Well is it that time of year already? If it’s June, it must be time for CapeMay.com’s annual look at Who’s New, Who’s Moved, Who’s Gone and who’s turned it over to someone new. We haven’t seen this much change in town in over three decades. Let’s begin with the Washington Street Mall where the majority of the turnover has taken place.
In the 300 block of the Washington Street Mall, Mermaids, 305 Washington Street, is out and Gallery D’May is in. The owners, John and Dawn DeMayo, who also own and operate the Victorian Walk Gallery on the second level of the City Centre Mall in the 400 block the Mall, have done a beautiful job of renovating the building both inside and out. Fine art and object d’art are offered.
However, the most significant change in this block is the absence of Stumpo’s Italian Restaurant, 316 Washington Street. A fixture on the Mall, since about 1972, Stumpo’s closed their doors shortly before Christmas last year. The building has been sold and there is mix of the old and new in terms of stores. Dairy Queen remains in its old location. Andrews Limited moved across the street to ground floor where the Lynn Arden’s Children’s Shop was located at 325 Washington Street. Bath Time, previously located on Jackson Street, is now a welcomed addition to the Mall at 318 Washington Street.
Lynn Arden’s Children’s Shop moved to the second floor of the 325 building. Meanwhile, back at 316 Washington Street, Tisha’s Restaurant is completely renovating that property which also encompassed the Stumpo Pizzeria on Carpenters Lane. Tisha’s moved from the Solarium on Beach Avenue, next to the still condemned and still not rebuilt Convention Hall. The Solarium was to have been moved east on Beach Avenue as part the Sewell Park renovation, but the move was put on hold once City Council realized there were no public bathrooms to accommodate that section of town. Tisha’s expects to be open for the July 4th weekend. And Best Darn Kettlecorn is on the side of the building, across from the Whale’s Tale on Sawyer’s Walk.
Wow! Let’s move over to the 400 block where things a little calmer. Due to the recent and untimely death of owner Steve Protasi, Donna’s Hallmark, 401 Washington Street, will be under new management. Allison and Vince Stewart, owners of the Zoo Company in City Centre Mall, have taken over the store. We R Kids in the City Center Mall’s second floor are gone and Vintage Old Time Photos are in. Henry’s is still at its 407 Washington Street Mall location, but you may not recognize it. Gone are the sweatshirts and a redo of the interior reflects the store’s re-commitment as a jewelery store, or as it’s logo says – “Cape May’s Landmark Jeweler.”
In the 300 block, Carli’s Furniture and Gift Store, 504 Washington Street, is out. Just For Laughs, brought to you by the folks who own Kaleidoscope, just next door, is in. Just for Laughs features humorous gift items with a woman’s point of view in mind. Back in Liberty Way, 507 Washington Street, the Cape May Sign Company is out and there is no replacement as yet.
Carpenters Lane has a couple of changes. M. S. Brown’s Jeweler’s is out. Splash is in. Owned by Hilary and Chuck Pritchard of The Whale’s Tale, one of Cape May’s first new wave entrepreneurs back in the late’70s, the store features hand crafted jewelry, sea glass and fine gift items. At the west end of Carpenters Lane, Tuscany Café, the little cottage located between the Merry Widow Guest House and Gecko’s Restaurant, have moved to the West End Garage on Perry Street. An eatery is expected to open there within the month specializing in salads and “to go” items for those of you on the run.
Across the Ocean Street at Washington Commons, the most obvious change is the one who see as soon as you cross the street. Shore Design is out after nearly a decade. Pete Smith’s Surf Shop got kicked out of the Solarium on the beachfront next to the might-as-well-be-boarded-up Convention Hall, along with Tisha’s and has moved in to the spot previously occupied by Shore Design. Riptide is out and that store vacant, but they moved two doors down to where Ocean Blue was. Ocean Blue is out and did not relocate. The stock was absorbed by its sister store Colors, which is on the Mall. Maggie’s Restaurant, next to Washington Commons Gallery, is out and currently vacant.
Primo’s Hoagies opened in the new store front on Lafayette Street across from the Acme and right next to Village Bikes.
Going out of town, Copper Fish is gone from its location at the base of Schellenger Bridge and relocated to 416 South Broadway, formerly Moonfish Grill, which is gone. That spot has had quite a turn since the old Daniel’s Restaurant days. We wish Chef Geoff Johnson luck in his new digs. Moving into the old Copper Fish spot is Latitudes, owned by Bryan Brodowski.
Back in town, on Ocean Street, near Freda’s Café, the Ocean Street Gallery is gone. Bamboo Shack is in, moved from its previous location on Jackson Street.
Further down Washington Street, much to our dismay, Heather’s Hair Salon, 656 Washington Street, is out. Heather’s has moved to the Villas, 2204 Bayshore Road. And those of us who never leave the island are most distressed. Next to Heather’s a neighborhood specialty grocery store (Halleluiah!!) opened called Mega Mex, specializing in Mexican items as well as your run-of-the-mill box of Post Raisin Bran. A few doors down, Gail Pierson of the Gail Pierson Gallery, 658 Washington Street, is opening another gallery, Art District, right next door to herself, 600 Washington Street.
At Texas Avenue, where the only WaWa in town is located and across from the C-View Restaurant, Big Wave Burritos is in and we’re not quite sure what was there before.
On the beachfront, we already talked about the Solarium being vacated but speaking of being vacated, the Beach Theatre is dark and will remain so. Franks Theaters who reclaimed management of the 1951 movie house last summer after the non-profit Beach Theatre Foundation tried a stab the previous summer at both saving the theater from the wrecking cram and running the operation as tenants of the Franks lost the lease in a dispute regarding the safety of the theatre. The Middle Eastern restaurant next to ZeeBob’s Clothing Store is gone and The Sea Shanty is preparing for a grand opening. Shades of Cape May, also in the movie theater shopping center, is out and moved up to the 400 block of the Washington Street Mall last summer.
Further up the avenue, Seaside Sweets, vacated last summer, is still vacant. All the little shops at the Akroteria, across from Steger’s Beach, look as though they are returning.
On the east end of town, at the Montreal Hotel, the former Cafe Promenade is now Harry’s Ocean Bar and Grill. Named after Montreal Hotel founder and octogenarian, Harry Hirsch.
On Elmira Street, The Depot Market saw a change in ownership this year. Longtime chefs (Mad Batter) Chris and Lisa Shriver took over the Depot earlier this year and are bringing their flare for wholesome, slow cooked food, not to mention breakfast, including a chorizo egg and cheese burrito, specialty baked goods, assorted breakfast sandwiches, and more.
Over on Jackson Street, across from Swain’s and where the WaWa used to be (insert boo hoos here), as we said earlier, Bath Time is out and moved onto the Mall. Miss Demeanor – a women’s clothing boutique – is in. Bamboo Shack is also out, moved over to Ocean Street, The Ladies Room Consignment Boutique is in. The Guardian and Mariah’s Gift Shop are still there and waiting for you to take a nice walk over and pay them a call.
Over in West Cape May, on Perry and West Perry Street we have some changes. Simply Sushi, right next to Higher Grounds Coffee, is out. Key West Taco is in. We hear some good things about Key West Taco – great ambience, great food at a great price. The West End Garage on West Perry Street, directly across from Wilbraham Park, opened last summer. Craftsmen, artists and purveyors of stuff gather there in an upscale artsy milieu.
Over at Park Boulevard Shops, Lisa’s Bake Shop didn’t make it through the summer and has been taken over by Seaside Cheese Shop. Now you have twice the space to taste cheeses and order some salami and prosciutto to go with it.
Over on Sunset Drive heading toward the point in the little shopping area known as Chattel House Village, Exit Zero’s retail outlet moved out of its Congress Hall location and into the former location of Birdhouse gift shop. Birdhouse moved into Sea Level’s location, closest to Sunset. Sea Level is out – in a sense. It was owned by the same people who operate Birdhouse. They simply absorbed the products into one location.
Further up on North Broadway, Bazaar Imports is out and Cape Winds Florist, formerly on Steven’s Street, is in and quite an eye catching addition to the corner of Broadway and Stimpson Lane.
Well, that’s the scoop for the summer of 2010. Give the new kids on the block a try and keep patronizing the tried and true. If we’ve forgotten anyone, give us an email, adieu until next year.