by Sam Florio
No matter your age, young or old, whether you have eight Facebook friends or 1,000, your Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds are more than likely filled with pictures of food. New ideas, how-to videos, recipes of beautifully plated, complex dishes that make your mouth water even if you just finished a meal. If you are anything like us, these pictures of bright, swirly sauces and captions with fancy descriptions make you laugh and think to yourself, “I will never be able to make that.”
Enter Ocean City Restaurant Week, where participating restaurants offer menu specials all week long. From June 9 to June 16, you can try the fancy (or not so fancy) plates you’ve been dreaming of digging into. You can taste and try new things, or visit your favorite local haunts without breaking the bank. It’s easy to plan ahead, too. Visit www.eatinocnj.com to see which restaurants are participating and what menu specials they are offering.
The Ocean City Restaurant Association, made up of about 50 restaurants, created Restaurant Week for just this purpose – to make it easy and affordable for diners to try a new place, or a new dish at their favorite place. And just like the city of Ocean City, Restaurant Week is refreshing and unique. This isn’t just a week for dinner specials. Ice cream parlors, breakfast spots and fancy dinner places alike offer specials.
“Since Restaurant Week falls in early June, it appeals to locals and visitors alike,” said Bill McGinnity, owner of Cousin’s Restaurant.
Since the event falls before most kids are out of school, it allows for the perfect date night or weekend family adventure.
“With the option for two entrees for the price of one, you can step away from the chicken fingers and venture out into the land of chicken tortellini or pasta and clams,” said Bill.
Bill has been a chef for 39 years and is dedicated to only using ingredients without antibiotics or hormones, and everything is cooked from scratch.
“Cousin’s has a way of making you feel the family love with each dish,” said Bill.
Here you may leave full of amazing memories as well as delicious Italian food.
OC has so many cuisines that you can challenge yourself to try as many new ones as you can during Restaurant Week. This is a town where by the end of the night your belt buckle can easily feel a wee bit snug. Sometimes it seems that every Downtown street you walk down has an intoxicating smell of Mexican food, Caribbean cuisine, crab fries, homemade bagels, Greek cuisine, cupcakes, donuts, and even smoked meats and barbecue. One walk along the ocean on the Boardwalk allows you try every type of pizza you could dream of.
This year’s participants include 701 Mosaic, Blitz’s Market, Jon and Patty’s, Varsity Inn, Spadafora’s, Adelene, Positively Fourth Street, Starfish Cafe, Luigi’s, Mike’s Seafood, Sack O Subs, Island Grill, Chatterbox, Arlene’s, TJ’s Ice Cream, Augie’s Omelette and Waffl House, and Airport Diner, plus many others.
Make your way to the bay and you’ll find Frankie’s on the Bay where different concoctions for breakfast, lunch and dinner make your tastebuds sing. Frankie’s on the Bay has a five-star rating on Facebook that still doesn’t do it justice. The inside is decorated with old-school railroad pictures and a menu to match. Enjoy their classic eggs benedict or explore the crabby-eggs benedict with crab meat and feta cheese crumbles. For lunch split a pound of French-fries in crazy combinations with your family or friends. My belly is rumbling thinking of the hot tamale fries with jalapenos, cheddar cheese and sweet thai chili sauce!
Perhaps you’re the type to skip dinner and go straight for dessert? One of OC’s ice cream parlors, Johnny B Goode’s, is offering a restaurant week deal as well. “We offer two for one waffle sandwiches,” said owner Jane Davis. “Restaurant Week gives us a great opportunity to have customers try our waffles.”
The waffles sandwiches are two fresh, hot Belgian waffle wedges with your choice of any ice cream offered.
“We serve it on a plate and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. People eat it with a fork and knife because it’s so big,” said Jane.
Every family tradition or fond memory I have to look back on is filled with smells of baking cookies or going out to eat and digging into large plates of pasta. Twenty years ago, when I would vacation in Ocean City for our favorite week of the year, my entire family sat around a table at Cousin’s Restaurant to end the week. Now, I’m 25 years old, and telling YOU to make some of the Ocean City restaurants a part of the memories that you look back on.
Find your inner foodie from June 9-June 16 at Ocean City Restaurant Week.
For more information on Ocean City Restaurant Week, including a list of participating restaurants and the specials being offered, visit www.eatinocnj.com.