool cucumber dill salad for a nice balance. A lemon-pineapple jam on top is the icing on the cake to this already delicious dish.
 
Spaghetti with Crabmeat, Ristorante Luciano
There’s no frills at this Italian favorite for Stone Harbor residents and vacationers alike. Just simple dishes, large portions and homemade pasta that’s better than what your grandmother makes. We can’t get enough of the spaghetti with jumbo lump crabmeat, tomato and peperoncino that give the dish a spicy kick.
 
Buckets’ Pail Punch, Buckets Margarita Bar & Cantina
Bucket’s Pail Punch is tropical paradise in a drink, with three different kinds of Cruzan rum—coconut, banana and mango—cranberry juice, orange juice, grenadine and bitters.
 
Summer Vegetable Flatbread, Water Star Grille
Flatbreads are great for sharing, but this one you’ll want all to yourself. Summer vegetables like crisp asparagus, grilled squash and tomatoes are on top of melted asiago cheese with a creamy cauliflower purée and a perfectly thin crust to round out this well-balanced dish.
 
Seafood Combo, Borghi’s By the Bay
What’s better than the Atlantic Ocean on a plate? Not much for us, especially when it’s shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and crabmeat. Add capellini pasta in a fresh herb seafood broth (served red or white) and a view of the sunset over the bay and you’ve got yourself the idyllic summer night.
 
General Tso’s Chicken Pizza, Seven Mile Pies
The combination of Chinese takeout and pizza may seem unusual—it is—but Seven Mile Pies is known for delivering creative pies, so we weren’t exactly surprised to see this pop up on the menu. What we were surprised about was how we loved it more after each bite. Somehow, the combination of chicken, broccoli, General Tso sauce, mozzarella cheese, red onions and sesame seeds works quite well together.
 
Electric Mermaid, Playa Bowls
If you haven’t jumped on the smoothie bowl train yet, now is the time, and a good way to start is with the Electric Mermaid. A pitaya smoothie base is topped with granola, kiwi, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes and honey. It’s refreshing, delicious and healthy, and tastes like summer in a bowl.

Penne Goat, Marabella’s
Marabella’s Family Restaurant has been a staple in Stone Harbor, serving traditional Italian cuisine for almost 40 years, and the Penne Goat dish is one of their more unique dishes that satisfy every one of our taste buds. Sautéed escarole is mixed in with penne, tangy goat cheese, tomatoes, garlic and oil.
 
Fig Sandwich, Yvette’s Café
This adorable French café has a slew of the freshest sandwiches and salads, but we always come back to this divine creation. Fresh figs, goat cheese, caramelized onions and arugula are sandwiched together between two slices of French bread to create a sophisticated sandwich that is anything but run of the mill.
 
Local Scallops, Jay’s on Third
Jay’s on Third takes full advantage of its proximity to fresh, local seafood by incorporating it up and down the menu. One of the most creative—and delectable—offerings we’ve had is this dish where perfectly executed scallops rest atop a bed of parmesan risotto with blood orange and fennel, while almonds add textural balance to go with cauliflower and a chive brown butter sauce.
 
The Loosh Omelet, Fishin’ Pier Grille South
Lox, onion, tomato, capers and cream cheese on a bagel are ingredients you may typically find on a bagel, but here they keep us on our toes by packing everything inside one of the more unique and strangely satisfying omelets you’ll find in town.
 
El Diablo, The Watering Hull
Let’s face it; the Shore is overridden with specialty cocktails that are anything but special. Fortunately, this libation is the complete opposite. Espolon Blanco tequila is mixed with fresh lime, blackberry and ginger beer to create the perfect summer drink. 
 
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream, Springer’s
A trip to Springer’s is a must each and every summer. With over 30 flavors it’s hard to play favorites, but we always come back to Strawberry Cheesecake. One bite of this concoction of luscious strawberries and cheesecake—including the buttery, graham crust—and you’ll understand why there’s a line down the street every night.
 
What’s New in Stone Harbor
Shorely Chic Boutqiue
 opens on 96th Street, offering a wide array of designers and fashionable aesthetics.
 
Salt Spa at The Reeds debuted across from The Reeds at Shelter Haven.
 
The Yacht Club of Stone Harbor’s renovations and improvements happened just in time for the club’s 90th anniversary this year.

Wildwood
Fudge, Douglass Fudge
It’s tough to miss this spot strolling on the Boardwalk, especially with sweet smells and free fudge samples just outside the front door. Offering savory classics from chocolate and vanilla to unique flavors such as chocolate marshmallow and the newest mint bark flavor, the candy makers will satisfy your sweet tooth with the freshly made creamiest fudge you’ll find in town.
 
Fish Tacos, Hooked Up Seafood
Taking the freshest seafood right from the local source, Hooked Up Seafood prepares fish with simple ingredients for a noticeably natural taste. Two homemade fish tacos contain cod hand battered to order placed over pineapple mango salsa and lime slaw and topped with chipotle aioli sauce, all wrapped inside a warm flour tortilla.
 
Seafood Fra Diablo, Boathouse Restaurant & Marina Deck
This go-to spot for vacationers and locals alike was built almost entirely over the bay, making a perfect view overlooking the water during the last few minutes at sunset. And what better way to enjoy a sunset than with an assortment of seafood on your plate. A variety of crab meat, wild shrimp, local clams, mussels and scallops is served over linguini pasta in a spicy plum tomato sauce.
 
Pizza, Mack’s Pizza
Being in operation for over 65 years, Mack’s Pizza has perfected their original take on Neapolitan pizza. Slices and pies are made fresh out of the oven and pair well with a Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. Some favorites among customers are plain, mushroom, pepperoni, garlic chicken and white broccoli pizza.
 
Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki Burger, Dogtooth Bar & Grill
This unique spot serves up hearty Asian, American and Mexican dishes. One of their standouts includes the Grilled Hawaiian Teriyaki burger, which sits below a grilled pineapple, thinly sliced Swiss cheese and a thick teriyaki glaze, giving the burger a kick of flavor.
 
Pan Seared Local Scallops, One Fish, Two Fish
One Fish, Two Fish serves the finest, local and seasonal ingredients for an exceptional take on the Jersey Shore classics. One of their special dishes consists of locally supplied scallops in a roasted lemon vinaigrette sauce laid over sweet corn risotto with asparagus.
 
Pama Martini, Piro’s Restaurant
Estabished in 1955, Piro’s offer more than award-winning seafood and beef entrées for guests—the addition of a cocktail completes the meal. Combining Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, citrus vodka, sour mix and a splash of cranberry juice, the Pama Martini is sure to leave a fruity, and refreshing, taste following the first sip.
 
Alumni Grill Signature Salad, Alumni Grill
If you’re looking for a healthy dish down the Shore, don’t pass up the opportunity to grab the signature salad from Alumni Grill. A grilled filet tip is laid on a bed of spinach and romaine lettuce mix with avocado, tomato, roasted red peppers, onions, crumbled blue cheese and side of homemade ranch dressing.
 
Spicy Pork Meatballs, The Establishment at 100
The open kitchen at The Establishment allows for guests to break away from traditional Boardwalk food and enjoy top quality food and beverages. The spicy pork meatballs are beautifully displayed overtop a combination of sharp provolone, gnocchi and bok choy with tomato jam smeared on the plate beneath.
 
Razzmatazz, Bungalow No. 7 Beach Bar              
Since we all love a good happy hour, there’s no better place than to kick up your feet with a cocktail in hand than at this oceanfront oasis. We suggest grabbing the Razzmatazz, a beautifully blended concoction of raspberry vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda.
 
Strawberry BBQ Salmon, Beach Creek Oyster Bar & Grill
Enjoy nightly entertainment in a tropical atmosphere while you nibble on the grilled wild Canadian salmon filet, which is glazed with a spicy orange infused strawberry barbecue sauce and served alongside sautéed zucchini and rosemary potatoes.
 
Wild Woody, Cool Scoops
Why go anywhere else for ice cream when this 1950s parlor provides over 30 flavors and combinations? One in particular, the Wild Woody packs a powerful flavor. Espresso chip and coffee ice cream is scooped into a waffle bowl and topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and, of course, a cherry on top.
 
Great White, Grab A Wiener
If you’re looking for a bite to eat on the boards, be sure to stop at this establishment which offers more than enough in one serving to satisfy your appetite. The Great White stacks a foot-long hot dog with relish, onion, tomato, cherry hot peppers, pickles and celery salt in a fresh bun.
 
Apple Cinnamon Swirl PancakesSamuel’s Pancake House
Every morning at the crack of dawn, Samuel’s prepares fresh pancake batter and makes their recipes from scratch. One of their many choices of pancakes includes Apple Cinnamon Swirl with apple cinnamon mixed within the batter and carried out into a swirl with carefully drizzled cream cheese icing on top for a delectable finish. 

What’s New in Wildwood
The Inaugural Seafood and Wine Festival is coming to Byrne Plaza in downtown Wildwood. Attendees can expect plenty of seafood vendors, food trucks, wine tastings and more at this all ages gathering on June 15 and 16.
 
New attractions in town include the Runaway Tram Coaster at Morey’s Surfside Pier. Also, Flying Hatchets debuts at 4004 Boardwalk, where patrons 16 years or older can try their hand and axe throwing.

Readers’ Choice
Amusement Rides
Morey’s Piers, Wildwood
 
Boardwalk
Ocean City
 
Beaches
Cape May
 
Destination Venue 
The Grand Hotel, Cape May
 
Miniature Golf 
Pirate Island Golf, multiple locations
 
Shopping District 
West End Garage, Cape May
 
Surf Shop 
Heritage Surf Shop, multiple locations
 
Breakfast 
Fishin’ Pier Grille, Avalon
 
BYOB 
Tisha’s Fine Dining, Cape May

Casual Dining 
Surfing Pig, North Wildwood
 
Fudge 
Fudge Kitchen, multiple locations

Ice Cream 
Margate Dairy Bar, Margate
 
Italian Restaurant
La Spiaggia, Ship Bottom
 
Outdoor Entertainment 
North End American Grill, North Wildwood
 
Pizza
Fratelli’s, Sea Isle City
 
Seafood 
Smitty’s Clam Bar, Somers Point
 
Splurge Restaurant 
Washington Inn, Cape May
 
Waterside Dining 
Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon, Beach Haven

To read the digital edition of South Jersey Magazine, click here.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 16, Issue 3 (June 2019).

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Author: Matt Cosentino, Bill Donahue, Liz Hunter, Lauren Kubiak, Peter Proko and Julie Shannon

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