What’s your favorite Ocean City food? Whether it’s a craving for something sweet like pink cotton candy (possibly the best kind) but also crunchy, a go to snack might be Johnson’s popcorn, scooped into the plastic container that you packed at the last minute, in a cold panic that you almost forgot the container for your favorite food of summer; a slice of Prep’s Pizza, eaten while dodging the seagulls, eye to the sky for the hawks to chase those seagulls away; or a Big Misteak from Del’s Grill, picked up from the counter because, well, current regulations. During summer and fall, there’s always an option to sit inside eating establishments and enjoy your food before going onto the next vacation adventure. Of course, this year things aren’t business as usual.
But it’s looking up. Outdoor dining is allowed with restrictions on June 15, when New Jersey transitions to Phase Two on their road to discovering a new normal.
Looking for omelettes and donuts? Bob’s Grill, 14th & the Boardwalk, plans on setting up outdoor seating along 14th Street and in their parking lots. They got the idea from looking at businesses across the US who have already been allowed to reopen.
According to a spokesperson from Bob’s Grill, “We took our guidance from other restaurants and other cities that have already had their openings [and] going from their experience and success of opening.”
Speaking of donuts, Browns has also added outside seating.
If you walk down a few steps from the take out window, you will be treated to outdoor dining at colorful picnic tables with umbrellas. Browns is located at 1st and Boardwalk.
If you’re craving something on the healthier side, add Arlene’s on Asbury, 6th and Asbury, to your list. They’ll be offering outdoor dining – something they are used to doing in past seasons. They are lucky; they have the space to do so. Arlene’s is mostly looking forward to seeing and being able to serve their customers. Other restaurants have made the outdoor space to serve their customers.
But for some Ocean City businesses, it’s not so easy.
“The city will not allow us to do it [outdoor dining]. It will have no effect on it; it will have no benefit for us,” says Tracey Moffitt, owner of Del’s Grill, 9th & the Boardwalk. She did note that the city permits her to put out a few tables and chairs for the Spring and Fall Block Party. Del’s Grill is currently offering curbside and Boardwalk pickup, keeping themselves and others safe by installing plexiglass shields and wearing masks.
701 Mosaic on 4th Street has similar issues.
According to owners Chef Herb Allwood and his wife, Pamela Womble, outdoor dining isn’t an option because their current setup doesn’t allow for social distancing.
“701 Mosaic has offered indoor and outdoor dining in the past but will not offer an outdoor option this season. Our outdoor garden is small and the anticipated social distancing requirements will force us to eliminate most of our seating,” said the owners in a conversation over Messenger.
Next time you’re planning on eating out, remember your favorite Ocean City staples are there, just as you left them during your last visit. Your orange-vanilla swirl Kohr Bros. custard is still available – just behind a plexiglass shield. You can still get your slice of pepperoni from Manco & Manco. Monkey Bread is still right where you left it. The taffy machines at Shriver’s are still making their taffy and the counters are filled with every variety of fudge you can think of. Sack O’ Subs will still bring your sandwiches and french fries to the beach.
The delicious food is still here; the people working behind the counters are the same with some new faces dotted in. The operating procedures may be different, but the music of the ocean waves, the swirls of color in puffy white evening clouds, the dolls going ‘round and ‘round in the Shriver’s window, and the aroma of pizza mixed with salt water mixed with gelato will still be there.
Listed below are restaurants in the Ocean City and surrounding areas that have outdoor dining. Because of the restrictions starting June 15, please call ahead to check availability.
Adelene at Port O Call
Arlene’s on Asbury
Augie’s Omelette House
Barefoot Market (limited)
Café Beach Club
Clancy’s by the Sea
Donny’s Family Kitchen
El Capitan Taco Shack
Emily’s Ocean Room
The Farmstand at 14th
Heart Beet Kitchen
Hobby Horse Ice Cream Parlor
Island Grill Ocean City
Johnny B Goode Ice Cream Parlor
Jon and Patty’s
OC Surf Cafe
Piccini Wood Fired Grill
Pork Island Grill
Positively Fourth Street
Ready’s Coffee Shop
Spadafora’s Restaurant & Clam Bar
TJ’s Ice Cream
Uncle Bill’s Pancake House
DiOrio’s Circle Cafe
Mama Mia’s Restaurant
*If you are or know of a restaurant that has outdoor dining and isn’t on this list, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.