- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Tag: who’s new

Local favorite Mayer’s Tavern reopens in Cape May

In a small town, a text received ten minutes prior to the official opening of a business counts as “word of mouth.” The iconic Mayer’s Tavern, having undergone a total renovation and under new ownership (by the Laudemans of Lobster House fame) opened for business at 5pm last night, and the word of mouth worked—the place was packed by 6:30.

The previous dive bar, which has been closed since 2015, now sports a straightforward, casual look and feel, with a separate dining room and bar area—and very cool bathroom sinks, by the way.  

Mayer’s Bar & Restaurant, tucked off Route 109 and facing Miss Chris Marina, features a simple but inventive menu of Small Plates, Appetizers, Mains, Sides, Raw and Cold, and the intriguing Shellfish Towers.  And while the pool table is gone, the much beloved scallops remain.

As of this writing, they are open 5–10pm.

New liquor store to open; Little Store temporarily closed

Location of the new Joe Canal’s | Photo: Michelle Giorla

If you make the trip to Rio Grande to stock your cooler but you’re tired of getting stuck in summer traffic, we’re happy to tell you that Joe Canal’s Liquors is being constructed on the site of the former Cape Liquors at 918 Route 109 (to your right before the main bridge, next to Urgent Care).

According to the contractor our photographer spoke to, construction is expected to be complete in April or May.

The Little Store is temporarily closed | Photo: Michelle Giorla

And now some bad news. Earlier this year, The Little Store – that darling coffee shop and bakery that opened in 2015 – announced that it would close. “But hopefully not for good,” according to their website, which says they’d to move to a new location. The Little Store hasn’t responded to our request for comment, so we don’t have information on where or when they might be reopening.

Cape May Stained Glass Company opens in West Cape May

stainedglass2 stainedglass4 stainedglass1 stainedglass3

Cape May Stained Glass Company opened for business in West Cape May last week. Located on Park Boulevard, the gallery space features works not only by owner/stained glass artist Christopher Michalek, but by several other local artists and artisans, among them Jimm Ross, Mary Stewart, Patricia Piacentine, Jeffrey Hebron, and Bill Bader, to name but a few.

Michalek said he wants to offer a space for artists to display their work on a commission basis (“and we all chip in at the end of the month for the utilities”), rather than having to pay up front for wall space as is often the case in other galleries.  

Among the wares available in the gallery are paintings, jewelry, leather goods, reclaimed wood pieces, and of course, stained glass. You can follow Cape May Stained Glass Company on Facebook and on Instagram at @michalekchristopher.

Coffee and curry: two new favorites opening this spring

Exit Zero Cookhouse’s former location | Photo: Michelle Giorla

If you were looking forward to warming up with their curry this winter, we’re sorry to tell you that the Exit Zero Cookhouse is temporarily closed. But the Exit Zero Filling Station, just across Sunset Boulevard, will be opening late this spring. The complex will include a gas station, merchandise, restaurant, and coffee and sandwiches to go.

Recent changes on the Washington Street Mall

There are two big changes on the Washington Street Mall that we want to let you know about.

The first is that Coffee Tyme is opening a second location on the 400 block, in the space formerly occupied by Cafe Buongiorno. They will be opening for Presidents Day Weekend in February.

The second change is on the 300 block. That’s Amore is closing its Cape May location. We’ve heard it won’t be replaced by a restaurant and will share the details with you as soon as we have them confirmed!

Is there a change in town we should know about? Email details to

Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone 2017

It’s June, which means it’s time for’s 13th annual roundup of the changes our town has gone through in the last year or so. Grab a snack and prepare to say goodbye to a few friends as we welcome new ones to town. Here’s who’s new, who’s moved, and who’s gone: the 2017 edition.

Note: new and relocated business names are emphasized.

Public Spaces

The new fountain and bandstand at Rotary Park

The biggest change in Cape May last year was the new Rotary Park. This project completed last summer and includes a large central fountain, abundant greenery, and a new Victorian-style bandstand with a glass cupola. A lot of people were sad about the loss of trees, and many clung to nostalgia the old park evoked, but the new Rotary Park is not only an aesthetic improvement but accessible.

Lafayette Street Park

The Lafayette Street Park project is still underway. The first of this four-phase project wrapped last September. Future plans include new sports facilities, seating for spectators, additional parking, and the restoration of nature trails around Cape Island Creek.

Washington Commons

Heading over to Washington Commons, NY Bagels has been replaced by Egg & Dart Breakfast Cafe. A sign in the front windows says they’ll be opening soon. We weren’t able to located a website or Facebook, so no clue what they’re planning to offer, but we’ll be checking it out once they’re open.

Cape Coastal Properties, managed by broker/owner Maryann Donahue, opened in the Commons last fall, as well as a new branch of Crest Savings Bank. Rip Tide East is out, but Rip Tide West is still there. We hear there may be an art gallery of some sort going in.

We heard a rumor that Bonnie’s Toppings would not be in the Commons this summer, but we just called to confirm. Yes, they will be operating in their current location.

The Cape May rumor mill never sleeps, and a recent one is that ACME Markets will be expanding their Lafayette Street location. Their media contact told us that ACME has negotiated a lease with the landlord and they are currently exploring all options.

Galvanic’s pop-up store on Ocean Street

Stepping over to Ocean Street for a moment (since we’re already over this way), the men’s store Galvanic has opened a second location at 208 Ocean Street. This pop-up store, which will be open now through September, carries footwear, bags, and accessories. Once the season’s over? The merchandise will be available in their main store at 514 Washington Street. They’re not going anywhere.

Which brings us to…

The Washington Street Mall

Let’s start on the 500 block. Last year, we told you that Happy Helpers, a hostel for creative types, was opening above A Ca Mia. Well, that project never got off the ground, so they’re out.

Kahuna Jack’s

Down Liberty Way, Resort Wear Outlet is now Kahuna Jack’s. Sunglass Menagerie has moved up to Beach Avenue next to Coffee Tyme, in the space previously occupied by Exit Zero’s retail store. Sunglass Menagerie’s former spot is currently empty. The children’s clothing store Peanut & Choobie, which had occupied that space last summer, has moved off of the mall. Their Facebook and Instagram accounts are active, as well as their online store, so they appear to be virtual-only for now. Lady Pandora is gone, and Shades of Cape May has moved into their space. The last shop on the right still appears to be used for storage.

Quirk & Co.

One block over on Carpenters Lane, the Italian Garden bath shop has gone out and been replaced by the gift shop Quirk & Co. We stopped in a few weeks ago. This family-run shop carries items hand-made within 100 miles of Cape May. It’s like a walk-in Etsy. You’ll see items from there in the pages of an upcoming Cape May Magazine.

On the 400 block of Washington Street, Latitude Cape May, a women’s boutique, has opened in City Center Mall. They carry a variety of jewelry, accessories, and clothing. Across the mall, you might notice that Makers Making is now GIVENS circle. It’s the same store, same owners, same unique finds–just a name change.

Cash & Clive

The 300 block has several changes to report! In the mini mall behind Uncle Charley’s ice cream parlor, we’re told Petit Decor will be replaced by Crepe Mey, specializing in homemade crepes with fruit fillings. (Yum!) Remember Cape May Popcorn and Pizza, which occupied the building at the end of the Washington Street Mall across from the Victorian Motel? They closed their doors at the end of last season and the building underwent a complete remodel. The Washington Street side is now home to Victorious, which moved from its former Congress Hall location. The brand new Cash & Clive has moved into the Carpenters Lane side. They carry a gorgeous selection of clothing and accessories, in a bright space our creative team wanted to borrow for our office. (If we go missing, we’re probably in C&C’s swanky little sitting area.)

Across the street at Congress Hall, Cape Island Bikes has added bicycle and accessory sales to their Perry Street location. Queen May Estate Jewelry is opening a second jewelry store at Congress Hall.

Queen May Estate Jewelry

Elsewhere in Cape May

The Spice Cellar of Cape May, part of Cape May Gourmet, has taken the Madd Potter’s Studio’s space beneath the Merry Widow at 324 Carpenters Lane.

Shore Soaps (photo from their Facebook page)

Down Washington Street, the Michael Kara store, part of the Kara Restaurant Group (think George’s Place and the YB), is out. Shore Soaps has opened their flagship store at 658 Washington Street! Their soaps are vegan and homemade in small batches, and the store is adorable.

Madison’s Bakery (photo from their Facebook page)

Madison’s Bakery, a baked goods and coffee shop, is opening at 701 Beach Avenue, in the Beach Theatre complex. The space was previously occupied by Summersalt.

On Mansion Street, behind the 300 block of the mall (adjacent to Collier’s), Island Grill is out. Carol Herforth is now managing the Cold Spring Grange Restaurant at Historic Cold Spring Village. In its place is Iccara by Vince Sanzona of Vincenzo’s in North Cape May.

Iccara Restaurant

This summer, Fresco’s on Bank Street will be managed by the owners of the Pier House (more on the Pier House in a moment).

The ice cream parlor at Cape May Miniature Golf on Jackson Street is gone. Going forward, they are solely a mini golf course. Accent on Beauty moved across the street to Sunset, next to Bird House.

So Nice, the sandwich shop next to the bike shop at Lafayette and Elmira, has closed.

The Cape May Soda Company has opened up shop! You can get a taste of their homemade soda flavors at Empanada Mama’s on Park Boulevard. This isn’t soda made from pre-made syrups or mixes; they start with fresh fruit, including locally grown strawberries. Soda is available in etched growlers. Their Facebook page says they’ll be at the Strawberry Festival this coming weekend (if we’re not rained out).

Over in West Cape May, Cape May Bakers is out. The West End Garage plans to expand into the space and add a coffee shop. The Steger family (yes, the ones with the signature blue cabanas) are opening Steger Beach Co, an apparel company, in West End Garage.

If you’ve driven past La Mer lately, you might have noticed that the Pier House restaurant is, well, missing. The restaurant was demolished at the beginning of the year. According to La Mer’s website, the new restaurant (which they’re still calling the Pier House for now) will reopen in the fall and feature Mediterranean-American cuisine.

New front porch for the Mad Batter Restaurant at the Carroll Villa

In other restaurant news, the Mad Batter has a brand-new front porch! Local contractor Hawthorne Davis handled the project to replace the old structure with an airy, enclosed design. High-backed booths are tucked along the wall where the service station used to be, the entrances are less crowded, and windows will keep the space comfortable no matter the weather. Last week, the Kulkowitz family hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new addition.

Did you know that Mayer’s Tavern, which closed its doors in 2015, was bought by the family who owns the Lobster House? Renovations are underway, so the restaurant and bar will not be completed for this season, but we’re looking forward to the future reopening.

ETA: The Cape May Running Company is moving into 305 B Beach Avenue, near George’s Place. Owners Mike Mader and Harry Back plan to be your all-things running source. In addition to running gear, they organize daily runs at 7am. (Thanks to Diane Hutchison for the tip!)


In the world of B&Bs, we’ve had a few change hands. The Mission Inn sold to Wendy Collins and Laura Shaddock. (Happy retirement to Susan and Ray Roberts!) Pharo’s Guest House, which had been in the same family for decades, sold last October to Andrew Bares and is now part of the Harrison. The Inn at the Park sold in December to the owners of the Cape May Peanut Butter Company. We’re told it will continue to operate as a B&B.

Dreaming about becoming an innkeeper? You’re in luck. The circa 1884 Cliveden Inn, an 11-bedroom B&B at 709 Columbia Avenue, is on the market for $1.425 million.

We’ve also lost a few B&Bs this year: Windward House, White Dove Cottage, and the Bayberry Inn are now private homes.

Notable changes outside Cape May

North of the canal, Harpoon Henry’s sold in September 2016. They are now Harpoon’s on the Bay. We mentioned it last year, but the former Bayshore Inn is now the Red Brick Ale House and offers brick-oven pizzas in their updated restaurant and bar. Cape May Olive Oil Company has a new Blending Room at the Cape May Airport, where you can enjoy olive oil tastings and take home a custom oil blend. Red Store Chef Lucas Manteca’s Taqueria, a taco shop, has opened next to Cape May Brewing Company. We can’t wait to eat there.

The tasting room at Nauti Spirits Distillery

Nauti Spirits, a farm-to-bottle distillery, has opened for business in Lower Township at 916 Shunpike Road. One of the founders is Corey Bryan, formerly of The Lemon Tree! The distillery is open daily and offers tastings and self-guided tours. You’re welcome to bring your own food. (Look for them in the upcoming June issue of Cape May Magazine!)

Rio Grande (exit four off the Parkway) is now home to McDonald’s, which opened over the winter where Sonic used to be, in front of Lowe’s. Taco Bell is coming back to 1403 Route 47 in Rio Grande, in the location formerly occupied by Dos Amigos (which was delicious, and as we understand, has relocated). Yes, we did say “coming back” — years ago, this same location was home to a Taco Bell.

Our JC Penney is one of the multiple locations being shut down by the company and is scheduled to be closed shortly. The grocery chain Aldi has opened in the Lowes complex, giving you an alternative to Shop Rite’s Saturday crowds. The Off-Shore motel, located just next to Exit 4 (beside Tokyo restaurant), is now a Red Roof Inn®.

ETA: Marie Nicole’s Restaurant in Diamond Beach just informed us that they moved to Avalon! In its place, the same restaurant group opened de ninno’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar on June 2nd.

Wrapping up

We’ve heard a couple rumors we haven’t been able to verify, but we’ll add them if we get additional information. Do you know of a change that we missed? Let us know in the comments section and we’ll add it!

Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone 2016

Another year, another wave of fresh faces, familiar names in new locations, and old favorites closing their doors. Here is our annual roundup.


Progress on the Rotary Park project

If you’ve driven into town lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that Rotary Park on Lyle Lane is being completely renovated. Workers demolished the old gazebo and cleared the lot to make way for a new central fountain, new concert area, wrought iron fencing, bicycle racks, and gas lighting to match lanterns up around town. We saw bricks being laid last week and understand the park is scheduled to be complete by July 1st. The Lafayette Street park project is also underway. It will open later in the summer.

Let’s start on the Washington Street Mall. Here on the 500 block, Stewart’s Root Beer now sports a cheerful orange-yellow paint job, but the only shop changeovers are down Liberty Way. Last week, we spotted an apple-green sign outside of Hello Gorgeous announcing Resort Wear Outlet, which looks to be occupying half of the space (Hello Gorgeous is still there, in the second of the two connected shops). Sunglass Menagerie has closed, and over the past two weeks, we’ve watched Peanut and Choobie scrape their decals from the windows and completely reconfigure the interior. It’s now a high-end children’s boutique with adorable merchandise! Welcome to the mall. And get this–Happy Helpers Hostel, which plans to offer low-cost lodging, is settling into the space above A Ca Mia.


SeaStar Boutique

A street over, at 505 Carpenters Lane, longtime women’s clothing store Between the Lines has moved to 3415 Pacific Avenue in Wildwood. In their place is RSK Doughnuts, which offers homemade doughnuts in a variety of flavors, as well as cinnamon buns.

Crossing Ocean Street into Washington Commons for a moment, Cape Orient is now Asian Legends. (The lemongrass pad thai is, sadly, no more, but the new menu looks promising.) Cape May Gourmet, sister to Cape May Peanut Butter and Cape May Olive Oil, opened at the end of last season and offers fresh pasta and sauce (which we had the pleasure of sampling at the holidays – delicious). They’ve opened a factory store at the airport as well.

There wasn’t too much change on the 400 block, but we have a couple updates in City Centre Mall. Pano, a sister restaurant to popular George’s Place and Y.B., is moving to 658 Washington Street. In its place is Shamone, which was featured on Restaurant Startup earlier this year. They’re offering just one seating per day, $30 per head, and the menu is a surprise. Ragtime has closed its doors after three decades. We just popped in and the space is still vacant.

On Jackson Street, beside Louisa’s Chocolate Bar, the nautical-themed boutique Neversink closed after just a season, but SeaStar Boutique, which you might know from West End Garage, has moved in! Mariah’s Fine Gifts is being replaced by Boutiques at 221 Jackson St, which will hold its grand opening June 3rd.


Cape May Sweet House

Moving down to the 300 block, longstanding mall staple Morrow’s Nut House has closed after more than 30 years in business. The Morrows family sold both of their locations, including the one on the promenade. But don’t worry–the mall won’t be down a candy store. Will Riccio, who owns Louisa’s Cafe and Louisa’s Chocolate Bar, has been restoring the building over the past month. We walked past a few days ago when it was getting a fresh coat of paint on the exterior. The signs are up for Cape May Sweet House, which will still offer freshly roasted nuts and the old-fashioned candy Morrow’s was known for. The beachfront location is not going to be a candy store; at this time, we have no more info.

We were shocked to see that the gift store American West has closed its door, but a fantastic new gift store has taken its place! South of Jackson offers quirky, smart merchandise, and is already a favorite among our staff. The store owners are part of the same family that run Madame’s Port and Across the Way.

A block over, in Carpenters Square Mall, we are excited to welcome Pretty Tasty Cupcake Boutique (featured in the June issue of Cape May Magazine). Yozu Japanese Restaurant, which took over the former Gecko’s spot for one season, is out and we look forward to traditional cuisine at La Dona Restaurante Mexicano.

Over at the Beach Theater complex, Summer Salt is closed. LiLi Health Spa is open. Bry’s Beach and Bike will be opening shortly, and they’ve taken over the old theater ticket window.


South of Jackson

Okay. We know this is the one you’re waiting for, so we’ll stop delaying. We’re relieved to tell you that HotDog Tommy’s, despite rumors, is not gone, just under new ownership! Everything you love is staying (including the hat, we think), but the new owner, Bruce Carlino of Ocean City, is adding a breakfast sandwich to the menu.

We’re sorry to tell you that another bed and breakfast has closed its doors. At the end of last year, Poor Richard’s Inn on Jackson Street sold and is no longer an operating B&B. But the former Summer Cottage Inn on Columbia, a once B&B turned guest house, changed hands and is now The Harrison Bed and Breakfast.

Up on the beachfront, Room 429 at M’Ocean (formerly M’Ocean and Martini Beach–the restaurant above Cabanas) underwent yet another rebranding and is now the Iron Pier Craft House. They’re returning to the small plates Martini Beach used to offer, this time with traditional bar food featuring local ingredients,. And we love the nod to a historic Cape May icon. Coffee Tyme, at 315 Beach Avenue, has changed hands but remains where it is.


La Dona

We told you last year that Lucky Bones was opening Lucky Bones Beach, which was planning to offer an assortment of burgers. It didn’t end up opening last year, but we hear they do have plans to operate this summer.

Some other changes around town: The Big Wave Burrito enthusiasts in the office are excited at the grand opening of Aloha Smoothie Co at 7 Gurney Street. Smoothies, acai bowls, gold pressed juices, and vegan fare. Late last summer, we welcomed Juice Caboose to 656 Washington Street. They offer fresh juice and soups. And happily, they’re open year-round!

The Cape Winds Hotel on Lafayette Street was bought by the Hirsch family, owners of the Montreal Inn. And speaking of the Montreal, they’re celebrating 50 years in business this summer AND just wrapped a full restoration of their house restaurant, Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grill. And speaking of renovations, we hear the Washington Inn is showing off a new look this season as well.

Artisans Alcove, at the corner of Elmira and Lafayette, has new owners that renamed it Queen May Estate Jewelry and installed a pretty new sign out front. Mariah’s gift shop is downsizing to a booth in West End Garage and Free Love Cape May is opening in its place, according to this week’s EZ. Italiano Pizza has moved out of 600 Park Boulevard, and merMade has taken its place, a spa experience geared toward children ages 3-12. They specialize in themed birthday parties.

Resort Wear Outlet down Liberty Way

Resort Wear Outlet down Liberty Way

Jumping over to West Cape May, Sunset Gas Station will operate this season, with plans to develop the Exit Zero Filling Station next year. (Yes, that Exit Zero!) Cape May Bakers is closing, and the West End Garage will expand into its place.

Over the bridge, we’re curious about planned changes to the Bayshore Inn, which is undergoing renovations in partnership with the owner of Back Bay Bistro in Villas. The Bayshore, a longstanding fixture of North Cape May, will be renamed the Red Brick Ale House & Grille.

On Seashore Road a few miles north, Historic Cold Spring Village is opening Cold Spring Brewery (featured in Cape May Magazine’s spring issue, which is slated to open sometime this spring. The brewery is being constructed in a c. 1804 barn relocated from Marmora in Upper Township.

Barbara Wilde, owner of the Southern Mansion and Willow Creek Winery, purchased LeGates Farm on Bayshore Road. Just a few hours ago on Facebook, they announced the Willow Creek Farm and Vineyard at LeGates.

And finally, at 970 Ocean Drive, the former Sharky’s, which operated as Fly Boys for a season, is now Fish Cakes Dockside Grill. We can attest that they have delicious muffins. (We had them for breakfast.)


  • Lil Pineapple by the folks at Wanderlust just opened at 727 Beach Avenue, under the Hotel Macomber

That’s a wrap for this year. Do you know something we missed? Let us know so we can add it! Drop a comment below or tweet us @lovecapemay

Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone 2015

There have been a lot of changes in Cape May this year, especially with our restaurants. Here is the breakdown of who’s new, who’s moved, and who’s gone.


  • The Bedford Inn is reopened after a fire
  • The Fairthorne B&B is closed
  • The Primrose B&B is closed and is now a whole-house rental


  • M’Ocean is now Room 429 at M’Ocean
  • Boiler Room at Congress Hall now offers draft beer and brick-over pizza, a blend of Neapolitan and New York style.
  • Fins Bar and Grill is replacing the Pilot House at 142 Decatur Street, featuring fresh food from the land and sea, from the chef at Peter Shields Inn. The building is now bright blue.
  • Depot Market under new ownership as of 4/16, John and Josephine Siuta (formerly of Martini Beach).
  • Gecko’s moved to West Cape May and offers takeout and seating on the premises. Yozu sushi has taken its place at the Carpenters Square Mall.
  • Exit Zero Cookhouse is opening up June 5th at 109 Sunset Boulevard, offering down-to-earth food with a twist.
  • Jo Jo Pizzeria Cuisine opened at the end of last season at 101 Liberty Way
  • The Little Store is taking over Tony’s Pizza at 1208 Route 109. Michel Gras’ fresh croissants and cinnamon buns will be sold alongside produce from Manteca’s organic Fincas del Mar farm.
  • Louisa’s Cafe added another 12 seats to their existing 20.
  • Lucky Bones Beach will be serving up surfer-chic burger takeout with natural Pennsylvania beef burgers (plus lamb and salmon), fries, and shakes sometime in June.
  • Mayer’s Bar and Restaurant is closed. It was purchased by the Lobster House. No plans for the location have been released.
  • Primo Hoagies is closed. O’Nice has taken its place.
  • Bliss Organic Ice Cream is closed, rumored to be offered wholesale in the future. Peace Pies has taken its place, offering an ice cream sandwich with a layer of pie filling. (They’re good; trust us.)
  • Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls is opening on Beach Ave. This is their second location (Flagship store in Berwyn, PA)
  • Cucina Rosa closed. That’s Amore has taken its place at 301 Washington Street.
  • Captain’s Cove is closed. Tony’s Pizza has been reborn there at 1216 NJ 109.


  • Art Block, a paint-your-own-pottery store, has opened at 108 Liberty Way.
  • Cape May Organic Market has new owners, Julie Slack and Rob Castor. Look for a combo of local and Lancaster County sourced items.
  • Cape May Boutique and Resort Wear is open at 412 Washington Street.
  • D’May Home Gallery, an art gallery, is opening later this month at 401 Washington Street.
  • Happy Baby has moved to West Perry Street and is under new ownership (Alison Patrick).
  • Louisa’s Chocolate Bar moved into the space previously occupied by Happy Baby.
  • Makers Making has replaced the Shoe Rack at 418 Washington Street. They sell hand-made items with a focus on design.
  • Never Sink, a maritime store, opened at Lyle and Jackson.
  • A golf cars rental store has opened at 600 Park Boulevard in West Cape May.
  • Wood Nook has been replaced by Sei Bella at 507 Washington Street in Liberty Way.
  • Sunshine News & Beach has closed
  • Ella Rae Boutique has gone out of Washington Commons. Valentino’s & The Pirates Lair has taken its place.


  • Fine Fellows Creamistry has opened at 313 Beach Avenue
  • Mad About Cape May has replaced Shark Bait at the corner of Beach and Jackson

Do you know of another new business or business change? Tell us about it in the comments or tweet @lovecapemay and we’ll update the list!