2011 Shore Issue: Beach Eats

While you were hibernating, the Shore food scene was changing. Here's what you need to know

What is it with Italian men and their namesake restaurants? Luke Palladino, who used to be at the Borgata (and more recently received three LaBan bells for his Northfield BYO), has Luke Palladino’s at Harrah’s (also new Mex and burger spots there), while Chris Scarduzio of Table 31 and Mia is opening Scarduzio’s, a steakhouse, at Showboat. Look for high-end labels at the Borgata’s new wine boutique, Vintage, and pricey seafood-shack fare at Caesars’s Atlantic Grill. At Bally’s, the family behind Dock’s Oyster House will launch the 280-seat Harry’s Oyster Bar—named for the man who founded Dock’s in 1897—on June 27th. Just need a hoagie? Head to the Taj’s new White House outpost.

Luke Palladino’s. 777 Harrah’s Boulevard. 609-441-5575.
Scarduzio’s. 801 Boardwalk.
Vintage. 801 Boardwalk.
Atlantic Grill. 2100 Pacific Avenue. 800-223-7277.
Harry’s Oyster Bar. 1900 Pacific Avenue.
White House.
1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue. 609-449-1000.

We regret that Domenico’s lost its Blue Bell spot (sorry, Montco), but we sure are happy it’s still in Ventnor—though we have become addicted to Presto’s awe-inspiring gnocchi and that Jimmy’s Milan salad (sorry, Domenico’s). Hannah G’s lost its dinner location, but its cute kitty-corner luncheonette—an area fave—is staying put. And Johnny’s has moved from Ventnor to Margate, picking up 100 more (white leather) seats and a liquor license. But we’ll probably just sun on the Margate sand and call Mack & Manco’s in Somers Point for a beach-delivered pie.

Domenico’s. 5223 Ventnor Avenue, Ventnor City. 609-822-1300.
Presto at the Shore.
9307 Ventnor Avenue, Margate City. 609-823-1710.
Hannah G’s.
7310 Ventnor Avenue, Ventnor. 609-823-1466.
9407 Ventnor Avenue, Margate. 609-822-1789.
Mack & Manco’s.
758 Boardwalk, 920 Boardwalk, 12th and Boardwalk. Ocean City. 609-399-2548.

“America’s Greatest Family Resort” kicks off its two-for-one rendition of Restaurant Week on June 20th. But whatever you do, don’t try bringing a bottle of red to Cousin’s or Spadafora’s to enjoy with your pasta and seafood. No, in Ocean City it’s still illegal to tote a bottle of wine or a six-pack to dinner out, even though the restaurants themselves aren’t allowed to serve alcohol. The local restaurant association is trying to change the law via a petition and public referendum, but in the meantime, we’ll see you over the bridge at Charlie’s in Somers Point for those killer wings and cold beers.

Cousin’s. 104 Asbury Avenue. 609-399-9462.
843 Atlantic Avenue. 609-398-6154.
800 Shore Road. 609-927-FOOD.

Last year, residents were all aghast at the impending closure of Busch’s Seafood after 98 years. They kicked. They screamed. It was not unlike the Le Bec-Fin hysteria. Well, it seems the owners may have taken a page out of Georges Perrier’s book after all: Busch’s is not closing, so you can still get your fix of its famous she-crab soup. “We’re in it to win it,” says chef-owner Al Schettig, who promises to remain open for the “foreseeable future.” Also monumental: Braca’s is 110 years old this summer. Stop by and soak up the history with veteran bartender Patrick, even if he does serve your martini in one of those awful stainless-steel glasses.

Busch’s Seafood. 8700 Anna Phillips Lane. 609-263-8626.
Kennedy Boulevard and the Beach. 609-263-4271.

The Shore isn’t safe from farm-to-table mania, with Curtis Bashaw’s resorts expecting to source nearly all produce from his Beach Plum Farm by midsummer. Changes: Four Seasons alum Tony Clark has taken over the Old Grange, Mangia Mangia is now another Dock Mike’s Pancakes, and Nick Nezaj of Hotel Alcott is opening a new high-end hotel (Ocean Club) and restaurant (Sea Salt) on June 17th in the old Atlas Inn on Beach Drive. Before you hit the Parkway home, pick up a growler from the just-opened Cape May Brewery.

Old Grange.
735 Seashore Road. 609-898-2300.
Dock Mike’s Pancakes.
1231 New Jersey 109. 609-884-2855.
Sea Salt.
1035 Beach Avenue. 609-884-7000.
Cape May Brewery.
1288 Hornet Road. 610-308-2621.

Other than Frenchy Claude’s, with its new outdoor menu of moules et frites and foie gras sashimi(!), it’s all about Boardwalk food here. Tony Luke has opened a walk-up joint in the Crest. Chickie’s and Pete’s is hawking Crabfries near Morey’s, instigating a South Philly-style feud with neighboring Curley’s—a legend since 1974. And Morey’s itself features Hatfield Dollar Dog booths daily. Meanwhile, “Brisket & Brew” Thursdays at the Jersey Girl (which just launched breakfast) sure sound like fun.

Claude’s. 100 North New Jersey Avenue, North Wildwood. 609-522-0400.
Tony Luke’s.
6200 New Jersey Avenue, Wildwood Crest. 609-770-7033.
Chickie’s and Pete’s.
Cedar Avenue and Boardwalk, Wildwood. 609-770-8833.
25th Street and Boardwalk and Schellenger Avenue and Boardwalk, Wildwood.
Jersey Girl.
Schellenger and Atlantic Avenue, Wildwood. 609-523-1800.