OCEAN CITY – A new local hotspot opened last week and is aiming to provide a comfortable beach scene for locals and tourists alike to enjoy drinks, food and entertainment.
According to owner Ed Burger, the grand opening of Surf’s Up Café on 54th Street and the bay last Thursday was a great success.
“It went well,” Burger said. “A lot of locals and friends that we anticipated on coming came in but we also saw a lot of new faces as well.”
Burger is originally from New Jersey and moved to Ocean City about 20 years ago. He was the general manager at Pickles Pub for 13 years and said the opportunity to open Surfs Up Café just fell into his lap.
He said there really was no magic behind the establishment’s name, it just made since after living on the beach all of his life.
“One day ‘surfs up’ came into my head and I added café to the back of it,” Burger said. “It seemed like everybody I talked to thought it was a great name for a bar and restaurant.”
Once the name had been settled on, Burger said he wanted to base the bar and restaurant off of a surf theme.
“We are just looking for a place where locals and tourists can come and seem like they’re sitting at a friend’s house,” he said.
Burger also explained that Surf’s Up Café has taken on a “mixing pot” of Ocean City’s bar and restaurant industry’s long-time employees. He added that the staff’s familiar faces are what sets Surf’s Up Cafe apart from the rest.
“It’s all long-term locals that have moved on from other jobs they have been with,” he said. “So everybody has brought a lot to the plate including the menu and bar specials.”
Bar Manager Jeremy Blackford, who has previously worked at Pickles Pub, Seacrets, and BJ’s on the Water, has brought tasty drink specials to the menu, including the Surf’s Up Punch.
General Manager Jack Seaman moved to the area from Pennsylvania and brought with him his original Philly-style cheesesteak recipe.
“We just can’t keep enough stock in the house,” Burger said. “They are just selling that fast.”
Other familiar faces are head chef Jim Goff, who previously worked at Pickles Pub, and bartender Nathan Todd, who has worked at several locations around town.
Burger said Surf’s Up Café has a unique menu compared to other restaurants in town.
“We offer everything from baskets of fries to a surf and turf dinner,” he said. “There are a couple different twists that we brought to the menu.”
The lunch menu includes a crab cake wrap, which Burger believes is a first on the local restaurant scene. He added that while working at Pickles he had offered a Monte Cristo sandwich as a lunch special every once awhile. “I added it as a menu item because I knew how well it sold…it’s been a really hot menu item,” he said.
Happy hour is seven days a week from 4 to 7 p.m. Drink specials include $2 domestic drafts, domestic cans and rail drinks. To add to the local theme, a local drink special that includes a Natural Light and a side car of black berry brandy can be enjoyed for $4. Food specials include sautéed scallops, Nachos Grande, personal pizza and crab cake sliders, all for $5.
According to Burger, after renovations, Surf’s Up Café now features the largest deck on Coastal Highway in Ocean City.
“What we are becoming known for is the bamboo bar, which our bar is made completely of bamboo,” he said.
The restaurant contains three entities. The south room provides seating for casual fine dining. The middle room is the bamboo bar and the north end is called the “Surf in Sports Bar” that includes seating, amusements and live entertainment.
“From what I’m hearing from a lot of locals is everyone thinks it’s going to be a hit in Ocean City once we really get off our feet here,” Burger said.
Burger anticipates locals to find a new home at Surf’s Up Café. He intends to stay open year-round and will serve light fare up until 1 a.m. The full menu is also available for carry out and for more information check out www.surfsupcafeoc.com.
“Because we know it’s a business we treat it more of like a friendship … it’s a fun place to be,” Burger said. “You have to come see it to believe it.”