It feels like 2018 just got started, but somehow it’s already June, and you know what that means. There have been a lot of changes in town over the past year, so let’s dive right into our 14th annual roundup of who’s new, who’s moved, and who’s gone.
Note: new and relocated business names are emphasized.
We’re going to start in Washington Commons, where we’ve had quite a few changes.
The biggest is that Celebrate Cape May closed at the end of 2017, after 19 years in business. Two businesses are going into their former space. The first is Out There Coffee, which will be opening this summer. Husband and wife team Craig and Nikki Stonis will be serving freshly roasted coffee as well as smoothies and healthy snacks. The second is Cape May Surf, a surfing accessory and t-shirt shop.
Valentino’s Coins and Collectibles moved out of their Washington Commons space sometime in February. To date, they haven’t announced a new brick and mortar location, but they have greatly increased the inventory in their online store and are also appearing at numerous trade shows. In their place is Arden’s Kids, run by the folks from Lynn Arden’ Children’s Shoppe. More about them below.
Cape May Gourmet announced back in January that they were relocating to a larger space, but we’ve since heard they will not be reopening.
Egg and Dart Cafe, a favorite breakfast spot that opened last summer, has closed. But we should qualify this by saying that the staff of Egg and Dart are from the Pier House Restaurant at La Mer, which is undergoing a complete renovation, and is expected to reopen after this season.
For those of you who were disappointed by the sudden closure of Asian Legends in early February, we’re happy to tell you that the New Cape Orient has opened in its place. Like its predecessors, they’ll serve Chinese, Thai, and Japanese cuisine (and, we hope, mochi ice cream. TBD).
Also new this year is Gallery by the Sea, an art gallery operated by the owners of Beach Bling.
And while they’re not part of Washington Commons, across the street, the Victorian Towers complex is undergoing a cosmetic makeover! We love the new dark green.
Washington Street Mall
We’ll begin with the 500 block. There are two changes to report down Liberty Way. Cape May’s House of Jerky® opened at the end of last summer in the space formerly used by Peanut + Choobie, which closed last year. They sell old-fashioned jerky made from beef, buffalo, mako, and even alligator. Next to them, where the Sunglass Menagerie was located before their move to Beach Avenue, is now The Horoscope Shop, which sells books, candles, crystals, and gifts—and astrology readings, according to their signage.
Across the mall, down Draper Way at 518 Washington Street, Pearls Boutique has closed. Streets of Cape May has taken over the space. The gift shop sells art prints and home decor featuring their watercolor series of Cape May streetscapes.
One block over, Cafe Buongiorno has closed and has been replaced by Coffee Tyme’s second location.
On the 300 block, Lynn Arden’s Children’s Shoppe closed in March after 35 years in business. They’ve opened a smaller store called Arden’s Kids in Washington Commons. Their former location, the three-story corner building at Jackson and Washington, has been purchased by Queen May Jewelry. We understand it will be a jewelry store.
That’s Amore, the Italian restaurant at the end of the block, has closed their Cape May location, but you can still visit them in Collingswood. In its place will be a new store by Galvanic, which is expanding its inventory to include women’s clothing. They’ll keep their current location on the 500 block.
Finally, Carpenter’s Square Mall (31 Perry Street) welcomes MoonGlow Massage Therapy. Rita Lynn Lyman combines massage techniques with yoga and art for individualized healing sessions.
Elsewhere in Cape May
Starting along Beach Avenue, Wanderlust’s boutique store The Little Pineapple has left its location in the Macomber Hotel (727 Beach Avenue). In its place is PeoplePeople, which has relocated from West Cape May.
Across the street, the C-View restaurant has opened a beachfront location called Sea View Beach Eats.
Angelo’s, the beachfront restaurant at 702 Beach Avenue (where Henry’s on the Beach used to be) has closed. Mermaid’s Restaurant has taken its place. They’ll offer breakfast and lunch—and for those wondering, yes, it’s different ownership.
Beach Boba has opened in the Akroteria on Beach Avenue. In addition to salads and wraps, they serve bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink made from tea, milk, and tapioca pearls (aka boba—the term “bubble tea” refers to the bubbles formed when you shake milk and tea). We stopped by the day they opened and can recommend the Matcha Green Tea flavor.
This next business opened last summer, but we didn’t hear about them until they received a bunch of votes in our Best of Cape May. The Window is a takeout place located at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House and serve burgers, cheesesteaks, and salads. They’re reopening for the season on June 14, and they have a lot of fans!
On Lafayette Street in the former bath house, Moonstruck Boutique is out. In its place is Elaine’s Boutique, a clothing and gift store run by the people from Elaine’s B&B.
Around the block, The Depot Cafe (409 Elmira Street) is under new ownership. According to their Facebook page, it will be known as The Depot going forward. They’ll open the second week of June with a new menu. We’ll keep you updated. And just steps away at 605 Lafayette, the sandwich shop O’nice is closed, but we don’t know what will be replacing them.
On Ocean Street, the clothing store Cheeks, which was in business for 35 years, has closed. The Queen Victoria B&B is renovating the space and will use it as part of their expanded dining area.
Let’s head down Washington Street. Cape May Pickles and Preserves has opened a brick and mortar store at 700 Washington Street.
Juice Caboose, the juice and salad bar that opened at 656 Washington Street in 2015, has closed. As of right now, we don’t have word on what’s replacing it. Their wooden bar has a new home at Out There Coffee in Washington Commons.
Three buildings down on the same side of Washington Street is the upcoming location for Cape May Trading Company. They were not open yet this afternoon when we walked past, but we could hear machinery, so it sounds like they’re working on the space.
Heading over to 600 Park Boulevard, Ostara’s Coffeehouse has replaced Mermade Kids. Ostara’s is a family-owned business that offers coffee, smoothies, breakfast items, baked goods, and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. (They also have a pleasing Instagram account!)
Empanada Mama’s has left their Park Boulevard location—we hear they’ll still be at festivals and the farmer’s market—but Michel Gras (formerly of La Patisserie and most recently the Red Store/Little Store) has opened a small bakery called Chez Michel.
Also new to 600 Park is Cape May Stained Glass Company, which opened at the beginning of the year, and a pop-up shop for Just Skin Food, which will be open by chance this summer. They’re busy with wholesale accounts, but you can keep an eye on their social media for hours.
Near the harbor, the Little Store (1208 NJ-109) is sadly out. It’s being replaced by The Sand Witch, which sells—you guessed it!—sandwiches as well as salads.
The Ship Store, a nautical-inspired gift shop owned and operated by Ronnie Moran, has opened at Cape May Marina (124 Rosemans Lane). They’ve replaced Seagear (don’t worry—Seagear is still operating at 4th & Wissahickon). And Sea Tow, her husband Jack’s business, has relocated to Cape May Marina from Ocean Drive.
Mayer’s Tavern (894 3rd Avenue), a local favorite which closed down in 2015, has been reopened after extensive restoration by Alex Laudeman—that’s the same Laudeman family that owns the Lobster House. Yes, scallops are still on the menu, as well as burgers and raw seafood.
In West Cape May, the Beach Plum Farm Bakery & Cafe finally opened at West End Garage (484 Perry Street). We saw it under construction last year and have been eagerly awaiting the opening. They serve farm-to-table pastries and bakery items, as well as La Colobme coffee, and their own line of doughnuts made using locally sourced ingredients.
The Exit Zero Filling Station will open soon at 110 Sunset Boulevard. The new complex, which has been under construction since the start of the year, will include a sit-down restaurant, takeout, merchandise shop, and gas station.
And if you take Seashore Road through West Cape May, you’ll notice that 846 Broadway (formerly Homestead Real Estate) is now home to Hidden Beauty Salon and Just Skin Food, which makes organic sunscreen in small batches right here in Cape May.
ETA: Cape May Linen Outlet will be opening a new store where the Exit Zero store used to be at 109 Sunset Boulevard. Accent on Beauty has also moved into the complex.
We have just a few changes in accommodations to report. The Cliveden Inn sold to the owners of the Harrison Bed and Breakfast. It’s been rebranded as Casablanca and remains a B&B. (You can check out the June 2018 issue of Cape May Magazine for more.)
The Victorian Lace Inn and Cooper’s Guest House have both sold and are now available as private rentals.
Finally, we understand that Beach Plum Farm will soon be home to new accommodations from Cape Resorts Group. They’re renovating five historic cottages and barns on the farm, which will sleep six to twelve guests each, and will include amenities you’d expect from Cape Resorts, including a swimming pool and use of Congress Hall’s beach service.
Notable changes outside of Cape May
If you drive into Cape May using the Route 109 bridge, you’ll notice that Cape Liquors (918 Route 109) is gone and that a new Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor is now open.
Axelsson’s Blue Claw Restaurant (991 Ocean Drive) closed in 2015 after 35 years in business. Panico’s Restaurant renovated the building and has opened their second location, Secondo.
In Rio Grande, Walmart is expanding to become a Super Walmart. Renovations are ongoing, but the store is open. K-Mart is now closed, but a Taco Bell opened on Route 47 last summer. There is also something new going in across from Starbucks that has a drive through, but no signs yet, so we’re not sure what it is.
ETA: We’re being told that the new building is (wait for it) another Starbucks.
In Cape May Court House, George’s Place opened a second location at 104 N. Main Street, and Mama’s Junk Co, a boutique shop that sells farmhouse-inspired decor (think Joanna Gaines), opened at 204 Hand Avenue.
Last but not least, up at the Cape May County Park and Zoo, Primate Point is now open!
And that’s it for 2018! We did our best to keep track of the changes around town during the last year, but if you know of something that we missed, please let us know by email, Facebook, or Twitter.