Ocean City, Maryland

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PrplePanther
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2005/08/02 11:22:26 (permalink)

Ocean City, Maryland

Hi Everybody. I am new here, and it seems like you all give such good advice. I'm hoping somebody can help me.

I am going to Ocean City, Maryland in 2 weeks. We are only staying there 4 days, but we are on a very limited budget. It will be me, my husband and our 2 yr. old little boy. I am looking for inexpensive places to eat. Nothing fancy. We will probably be mostly eating dinner out. Probably be eating breakfast and lunch in the room, or maybe the boardwalk. I would like to try a breakfast buffet somewhere at least once though.

I heard that the Paul Revere Smorgasbord wasn't any good. Is this true? Thanks for any help.
#1

15 Replies Related Threads

    seafarer john
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 12:07:02 (permalink)
    Prple: Go to a forum from just last week- there's a whole lot of places in the area discussed there - also try search headings like OC, crabcakes, etc for more info.

    Avoid Phillips!

    Cheers, John
    #2
    BT
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 13:04:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    Avoid Phillips!

    Cheers, John


    Sorry I can't actually be helpful since I haven't been to Ocean City for about 40 years, but when I was a kid in the late 50's/early 60's we used to vacation there every summer and seeing talk of it is such a nostalgia trip. In the beginning, I can remember we were very much like PrplPanther--a young family on a very limited budget--and dining out meant mostly 2 places: Phillips, which then was a true Roadfood place (just a single shack-like location, open only in the summer, and serving great steamed crabs and shrimp and not much else), and, for a once-a-year splurge, the dining room of the Beach Plaza Hotel (9th and Boardwalk) where I could get fried flounder which I loved. The rest of the week we were usually there we ate in, often getting a barbecued chicken at a local market that offered them. Big meals weren't a requirement, by the way, because we could depend on being able to fill up with fabulous french fries (drenched in vinegar and salt) on the boardwalk after dinner.
    #3
    BT
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 13:08:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    Prple: Go to a forum from just last week- there's a whole lot of places in the area discussed there - also try search headings like OC, crabcakes, etc for more info.

    Avoid Phillips!

    Cheers, John


    OK--maybe I CAN be helpful: check out http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1305&SearchTerms=Ocean+City
    #4
    Treetop Tom
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 16:24:44 (permalink)
    In addition to the places on the other thread, here are a few places to try in OC:

    Hall's Restaurant @ 60th & Ocean Highway has a great breakfast buffet. They have an online coupon for $1 off to print out. Stay away from Paul Revere's. You heard right about it.

    On the boardwalk, you can't go wrong with:

    Alaska Stand @ 9th and Boardwalk (burgers, sandwiches, fried seafood, salads etc.)

    Polock Johnny's @ 2nd & Boardwalk (Polish sausage "wit' 'da woiks") and a fresh squeezed lemonade. Yum.

    Tony's Pizza @ N. Division Street & Boardwalk (Best on the Boardwalk, IMO. Much better than the Dough Roller. Dough Roller does have good breakfasts, though.)

    Dumser's Dairyland @ S. Division & Boardwalk (Their cones and shakes are out of this world)

    And of course, no trip to the boardwalk would be complete without a trip to Thrasher's Fries on the Boardwalk between Wicomico and Worchester Streets. Don't be intimidated by the long line, it moves pretty quickly. Make sure you know what you want when you reach the head of the line or you will get "the look." And don't ask for ketchup - it's either vinegar or nothing on top.

    Also, be on the lookout for my main man, "Boardwalk Elvis." You can't miss him. Hope you have a good trip to OC.
    #5
    signman
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 16:57:01 (permalink)
    Just pick up any of the slick advertising magazines or newspapers. Lots of discount coupons. For a nice dinner buffet, go for the Early Bird at the Bonfire. OC is junk food heaven. Only problem is that because it's a limited season beach resort, you pay a premium for almost everything. Except gasoline. Was there last week and filled up for 2.19. Here in Baltimore cheapest is at least a dime more.

    The giant size bucket 'o fries at Thrashers checks in at $8.50. You can't leave without trying one. Breakfasts are cheap though almost everywhere.
    #6
    BrooklynBill
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 18:30:11 (permalink)

    A lot of good advice on that earlier thread but lets add a few ideas:
    If you are saving money, you may wish to consider making the noon meal your main fair. Most places have lunches that are almost as good and quite a bit cheaper.
    There is excellent take out available all over the resort. Waterman’s at 12505 Ocean Gateway has great take out or you can even dine in their no frills dining room. It used to be BYOB, and a lot of fun, but they stopped that a few years ago.

    Fairly close to Waterman’s is The Captain’s Galley II. It has great food but I would recommend it for lunch.
    http://www.occaptainsgalley2.com/
    I second the heralding of Harrison’s if only for a drink and a view.
    http://www.ocmdhotels.com/harborwatch/

    Two sites to play with:
    http://www.oceancity.com/dining/
    http://www.discoverourtown.com/TownPage.php?Town=1683&Cat=Dining

    I agree about Phillips. Stay out of any of them but the original on the boardwalk. The others can be a hit or miss operation. The original still had an outstanding breakfast two years ago – eggs oscar and much more.
    http://www.phillipsseafood.com/phillipsbythesea/

    AND -- THRASHERS FOR FRIES!!
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/02 19:09:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BrooklynBill



    I agree about Phillips. Stay out of any of them but the original on the boardwalk. The others can be a hit or miss operation. The original still had an outstanding breakfast two years ago – eggs oscar and much more.
    http://www.phillipsseafood.com/phillipsbythesea/

    AND -- THRASHERS FOR FRIES!!



    Hey, I don't think the original Phillips was on the boardwalk. I remember it being one block (or maybe 2 blocks) back from the beach in a typical wooden shingled white-painted structure. Their web site also says something about the Beach Plaza Hotel and the picture suggests that what was once the front porch (where you could sit and watch the ocean) of said hotel has become Phillips, but the original was most definitely not in the same building as that hotel because I ate in both around 1960.

    I'll second all the votes for Thrasher's. I couldn't recall the name of the place in my previous post, but a trip to Ocean City isn't complete without eating fries there, preferably every evening.
    #8
    PrplePanther
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/04 08:31:12 (permalink)
    Thanks to everybody. This isn't my first time to o.c., I used to go ALL the time, but I am unfamiliar w/ the buffets. I used to go and just grab bites here and there. I definitely know about Thrashers. I dont know anybody who's even been there one time who doesn't know Thrashers.

    Thank you all. I printed all this out, and I can't wait to go!
    #9
    jlaurette
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/10 01:42:22 (permalink)
    I used to go to OC when I was a kid, We always had a bucket of Thrasher's and the hot caramel corn(name?) for the ride home. Boy does that bring back memories.

    I second the Alaska stand. I love their hotdogs, split and grilled...yum.
    I also used to love Lombardi's pizza...so thin and greasy! I know it is not the best pizza in the world, but it really makes me think of the beach. We used to stand the slices on their side and let the oil slide off onto our plates!!! We also used to eat at Taylor Pork Roll...I don't think it is there anymore.

    I may have to jump in the car and drive to Oc tomorrow!
    #10
    caratzas
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/10 03:49:29 (permalink)
    The original Phillips is at 21st St. (where their Seafood Festival Buffet is today.) Basically, it started out as a crab shack and kept getting built on to until the restaurant took over the whole block. I can't remember anything other than the current monstrosity so they must have finished doing the substantial adding-on some time in the late 60s/early 70s.

    Phillips By The Sea in the Beach Plaza Hotel is the "new" one for me -- I know a previous poster says they ate there in the '60s but I seem to remember it opening in the 1970's (the Phillips site says 1973.) I think it was meant to be a little nicer and more formal than the original, with more of an emphasis on steaks and wine and things like that. Out of all their locations, it is, as a previous poster suggested, the one that has changed least and has resisted catering to the AYCE crowd.

    When I was a kid, going to the alpha chapter Phillips was our one "fancy" night out on vacation. The food was generally pretty good, if a bit expensive for what it was. I've only eaten there once in the past ten years or so since they've concentrated on the buffet thing -- it's very crowded and not cheap and not worth the hassle for us -- YMMV. OTOH, we do take out fried chicken and seafood from the uptown location (Phillips Seafood House @ 141st st.) and that's very good; look in the local freebie tourist papers 'cause they'll usually have a coupon in one of them with some kind of takeout deal.

    For a recreation of what Phillips used to be like in the 1970s minus the tremendous crowds, try Waterman's in West O.C. It's not fancy -- a real brown-paper-on-the-tables kind of place -- but the food (crabs, fish and the like) is fresh and very good and reasonably priced. Be prepared to wait for a table if you go in the evening.

    Polock Johnny's (now called PJ's on the Boards -- long story behind that) is another family tradition, though more for atmosphere than for fine dining. Get the "Unburger" (grilled Polish Sausage) with "The Works." The sausage and toppings can be spicy so be prepared for replay if you're susceptible. Their french fries are cooked in 100% peanut oil and are always very good. For years they were on the Boardwalk and (I think) Dorchester St, but the building they were in on the Boardwalk was demolished earlier this year so they've relocated temporarily to a pizzeria on Baltimore Ave a couple of blocks north of their previous location. When I was there in April there was a sign at the old location with directions to the temporary spot. I believe they're supposed to be back in their old location after the new building goes up.

    Thrasher's may be an institution but I never got into the love; in my opinion they are far from the be-and-end-all of fried potatoes. On the other hand, close by on the Boardwalk are two good ice cream stands: a Kohr Bros. stand (technically frozen custard -- try an orange/vanilla swirl) in the same building, and a place serving hard and soft ice cream across the boards (the name escapes me but it may be a Dumser's branch.) This place has some esoteric flavors; try the peanut butter fudge ice cream. There's also good fresh caramel popcorn across the boards from Kohr Bros. (name escapes me) or at Dolle's a few blocks up the boardwalk.

    I've raved in the past on these boards about Em-ings in Bishopville; sadly, their increased popularity has led to much higher prices so they aren't the deal they used to be and I haven't been in a couple of years.

    For a real local place with a real local crowd (dare I say a Roadfoody place?) try Gartside's Restaurant in Roxana, DE about 10 minutes NW of OC. It's a small family restaurant with home-style meals of the "entree, two vegs and a potato" variety. Think crabcakes, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, braised short ribs, stuff like that. It's the kind of place where the volunteer fire department might hold their annual membership dinner. Very reasonably priced and nothing spectacular but pretty good and an excellent deal -- hey, my parents like it. It's a good place to get a feel of what the rural chicken country next to the beaches is all about. They usually have an ad in one of the local tourist handouts but I don't know if that does them any good; when you pull in 9 cars out of 10 in the lot'll have Delaware plates. Unlike most places in the big O.C., you won't have to wait 45 minutes for a table. Plus you'll get more personalized service (I have yet to see the bottom of my iced tea glass at Gartside's.)
    #11
    jlaurette
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/10 13:20:47 (permalink)
    We never went to Phillips when I was a kid. The true locals...i.e. the working class, which was what my family was, fished their own crabs off the end of a pier. We used to camp at I think it was Pocomoke State Forest, and my Dad and my uncles would cook the crabs in big metal drums, just like they do at crab fests. Newspapers and Old Bay were all you needed!!! Oh, and all the homemade potato salad,cole slaw, pies and cookies,lemonade,ice tea and beer(of course that was for the grownups) you could want.
    #12
    BT
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/10 14:34:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by caratzas



    Phillips By The Sea in the Beach Plaza Hotel is the "new" one for me -- I know a previous poster says they ate there in the '60s but I seem to remember it opening in the 1970's (the Phillips site says 1973.) I think it was meant to be a little nicer and more formal than the original, with more of an emphasis on steaks and wine and things like that. Out of all their locations, it is, as a previous poster suggested, the one that has changed least and has resisted catering to the AYCE crowd.


    The Beach Plaza Hotel was definitely there before 1963 when I graduated from high school and we stopped going to OC as a family (I went a few more times after that with college friends but not with my folks). But it defintiely had no Phillips attached. If they say they added on their restaurant in 1973, that's probably correct. Where I said I ate was the Beach Plaza dining room which was probably the most elegant restaurant in OC back then. The owner of the Beach Plaza also owned the Royalton Hotel which was a few blocks down the boardwalk and dated back to before WWII I think. Anyway, my grandma used to stay there and take us out to dinner there and then, when they built the newer, modern Beach Plaza in the 60's we started going there for our one splurge dinner while on vacation. But there was no Phillips involved. As you said, Phillips was up the beach at 21st St (thanks--I couldn't remember exactly where) and we usually went there too. It was, in fact, a crab house--piles of steamed crabs on the newspaper-covered tables like many other places around Maryland. I know nothing about their having buffets--they didn't back then.
    #13
    BT
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/10 14:43:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jlaurette

    We never went to Phillips when I was a kid. The true locals...i.e. the working class, which was what my family was, fished their own crabs off the end of a pier. We used to camp at I think it was Pocomoke State Forest, and my Dad and my uncles would cook the crabs in big metal drums, just like they do at crab fests. Newspapers and Old Bay were all you needed!!! Oh, and all the homemade potato salad,cole slaw, pies and cookies,lemonade,ice tea and beer(of course that was for the grownups) you could want.


    Locals from where? The "true locals" from Ocean City were a small number of familes such as Showells and Trimpers (not sure of the spelling any longer) who pretty much owned everything in town back then and were far from poor. And I'm sure as Ocean City mushroomed, the property they owned got more and more valuable. My parents knew the Showells and I was a classmate in college to the son of the family who owned another boardwalk hotel, the Lankford. I used to go down there with him in the spring and help get it fixed up for the summer tourist season (painting and such).

    Over on the mainland, all over the Eastern Shore, you could find lots of folks who mostly only ate what they could catch. My uncle had a place (small wooden home he built himself) near Easton and raised soft shell crabs (you had to trap hard crabs, then pen them up until they molted) for a living. My dad's entire family had connections to the Bay. But the Ocean City locals mostly had started cashing in on the tourist trade well before 1960 and were all quite affluent by then.
    #14
    Crusinsusin
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/11 06:45:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jlaurette

    I used to go to OC when I was a kid, We always had a bucket of Thrasher's and the hot caramel corn(name?) for the ride home. Boy does that bring back memories.

    I second the Alaska stand. I love their hotdogs, split and grilled...yum.
    I also used to love Lombardi's pizza...so thin and greasy! I know it is not the best pizza in the world, but it really makes me think of the beach. We used to stand the slices on their side and let the oil slide off onto our plates!!! We also used to eat at Taylor Pork Roll...I don't think it is there anymore.

    I may have to jump in the car and drive to Oc tomorrow!


    Jlaurette - Are you thinking of Fisher's Caramel Popcorn? Good stuff!
    #15
    caratzas
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    RE: Ocean City, Maryland 2005/08/11 07:05:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT
    Where I said I ate was the Beach Plaza dining room which was probably the most elegant restaurant in OC back then.


    My bad -- my powers of comprehension-fu have failed me!

    quote:
    I know nothing about their having buffets--they didn't back then.


    Yes, OC has morphed dramatically over the 35+ years I've been going. The proliferation of AYCE is just one of the many changes (many old-timers would say for the worse.)

    I'm relying on my memory here but I'd say Phillips jumped on the buffet bandwagon in the early-to-mid '90s.
    #16
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