Perhaps it’s the salt air, but when you’re on vacation at the Jersey Shore, you arise early and go out for a huge breakfast. And that’s just the start of a day spent eating from four of the Shore’s major food groups: baked goodies, pizza, subs, and ice cream.
But where to go?
While quizzing locals on their favorites, I realized that longevity matters. There’s a reason Browns has been selling doughnuts in Ocean City for 41 years and Manco & Manco’s — formerly Mack & Manco’s — has been spraying tomatoes on top of pizzas through a sauce hose for 61 years. Some people patronize them purely out of nostalgia, but most really like the food. Competitors arise all the time, and either make it or fail. It’s the marketplace at work.
Starting on Long Beach Island and headed down to Cape May, here’s a collection of destinations for fine casual eats. Your favorites may not be here. In fact, I’m fairly certain they’re not. This is not designed to be all-encompassing, just a taste of recommendations. A conversation-starter. Share your favorites in the comments. — Michael Klein
Shore Good Donuts
1211 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom
For made-to-order doughnuts.
Holiday Snack Bar
401 Centre St., Beach Haven.
For a cake called the Lady Lord Baltimore.
110 Boardwalk, Ocean City
For cinnamon ring doughnuts.
9307 Ventnor Ave., Margate; 3101 Atlantic-Brigantine Blvd., Brigantine
For sticky buns.
Junior’s Donuts & Dogs
9315 Amherst Ave., Margate
For cake doughnuts by the ocean.
2105 Ocean Dr., Avalon;
1340 Bay Ave., Ocean City;
5008 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
For sticky buns.
1225 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
For customizable doughnuts.
2709 Dune Dr., Avalon
For sticky buns and doughnuts.
10700 Third Ave., Stone Harbor
For sticky buns.
730 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
For buns (how about a bacon cinnamon bun?).
1208 Route 109, Cape May
For cinnamon buns.
505 Carpenters Ln., Cape May
Their mini-doughnuts have no calories — or at least fewer than the regulation ones.
1318 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom
Your basic pizzeria, with a decent selection of slices.
Tony’s Baltimore Grill
2800 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City
For bar pizza and a dose of nostalgia
Manco & Manco’s
Three locations on Ocean City’s boardwalk; Ocean Heights Shopping Center, Somers Point
Hectic dining rooms, thin-crust pies.
1260 West Ave, Ocean City
For Neapolitan pizza out of a brick oven.
Tony P’s House of Pie
986 on Ocean City’s boardwalk
Classic Shore pizza.
1200 New Rd., Northfield
A favorite for coal-fired Neapolitan pies.
200 Tilton Rd., Northfield
A touch more elegant than Carluccio’s, for wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.
Pop A Pizza
6418 Ventnor Ave., Ventnor
For thin and crispy slices.
4911 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
For brick-oven pizza.
6118 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
Multiple varieties, including vegan.
Stone Harbor Pizza Pub
315 96th St. at The Reeds,
New this year, for pies and local beers outdoors.
Poppi’s Pizza Napoletana
4709 New Jersey Ave., Wildwood
Topflight wood-fired pies
Sam’s Pizza Palace
2600 Boardwalk, Wildwood
A boardwalk staple for 60 years.
315 Ocean St., Cape May
For thin-crust pizza and the more substantial nonna focaccia.
1432 Texas Ave., Cape May
Multiple stands up and down the Shore
Serving frozen custard since 1919.
9305 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Township
Old-time dairy bar.
2760 Asbury Ave.,
Margate Dairy Bar
9510 Ventnor Ave., Margate
A 1950s-era landmark, redone more than a decade ago.
TJ’s Ice Cream Plus
100 E. Atlantic Blvd., Ocean City
For 60 flavors of ice cream, plus baked goods.
928 Boardwalk, Ocean City
Center City-rooted Thai rolled ice
cream shop, opening Memorial Day weekend.
Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream
9420 Third Ave.,
Makes its way onto many best-of lists.
5210 Pacific Ave., Wildwood
sundaes, the arcade, and mini golf.
Vanilla Bean Creamery
958 Rt. 109,
For small-batch ice cream. Banana Butterfinger!
Subs Up Deli
4008 Long Beach Blvd., Beach Haven
For what our correspondent believes could actually pass for genuine hoagies.
300 Oriental Ave., Atlantic City
For great subs, but also some of the best pizza and sandwiches anywhere.
White House Subs
2301 Arctic Ave., Atlantic City
Where you often must brave long lines. For a reason.
8016 Ventnor Ave., Margate
Especially for the tuna.
742 Ohio Ave., Absecon
Where the subs are overstuffed.
501 Zion Rd., Egg Harbor Township
For an Italian.
Sack O’ Subs
A veggie sub worth writing home about.
957 West Ave., Ocean City
A takeout with first-rate sandwiches as well as Italian foods.
Berenato’s Corner Deli
47 Atlantic Ave., Ocean City
Always service with a smile.
4309 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
For well-built sandwiches in a heavenly smelling Italian deli.
Want more of the Shore? Pick up a copy of our 2017 Shore Guide, packed with the sights, sounds, and tastes of summer.