The beach is one of the best parts of Ocean City. You can watch the waves, the people, and the seagulls. But did you ever think about going to a restaurant that has the same views? There is a new restaurant that sits directly on the beach, providing ocean views with your toes in the sand while eating delicious Hawaiian-themed cuisine.
The Idell Family is no stranger to opening restaurants. Bob and Sharon Idell, along with their son Robert, own Sunrise Cafe, Drip N Scoop, Dead End Bakehouse, and Dockside Kitchen. This year they have added a fifth restaurant to the mix- Sand House Kitchen, located on 9 Beach Road.
Their newest concept boasts an array of colorful outside tables, chairs, and umbrellas in the sand along with rustic wooden booths on their covered porch overlooking the ocean.
Sand House Kitchen recently opened in the space formerly occupied by Northend Beach Grill. I spoke to co-owner Robert Idell over email about the name, COVID-19, and the atmosphere.
“We are firm believers in simpler is better, and we were sitting there trying to think of a name, there was sand all over the place from the building sitting and we were thinking how it is such a little house in respect to the lot size. So we figured, ‘Let’s just call it the Sand House Kitchen,’” said Robert on the name.
For Sand House, simple goes beyond the name.
“Our menu is simple, tropical and fun. We have some unique things on there. We were really going for a tiki / Hawaiian vibe with the brand, so we tried to introduce some tropical inspired dishes like pineapple toasted coconut french toast, and SPAM eggs benedict. We are all about trying to bring something unique to the area,” said Robert.
Their menu also includes breakfast dishes such as lobster avocado toast- lobster meat, avocado spread, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, onions, and EVOO piled onto sourdough toast- and crab cake benedict- crab cake, braised tomatoes, poached egg, and Béarnaise sauce. Some menu items for lunch include quesadillas; fish tacos- two tacos stuffed with Asian slaw, avocado, and cilantro lime aioli; and lobster rolls- buttered lobster meat, iceberg, and old bay aioli on a brioche long roll- for lunch.
“[My favorite dishes on the menu are] the pineapple coconut french toast for breakfast and the blackened mahi sandwich for lunch,” said Jillian Noon, Robert’s fiancé.
Their path to opening certainly wasn’t unique. Opening in 2020 has proven to be a daunting task for many businesses.
“It certainly was not the smartest thing to do. The funny story is, that we really put this whole thing together in under one month. Pretty remarkable if I do say so myself,” he said.
So far, it has been going well.
“Aside from the dredging that literally began three days after we launched our soft opening and COVID, things have been going pretty well. We are planning many exciting things for the future.”
So what fun and exciting things do they have planned?
“We do hope to have some private vendors offering surf lessons, yoga, and even some beach workout classes in the early morning. As I mentioned about the ordinance and the regulations with the neighborhood, we are working to make the property fun and inviting; we just want to make sure all parties are satisfied before we do anything,” Robert said.
If you are looking for a new place to try, Sand House Kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch only.
“There is a regulation / ordinance in the neighborhood with the city. The ordinance states that we can only be open to 6pm, which seems like such an odd time. However, we are hopeful that after the neighborhood sees how we only want to do good for the area, we will be able to get dinners running and open til 9pm. It would be an awesome dining experience for the city!” says Robert.