2010 Jersey Shore Food Preview

ICE CREAM (NEWCOMER)    In its debut at 40th Street last summer, Aunt Betty’s Ice Cream (a spin-off of the famed Uncle Bill’s Pancake House chain) earned rookie-of-the-year honors in the Shore ice-cream wars. Why? An army of bustling college girls who keep even the longest hot-summer-night lines moving, and delicious, generously portioned servings that make up in creamy taste what they lack in imagination. (No wild flavors here.) Next!  21st Street and Asbury Avenue, and 40th Street and West Avenue; 609-398-4001.

CHEAP EATS  If the beach day gets rained out, if the kids’ whining lurches into overdrive, if the sunburn stings or the jellyfish do, a tidy burger, crinkly fries, and a ridiculously thick 22-ounce milkshake (made with Breyers ice cream) from Kessel’s Korner can make it all better. Much, much better. 2760 Asbury Avenue, 609-398-1170.

BEACH  The 50th Street Beach represents all that we love about the Jersey Shore: friendly folks (the vast majority of whom do not yak on their cell phones — yes, Margate people, we’re talking to you), lifeguards who aren’t whistle-crazy, -postcard-worthy toddlers discovering the wonders of waves, clean sand, and mercifully clockwork appearances at the entrance by the fudgie-wudgie guy. Colorful umbrellas, fat ladies in beach chairs submerging seaside, lopsided sand castles, horseshoes, bocce, paddleball, Wiffle Ball, volleyball: We just want to put it all in a snow globe and keep it on our desk to get us through the winter. Ocnj.us.

STRATHMERE

MEAT ’N’ POTATOES  Because if Marie Gledhill, Philly Mag receptionist for 22 years and Shore aficionado for more than that, says Mildred’s is her favorite spot for classic American steak and mashed with gravy — “They have good seafood, too” — we’re not gonna disagree. And neither are you.  901 Ocean Drive, 609-263-8209.

SEA ISLE CITY

OLD-TIME SHORE DINING  George Phillips’s grandfather opened Busch’s Seafood in 1912. And years ago, you would go to a sprawling place like Busch’s (or the late Zaberer’s, in North Wildwood), with its booths and patterned carpet and polished wood, to settle in for a “fancy dinner” by Shore standards. Today there are far fancier places than this basic seafoodery — but none that will take you back so effortlessly. Drink in the history — and make sure to order the she-crab soup. 8700 Landis Avenue, 609-263-8626, buschsseafood.com.

HOT DOGS  Joining in the nearly block-long queue for an all-beef frank from Bubba Dog’s beachside cart has become a Sea Isle tradition with near-religious significance. This summer, owner Tim McNamara debuts a second stand in Avalon. The new place is open until 2:30 a.m. and has a prime address across the street from the Princeton — and, therefore, our prediction for longer lines than ever. 59th Street and the beach, Sea Isle City, and 21st Street and Dune Drive, Avalon; ilovebubbadogs.com.

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  • C

    Wow, you were really off the mark w/ the recommendation on Prep’s pizza in Ocean City. Sampled Prep’s this weekend, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Mack & Manco’s!

  • Kristin

    I love seeing another pizzeria recognized in Ocean City, Mac and Manco’s is far from the only good pizza place on the boardwalk. Prep’s has been on the boardwalk since 1965 – they must be doing something right!