It’s Friday, the ocean is calling your name, it’s going to be absolutely beautiful both today and tomorrow. Leave work now. The Internet has spoken, and here’s all you’ll need to know about where and what to eat this weekend. Read more »
It’s not actually a law, but it seems no one gets out of Cape May without first visiting the Mad Batter. Located in the Carroll Villa Hotel, this is the spot for a relaxing (if ever so slightly fancy-pants) dinner. Go for the crabcakes, a textbook example of the proper assembly and preparation of this oft-ruined dish.
For a more Summer Rental sort of experience, there’s always the Lobster House. The long, low-slung restaurant side of the operation, with its big windows and red-checked tablecloths, is lovely — and hugely crowded on any nice summer day. But it’s the Schooner Bar aboard the old Schooner American sailing vessel that combines kitsch and alcohol in one successful formula.
One of the big reasons foodies head to the Shore is for crabs. If this is your motivation, hit up H&H Seafood. It’s hard to miss (it’s the place with the big sign that says LIVE CRABS) and serves big paper bags full of steamed crabs to eat on the beach (or wherever else you feel like eating them).
You already know you’ll be eating at the Diving Horse, so you might as well just make your reservations now. This has been the go-to dinner spot for a few years, and it deserves all the love it gets.
If you’re looking for something else, there’s Café Loren for the BYO enthusiasts (and people who really like that family-owned, Shore-town vibe), or the Princeton and Bobby Dee’s Rock ’N Chair for bar-crawlers (the latter being a degree more classy than the former).
Fish Alley is as seafood-and-beer-laden as it sounds — and will not disappoint.
First stop: Mike’s Seafood for crab legs, fries, crab legs and crab legs. Go early, because the line gets long, and grab a spot at one of the picnic tables overlooking the water. (See the “Family” section for more info on when kids eat free.) Marie’s Lobster House is a few doors down from Mike’s. While you lose a little of that classic crab-shack atmosphere, the food here is just as good, and all that neon in the front windows makes it easy to navigate.
Can’t seem to get off the beach? You don’t have to. Bubba Dogs is a mobile wienery parked right on the sand at 59th Street.
Why Strathmere? Because there are two notable places for eating and drinking. First, there’s Mildred’s, which is one of those little old restaurants that wear their weathering of Sandy on their sleeve like a badge. It’s absolutely beloved for the exceedingly friendly service, the family vibe and the solid (if predictable) Italian menu — you can’t go wrong with a bottle of white and a plate of linguine with clam sauce.
For something a bit … grittier, you have to go to Twisties Tavern. It’s the kind of joint where you drop in for one drink and then wake up 20 years later having become an every-night regular, with a table all your own and a couple shifts a week behind the bar. There are powerful cocktails, fish on the walls, patio seating that looks out over the bay, and a menu that’s more comprehensive than you might think.
Ocean City and Somers Point
If you’re in Ocean City, you’re most likely shuffling the fam between the sand and Boardwalk — so save your mornings for something all your own. The Varsity Inn is a classic small-town diner that operates under a perpetual siege by locals and tourists who come here for big, filling, cheap plates of eggs, pancakes and toast. The Fractured Prune is famous for its crazy, delicious handmade doughnuts, in flavors like chocolate-covered cherry and French toast.
As for those two other meals of the day? If you can get off the beach, hit either Smitty’s Clam Bar or Charlie’s Bar, both in Somers Point and both cash-only. You go to Charlie’s for the wings and cold beer — and for the 70-odd years of corner-bar history. Smitty’s is a super-casual BYOB and a favorite among locals for the simple clam-shack menu and the fact that you’re encouraged to drink while waiting for a table.
Ventnor and Margate
In Ventnor, classic tastes and newer ones compete for attention. For the latter, hit Megu Sushi for well-assembled modern Japanese cuisine in an unassuming (read: sandwiched between a liquor store and an Italian restaurant) setting. If you’re tempted by the former, there’s chicken-and-chops at Johnny’s and crabcakes from Bobby Chez (which, despite the commercialization, is still first-rate). Or class it up at Steve & Cookie’s — just make sure to save room for dessert.
A.C. is home to most of what passes for big-name dining at the Shore — we’re talking Buddakan, Luke Palladino’s steakhouse, Iron Chef Garces and others — but these show-stopping temples aren’t the only go-tos for gastronauts.
New and independent places like chef Kevin Cronin’s Iron Room at the Atlantic City Bottle Company and the Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House are for those looking to keep away from the slot monkeys. Vagabond isn’t fine dining (no place with a sandwich of brisket, pulled pork and peppered bacon called the Three Way is aspiring to that kind of cred), but it’s got easy bar food and the largest beer selection in the area.
Still, if you find yourself falling into the gravity of the casinos, there are some restaurants worth checking out. Palladino has places at both Revel (Luke’s Kitchen & Marketplace) and Harrah’s (the eponymous Luke Palladino), though his most beloved is probably the original Luke Palladino — a 60-seat trattoria in nearby Linwood. There’s Il Mulino at the Taj Mahal for super-upscale Italian, and the new Eastwind offering mainland Chinese at Resorts.
You’ll find a smorgasbord of named chefs at Revel (Marc Forgione, for one), but Jose Garces has made it into a mini-Philly with outposts of Village Whiskey, Amada and Distrito, plus the new-ish dim-sum-and-dumplings joint Yubōka.
There’s a burgeoning restaurant empire down the shore right now called Bread+Butter Restaurant Group. You may know of a few of their restaurants: Stone Harbor’s Quahog’s Seafood Shack, the attached Taco Shop and The Red Store in Cape May. What you might not have known, though, is that they now have their very own farm, Fincas del Mar (which Google translates to “marine farms”). Once full harvest has been reached at the farm, each restaurant location will purvey roughly 75% of their produce from the farm for their set seasonal menus, with the exception of exotic or non-local produce.
And besides the fact that Quahog’s has basically become a Stone Harbor staple, and their Taco Shop is such a perfect little addition to it, it’s The Red Store news that gets me all giddy.
Celebrate the magic of the sea at Cape May’s Harbor Fest. The all-day event will have all the things you’d expect out of a seafest: food, beer, music, games, craft vendors, demonstrations, and, of course, activities for the kids.
The festival will go down on June 14th, starting at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m., at the Nature Center of Cape May (1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ) and it will, for sure, have something for everyone.
There are farmers markets in the two Jersey counties close enough for us to care about. And here’s everything you need to know about them.
This is Patsy. No, she’s not real. Yes, she is a running character from an online skit called Ask Patsy! played by Jennifer Childs of 1812 Productions. And yes, this video is Foobooz-worthy. Everybody who likes Philadelphia accents, jokes about the Flyers, skeeball and South Philly block parties, and the Jersey Shore should watch this video immediately.
And more importantly, Patsy / Jennifer gives some pretty solid advice: DiBruno’s Cheese & Olive Happy Hour on Friday nights and Fried Chicken Dinners on Sunday nights (starting June 15th) at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May.
Cape May used to have a restaurant-bar called Martini Beach and its concept was perfect for right around the time Stephen Starr opened his first martini bar, Continental. As we all know, that was a long, long time ago. Alas, Martini Beach has closed, and in its place, M’Ocean, a fine-dining restaurant for Cape May’s bustling restaurant scene.
On Sunday, May 25th, rain or shine, Natali Vineyards, in the Goshen section of Middle Township (Cape May County), New Jersey, will be hosting a Memorial Day Celebration of Blues & BBQ from 2-7 p.m.
Enjoy live blues by The Herb Moore Trio while sampling their wines by the bottle or glass, or if you’re really feeling summery —sangria and wine slushies. You’ll get to play games of horseshoes, bocce ball and baggo and of course, local food vendors, and lots and lots of barbeque will be on hand to soak up all that you’ll be drinking. It’s free admission, and if you want to save some money, you can bring your own food.
Sitting on a vineyard, staining my teeth, while playing bocce ball and eating barbeque? That’s my kind of Memorial Day.
Natali Vineyards [Official]
Foobooz Down the Shore [Foobooz]
For those of you who spend your weekends in Cape May, and if you don’t already know, you’ll be happy to learn that the beloved beach town has got its own little Restaurant Week, and it’ll run from June 1st to June 8th.