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Old School Burgers

Old School Burgers

Old School Burgers Ocean City NJ

Miracle near 34th Street: Second year burger joint is straight out of the 1980s

WHAT’S OLD is new again – at least that’s how it feels with Ocean City’s second year burger spot Old School Burgers, located at 3401 Asbury.
The name is a perfect reflection of owner Shawn McCarthy’s vision: a throwback to the 1980s. From the décor on the walls to the songs coming out of the speakers, the names of the sandwiches and fries, everything is an homage to the decade of decadence.
“You’ll see posters of The Breakfast Club, Rocky movies, different bands and music from that era. That’s our vibe,” Shawn said. “We have games from the ’80s. We’re very children and family focused.”
Those games include Rubik’s Cubes, Chutes and Ladders, Etch-a-Sketch – in other words, all the staple activities of life in the ’80s. All that’s missing are arcade style games such as Ms. Pacman or the claw machine with stuffed animals – which Shawn plans on adding sooner or later.
Shawn is one of 12 children. He has six kids of his own and 10 grandchildren to boot. The operation is Shawn, his wife Terri and his son Patrick. Although Old School Burgers was founded by Chris McCarthy, Shawn’s brother, in 2020 in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, Chris was bought out in 2022 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Family Ties

“We’re a family-run business,” Shawn explained. “We have those family kind of values, we have a good culture, we treat our employees well, pay well and offer benefits. We’re very supportive of police, firefighters and military. We’ve only been in Ocean City for a year but we’re building ties with the community. We want to be a part of what makes the community click.”
Shawn both talks the talk and walks the walk, as Old School Burgers won Best New Business in Ocean City from the Chamber of Commerce.
Want to try it for yourself? Here’s a recommendation from the horse’s mouth. Shawn says if it’s your first time there, customers should order the Kevin Bacon Burger (extra cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo) with the Weird Science Fries (Old Bay seasoning, tangy pickle ranch, bacon and cheddar cheese sauce) with the milkshake of their choosing. In the mood for a chicken sandwich instead? Try the Point Break (grilled or crispy chicken with taco seasoning, cheese, cilantro, lime, lettuce, tomato and jalapeno) with a side of Beastie Boys Fries (cheddar cheese sauce, Coney sauce and raw onions.) Come for the food – always fresh never frozen meat with locally sourced vegetables – and stay for the ’80s references peppered throughout the menu.

Back to the Future

Shawn isn’t resting on his laurels after taking home some hardware at the end of last season. He plans on adding a grab-and-go breakfast option for those on the south side of the island before hitting the beach for the day. With that comes a latte station with Lacas Coffee, teas and refresher-style beverages. And if you’re too busy to stop in the shop on your way to the beach, Shawn’s got some good news: Old School Burgers should be rolling out beachside delivery this summer season.
On the other hand, after a long day on the beach, there’s often little desire to cook dinner. Shawn’s got you covered there, too. Enter catering options ranging from chicken parmesan to sausage and peppers or even baked ziti.
“My wife is Italian,” he said. “It’s all her home recipes. We want to cater to our customer base down here.”
Or if you’re looking for something to do for dinner or after dinner, Shawn plans on having music nights at the restaurant, too.
“We did two last year and they were really well received in the community,” he added.

Some Kind of Wonderful

The McCarthys are homeowners on the island, which is why they chose to expand from their Willow Grove location to Ocean City.
“Our thought initially was we would try to open something on the Boardwalk and scale down the menu, but we ended up doing the exact opposite,” Shawn explained.
They found a place that seats 75-plus on the inside with room for 25-plus outside.
“We found that’s the business model that works best,” Shawn said. “We’re part of the community, we want to serve our base.”

See Also
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Old School Burgers is located at 3401 Asbury in Ocean City and can be reached at (609) 938-6759. To stay up to date with everything Old School Burgers, visit Find the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram @oldschoolocnj.

*this story appears in the May 2024 issue of Ocean City Magazine
By Anthony J. Mazziotti III.
Photos courtesy of Old School Burgers.

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