OCEAN CITY — If you miss
Mad Hatters, you should get in line and check out Crazy 8’s, Ocean City’s
newest midtown lunch spot.
With 32,000 different
options from their “build your own deli sandwich”, you may never have to have
the same thing twice, although early reviews are indicating a few instant
favorites just a couple months into operations.
If you ask any
proprietor of a local business how they got into business, you might be
surprised at how the whole thing came about, and Eugene Stiltner is no
different in that respect, as his path to becoming an Ocean City business owner
wasn’t exactly a straight shot from point A to point B.
After a year on the
island of St. Thomas and managing The Big Kahuna, which is owned by the
proprietors of the Party Block, whom Stiltner also worked with for several
seasons in Ocean City, Stiltner chose to move back to the resort, with a new
fiancé, a baby on the way and a plan for a business in his pocket.
“I’ve had a couple of
concepts over the years, but when this building came available, it was like
everything came together at once,” said Stiltner. “I came back with the full
intention of finding something and getting a business started, and I’ve been
lucky enough to surround myself with good people and things have taken off so
Crazy 8’s is located
within the K Coast Surf Shop’s 35th Street headquarters and is in
the former location of The Toucan and Mad Hatters, two similar lunch spots
which, for what ever reason, came and went from the local business ranks. Stiltner hopes that his high quality
selections aren’t merely passed off as simple lunch eats.
“We want to cater to the
niche market that Panera [Bread] has created or what Mad Hatters had when it
was in Ocean City,” explained Stiltner. “That quick and casual lunch fare, but
not a simple sub shop. I love sub shops down here, but I wanted to go in a
different direction, pushing soups and salads and specialty sandwiches you
can’t get anywhere else.”
The concept of the higher end, health conscious lunch spots have proven to work
in the past but not necessarily in Ocean City, and that is something that
Stiltner is hoping to change.
“We wanted to wow people
with what they ordered with the presentation, but still keep everything under
$10, thus keeping it quick and timely for folks who want a quick bite to eat,”
said Stiltner. “That’s what we were shooting for, and people have been loving
the food so far, especially our Mexinini sandwich.”
The name Crazy 8’s,
which was coined by Stiltner’s mother, seems to indicate variety, as there are
eight different kinds of Boar’s Head deli meats to choose from, in addition to
eight separate choices for sauces, toppings, cheeses and breads, but Stiltner
hopes as time goes on, it will become synonymous as the go-to spot for those in
search of a great lunch and not just a great sandwich in Ocean City.
“I wanted a place where
a lawyer could come in during his lunch break and sit across from a guy who
just got out of the water from surfing,” he said. “That’s been my goal from the
The 40-seat space also
boasts a little hidden gem of an additional 24 seats on the canal outside which
Stiltner says has been well received thus far, especially by tourists.
“The guys at K Coast
have been so supportive and we will be looking at ways to cross-promote each
other as the summer goes on, but I’ve got a great staff, and I couldn’t have
asked for a better guy to run the kitchen in Harry Holden, so even though I’m
starting a business in an economy like this, I’m looking forward to our first
summer here,” Stiltner said.
Stiltner admits that he
knows that owning a new business creates a new level of stress and worry that
can keep a man up at night, but he says that he’s more concerned about another
factor that will be keeping him up at night in the upcoming months.
“I’m probably more
scared about becoming a dad, even though I can’t wait for it to happen,” said
Stiltner. “At least I’ve run restaurants before, but being a dad is totally