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