For those of us who remember the iconic (now closed) Ocean City Maryland eatery, Mad Hatter’s Café, it’s time to rejoice! Located just steps from the Boardwalk at 18th St, nestled street side, beneath the well known Spinnaker Motel, Mad Hatter’s has been reborn as MALIA’S CAFE!
Upon entering one finds a similar whimsical décor; however, large windows, colorful murals, and painted furnishings offer an airiness not found in the old location…this one offers a distinct taste of the nearby seaside – with mermaids and palm trees!
Yet, it was not the décor for which my companion and I rushed over just two weeks after the soft opening – it was the menu! Food offerings from Malia Ricks are well known for creativity, taste and value. I am happy to report it’s the same – perhaps even better. Generous servings, fresh ingredients, careful preparation and service are the hallmark here.
Arriving at a late breakfast/early lunch hour we were offered both menus – especially nice, since Ocean City is a resort whose visitors keep their own time. My companion decided on a ‘small’ breakfast…two large plates; one with light, fluffy pancakes, the other sporting tempting, creamed chipped beef on wheat toast with a side (large) of sizzling home fries. Coffee with free refill rounded out his meal. I opted for the Veggie Burger in a Pita…veggie burger, Muenster cheese, avocado and sprouts with dressing. This grocery list doesn’t begin to do justice to my choice – the burger was covered with really ‘melty’ Muenster (making strings when pulled), fresh, crunchy sprouts and a slice (slab) of perfectly ripe, creamy avocado all jam packed into a pita, warm from the grill! This was truly the kind of handcrafted sandwich for which I’ve hungered in these days of slap together ‘fast food’ style.
Later, more thoroughly reading over Malia’s menu, I was delighted to note that favorite choices such as her famous Veggie Wrap and the hot version – the Veggie Roll-up remain. For those still yearning for meat – its there, in the form of a King Kamehameha Cheesesteak and Tanner’s French Dip Au Jus with several turkey centered offerings available. Chicken, Tuna and Shrimp Salad (always fresh) along with Fish Tacos are listed…just haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet! There’s a kid’s menu too.
Currently the hours (though open every day) are varied although with breakfast service available to the Spinnaker’s visitors I suspect they will settle out during the coming high season. Eat-In or Carry-Out is offered and outdoor, patio service is available for the wet bathing suit crowd. The telephone number is 443-664-2420.
For up to the minute information, visit the ‘MALIA’S CAFÉ’ page on facebook.
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It was raining, really raining, and windy yesterday when we pulled onto the lot in front of SEASIDE DELI along Coastal Highway and 73nd Street in Ocean City MD! Only those familiar with our island know that a sudden downpour in OC turns the whole town into an, albeit temporary, ‘seaside’ location!!!
No matter, the warm greeting from Clint (one of the owner brothers), the rich, thick homemade split pea soup and the golden crunch of the hash browns on my delicious Brown Derby sandwich went a long way to immediately dispel the gloomy outdoor conditions!
First, the strip mall location in mid-town OC is ideal – not too far north or too far south, with easy accessibility from the Rt. 90 Bridge at 63rd street makes the Seaside Deli a great stot during anyone’s visit to the island. And, except for a brief, mid-winter hiatus, this eatery is open all year round. The hours do change with the season; in the summertime it is open from 7am until 2am.
Seaside is primarily a deli…it’s a place to get great quick, tasty homemade sandwiches with a large ‘side’ of convenience store and package goods. Along with a comfortable dining area there is a 5-seat bar. It’s all very cheerfully cluttered with almost anything anyone could need in a one-stop shop while vacationing; including groceries, ice, and Lottery!!!
Let’s talk about the food…the sandwich meats and cheeses are Dietz and Watson brand that make good quality stuff – and may be purchased by the pound! Anything else, from the ‘OC’s Best Chicken Salad’ to the much complimented egg salad and MAAAVELOUS Shrimp Salad, are scratch-made daily from fresh ingredient right in the very clean kitchen of Seaside. I peeked, and found several beautiful WondeRoast rotisserie chickens ready to be made into the Deli’s famed chicken salad.
The day we stopped there were a couple of lunch specials listed…split pea soup or chili with a Rachel (corned beef with slaw) or a Reuben (corned beef with kraut) sandwich. I chose the split pea – (understand that this is one of my very favorites – I make it often at home). It was wonderful, surely as good as mine: thick, rich and filled with chunks of sweet, pink ham! My companion selected the chili…lots of beef and beans, with a long, spicy after burn – as chili should! Perusing the extensive sandwich menu, including the Specialty items, I selected the Brown Derby – rare roast beef, cheese, and lettuce with horseradish mayo and as a surprise, a lovely hunk of crunchy hash brown potatoes – on seeded rye. Terrific! My fellow chose the Rachel – the corned beef sandwich with fresh, crunchy, house made slaw, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing! Both sandwiches – on your choice of breads or roll, were fresh, tasty and offered a generous portion! So generous in fact, that we had remaining halves wrapped for take-home. Of note, even a selection of fresh, ripe, fruit (the original fast-food) is offered at Seaside!
Seaside also offers a wonderful selection of chilled beer, some craft. Also, a vast array of fine wines adorns the shelves behind the dining area.
There is more, much more…including fresh breakfast sandwiches, party platters and free WI-FI! To see the menu and get more info – visit the website at http://www.seasidedelioc.com
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Marked with a small black and white sign roadside along Route 54, next door to ‘Catch 54’, across the bridge from Harpoon Hannah’s, in that long yellow building that formerly housed a furniture store resides a new café – West 54 Café! It is worth the search! To begin with, once discovered, we found the off street parking lot very accommodating! And, once entered, one finds the offerings herein pleasurable. After looking over the tempting variety of fresh baked goods (including lovely scones and flaky elephant ears) and studying the somewhat smallish menu my companion decided, being late morning, to try one of the breakfast items listed – French toast with fresh fruit. Out came a lovely and generous rendition of this tried and true favorite. He loved it! And too, remarkably – being a life-long coffee maven – commented that the coffee was very, very good! My selection, being almost lunchtime, was the jerk chicken salad wrap. Again generous, the herb seasoned wrap was delightful – filled with large chunks of jerk-roasted chicken and dried cranberries held together with a fresh tasting mayo!
We dined in a pleasant little room just off of the main bakery counter area and there met with other diners enjoying the day. We found that, although somewhat new, West Café 54 is already building a regular following; it’s a most congenial place. There is also a well-windowed lounge area with comfortable seating where customers, not wanting the more formal table seating, may enjoy one of the many inviting beverages offered and chat or read. The entire environment is low-pressure and seems a perfect place to quietly enjoy oneself while in the Ocean City MD – Fenwick Island DE area. A traditional café and again, worth the search!
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Upon reading the large, bright, blue-bordered sign along Coastal Highway at 73rd Street one immediately envisions a steaming stack of pancakes dripping with butter and smothered in syrup. However, the Little House of Pancakes, long known as one of Ocean City Maryland’s best breakfast places offers much more. First, it must be mentioned that this eatery is handicapped accessible and open year round. Open hours in the winter are limited to breakfast and lunch until 3 pm; summertime service continues through the dinner hour. Although not a large facility (seating approx. 60) there is a patio offering additional table service during warm weather. No matter where, once you are seated you are given a huge menu and if that steaming stack is what you want they may be found with many variations…but if your eye wanders further you will come across the filled omelets – and the tension begins. On a recent visit we solved this problem by ordering several different omelets with a couple of pancakes in place of the accompanying toast or biscuit – it’s your choice. Our choices, which included the Fiesta Omelet with chicken, salsa and sour cream and a Southeastern with ham, peppers and onions, were overstuffed, generous and delicious! Service was speedy and courteous. Although our selections came from the first two of the nearly five-page menu we saw that many wonderful sounding luncheon and dinner selections are available including homemade ribs and pizza. All may be ordered as carryout. A family style restaurant – with really good food! For more information, phone 410-520-0407.
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The CAROUSEL Resort Hotel & Condominiums, a long time landmark in Ocean City Maryland is located at 118th Street along Coastal Highway northbound, the ocean side of the street. In addition to lodging, including condo rentals, this facility offers yet more…there is the famous year round, indoor ice skating rink in the Atrium with a rink-side deli featuring Starbucks Coffee, a candy and ice cream shop, several swimming pools (indoor and out) and the famed SEASONS Oceanfront Restaurant, our destination on a “more than gray”, Sunday morning. It turned out to be a very bright spot indeed! We were immediately welcomed by the smiling hostess and seated where we could enjoy a view of the Atlantic Ocean, where this day the crashing surf made us happy to be indoors. The entire restaurant was tastefully decorated with Christmas finery. As it was early, we opted for the breakfast buffet, which we found to offer a varied selection of well-prepared items. The home fries were especially nice with sautéed chopped green and red peppers and bits of onion. My coffee loving companion remarked on the flavorful coffee. The wait service was friendly, efficient and unobtrusive keeping the cups filled and quickly removing the used china to enable further trips to the buffet. All in all, our visit to the Carousel was a lovely way to begin our day. To contact the Carousel visit the website at www.carouselhotel.com or telephone 1-800-641-0011.
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This long time and well-known, West Ocean City, “best breakfast” eatery has expanded from its 12744 Ocean Gateway (Rt. 50) location to a new spot, on island, within a new building located at 37081 North Coastal Highway . It’s easy to spot – right beside the famed Fisher’s Popcorn at the junction of Rt. 54. This diner too is open year round and the hours are 6 am until 3 pm, serving breakfast all day! There is adequate parking and being new; the parking lot surface was done with brick paver’s with “holes” to allow drainage – an interesting and very “green” concept. Upon entering TC’s one immediately sees the newness – all freshly painted with padded, very comfortable red leatherette seating around good-sized tables with space for 2, 3 and 4. The wall color is a fresh yellow and there is good natural light from the windows although perhaps some checked yellow and white gingham curtains would add to the country kitchen look – a bit on the plain side yet. However, there is nothing plain about the extensive menu…three pages of choice breakfast and lunch items. My companions and I ordered a variety. I was immediately envious of the TC Club Sandwich that was served…it was huge and very fresh looking. Another companion, throwing calorie caution to the wind – ordered fries – plentiful and golden brown, these were of the crispy, coated variety, which in turn created more envy (he did share)! However, the tables rapidly turned when my lovely turkey melt was served. Toasty rye bread covered with real sliced turkey and tomato under a layer of bubbly cheese. Obviously, mine was best of all! For further information the telephone number at the new island location is 302-537-9371.
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First begun here in 1980 by the Gibbs family the Dough Roller Restaurants have continued to feed visitors to Ocean City Maryland for more than 25 years. On this day our party decided to try the much-touted Dough Roller breakfast…specifically the famed pancakes. Yes, the pancakes do live up to the “best pancakes” accolade. Plain or with add-ins such as bacon, blueberries or chocolate chips or add-ons such as peaches or strawberries, the basic pancake is light, fluffy, golden brown and tasty. Real butter is served. The accompanying sausage (it was a holiday!) was terrific too…a generous serving, a thick link, well-browned and mildly seasoned – not greasy. Scrambled eggs were soft but not mushy. The lunch and dinner menus were equally attractive listing fresh dough, hand-tossed pizza, variety sandwiches and several interesting seafood platters along with some new Italian style meal selections. This is a family style restaurant with much to offer. The familiar clean gray and white exterior identifies this restaurant along Coastal Highway. There are now five (two on the Boardwalk), Dough Roller locations in Ocean City and one in Crofton, MD.
For more information visit the website at www.doughrolleroc.com or telephone 410-289-3501
We’d been told, but had to see for ourselves, that the Sunday Deluxe Breakfast Buffet at the Clarion in Ocean City Maryland was a very nice offering…so, we drove up to 101st and Coastal Highway, northbound early on a Sunday morning. The buffet begins at 7 am and lasts through 1 pm – surely enough time to sample all they had to offer! And, breakfast being our most favorite of meals I’d like to say we were able to sample it all…but what we couldn’t sample with our mouths we were able to sample with our eyes. The dining room is large and roomy with a window wall overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The service at that early hour was attentive, coffee and choice of juice immediately appeared. We headed off to the buffet area where we were asked if we cared for eggs, any style or perhaps an omelet, maybe a waffle? There was a large carving board upon which sat a beautiful ham waiting to be served. The many chafing dishes revealed other breakfast meats; bacon, sausage and scrapple. Others contained creamed chipped beef, pancakes, etc. Oh, and there was a big dish of lovely little cheese blintzes – the ricotta stuffing had a bit of orange flavor. Yummy! Not completely stuffed yet – I headed for the cold offerings alongside the bread/cereal area. The huge tray offering Nova lox, onion, tomato and capers nearly bowled me over. More so, these ingredients, when piled atop a most superior bagel thickly layered with cream cheese made me very happy. Completely sated and convinced that we did not need nor want any more food that day we paid our very reasonable bill. On the way out we noted the advertisements for two other buffets at the Clarion, the Monday – Saturday Breakfast Buffet and the Prime Rib, Crab Legs and Seafood Buffet which is offered daily from 4 until 9 pm.
For more information visit the website at www.clarionoc.com or phone
Leo’s Restaurant, located at the corner of 138th Street and Coastal Hwy (oceanside), is the kind of place frequented by locals and savvy travelers. Street side and diner sized, Leo’s makes the most of food…offering “Breakfast All Day”, reasonably priced steamed crabs, clams and shrimp, and almost everything imaginable in between. Of special note offered is a Gyro…I love gyros – the Greek-style roasted lamb sandwich wrapped in a pita and slathered with Tzatsiki sauce (a blend of yoghurt, cucumber and garlic). Yummy! Having this Greek offering may then help explain the décor… that consists of an 90’s style re-hab along with perhaps 50 really good, original, but unframed portraits of people of Greek or Basque origin. It’s obvious that someone at Leo’s paints. And, too, it’s obvious that someone at Leo’s cooks! Arriving around breakfast time my companion launched nearly poetic over the home-fried potatoes on his plate…and later he still couldn’t help but notice a huge mound still cooking on the grill! I was happy too, choosing the French toast…yes, I had the requisite butter and syrup on one slice when reason took over and decided to try the other slice plain…it was great! The real egg dipping batter had been nicely seasoned with sweet spices and a pinch of something else? In fact, it was so good, nothing more was needed on this well-prepared selection.
OK, so Leo’s isn’t the Ritz but you will be well fed and pleased with the prices. On our visit, every table and booth was filled and I’ll bet that high level of activity continues throughout the day with both locals and savvy travelers stopping by.
Hours are 8 am until 10 or 11 pm daily. Carry out is available by phoning 410-250-1660.
Situated just a few steps from Ocean City across the border in Fenwick Island Delaware, at the corner of West Maryland Avenue and Coastal Highway southbound, sits an interesting little eatery – Dirty Harry’s. It is neither dirty nor Harry’s…it’s sparkling clean and now belongs to a former employee, Ginny, and husband, Eddie. Immediately, one may determine that this is a “local’s” place. The kind of place where when upon entering at 6:30 am one is greeted by a smile along with the sight and aromas of fresh baked goods and good coffee. This day my companions and I were there for breakfast – the kind of breakfast that has helped “Harry’s” earn the recent award…”Best Breakfast in Downstate Delaware”. It is more than well-deserved…from the pile of blueberries and pecans laying hidden beneath the oatmeal, and cup of hand-cut, truly fresh fruit to the fat, beautifully browned link sausages and hearty wheat toast sitting beside the well-cooked eggs and pile of home fries!