This Somers Point mainstay’s been serving the community over 100 years
“I AM LUCKY to own this business, and I know it every day. It is not just a restaurant, but a piece of history,” said Donald Mahoney CEO, chef, and owner of Somers Point’s famous Anchorage Tavern. “This gig never gets old.”
Standing two stories tall at 823 Bay Avenue, the Tavern is known as Somers Point’s longest standing and consistently operated business.
The establishment itself dates back to 1874, where it functioned as a hotel, transitioned to a bar, and finally developed into the successful restaurant many know and love today.
With six owners throughout the past 130 years, the Mahoney Family was the last to buy the tavern (circa 2000), and the rest is history.
Today, the Anchorage features a large menu ranging from cocktails, seafood, burgers, and pastas to kid-friendly options as well.
Simply put; there is little-to-no-room for disappointment, and Donald has made sure of this.
“I grew up in Linwood, New Jersey, but was introduced to the world of cooking at around 12 years old,” said Donald. “My first job was at Daniel’s Restaurant in Somers Point, and I worked there until I was about 18. Fortunately, I always knew this was what I wanted to do professionally. So, when I completed my degree at The Culinary Institute of America, I knew I wanted to bring what I had learned back to the Jersey Shore.”
Moving to Hawaii for a little, and returning to Somers Point, Donald’s cooking is inspired by his early years, education, and influence from his most favorite Hawaiian dishes.
As each item on the menu is unique, Donald takes pride in specific recipes that not only represent his talents, but are highly popular with his patrons.
The Hawaiian grouper is a crowd pleaser, mainly because of the variety of flavor. The grouper is first baked with a traditional teriyaki sauce from a Japanese restaurant in Hawaii. Following the bake, the Anchorage’s famous crab dip is spread on top, and the fish is placed in the oven one last time. Served with spring greens and wasabi sauce, this dish is one of the establishment’s biggest sellers.
Seafood is a prominent part of the menu, and the buffalo crab cakes are always a hit.
Starting with the Anchorage’s homemade crab cakes, they are rolled in flour, placed in beer batter, fried until golden brown, and baked to doneness. Once out of the oven, the seafood is tossed in the Tavern’s original wing sauce, and positioned on top of a fried tomato. For finishing touches, gorgonzola cheese is drizzled on top for a pop of flavor.
The gorgonzola flounder is another specialty, as well as a favorite of famous Food Network chef Guy Fieri. The plate consists of flounder pinwheels stuffed with crab, broiled, placed onto of a fried tomato, and garnished with gorgonzola cheese.
More of an appetizer person? The Anchorage’s mozzarella sticks are a local legend thanks to their light and crispy batter. They are over a quarter pound of cheese and are served with a side of marinara. Perfect to share… or not.
Ultimately, having options for all diners to love and enjoy is one of Donald’s main goals.
“Our mission is to bring people a great product, at a reasonable price, and make sure they come back again,” said Donald. “We treat our customers well and will do whatever it takes to make their experience nothing less than amazing. The atmosphere we aim to create is relaxed, casual, and comfortable. This place is like taking a trip down memory lane, and we hope that in itself makes the Anchorage special.”
And special it is. The Anchorage is not only a historic landmark, but also a beloved hangout for locals and visitors alike for years and years.
The welcoming vibe you feel at the Anchorage is not an accident.
“Almost our entire staff have been employees for over 20 years,” said Donald. “They seem to have a real connection with this place. A big part of how we find more success each and every year is accredited to our efforts to never cut corners, and to always work at full speed to be the best we can for our patrons.”
Enjoy a meal at the Anchorage Tavern located at 823 Bay Avenue.
Somers Point, 609-926-1776, www.anchoragetavernrestaurant.com.
Photos by Katelin Keane.
Find this and more in the September/October OC Mag