OCEAN CITY – The 45th Street Taphouse “kicks up bar food” and offers 36 cold beers on tap to add to the restaurant’s unique Ocean City atmosphere.
General Manager/Executive Chef Jeff Burton was hired by the Sibony family, owner of the Sunsations stores, the 45th Street Village and other properties in Ocean City, in March of 2011 to develop the 9th Street and 45th Street Taphouse.
“They are a great family to work for,” Burton said of the Sibonys. “They have been probably the best bosses I have ever had.”
Burton and his wife, Juli, opened the 9th Street Taphouse in the Paradise Plaza Inn on March 27, 2011 and the 45th Street Taphouse Bar and Grille in the village on March 16 this year.
The Sibonys own The Taphouse in Virginia Beach and were looking to bring the same concept to Ocean City. That is when Burton, who was working as a consultant for other restaurants in the area, joined the team to carry the concept out adding some of his touches along the way.
“When I came in, he [Abi Sibony] kind of had an idea of what he wanted in his head and we just needed to put it on paper, have architects draw it out and build the concept out,” Burton said.
The 45th Street Village contained a variety of mini shops and had lost its spark over time. The way it was originally built it hid a gorgeous bay view.
“Everybody knew there was water behind the building but nobody knew what kind of water view we really had until we ripped it down, and that is the main reason we put it back up the way we did,” Burton said. “Now from Coastal Highway you can see how we are sitting on the bay and what a big beautiful view we have … I would literally put our sunset up against anybody else’s down here.”
Burton created 45th Street Taphouse Bar and Grille’s menu to evolve around the traditional bar food menu but tweaked it to make it one of a kind. The restaurant serves American cuisine and uses local ingredients where everything is made fresh daily from scratch.
“I want people to understand that we are just not a tap house, we don’t just sell beer, we have great food here and we have a great, great, breakfast right on the bay,” Burton said. “We are a true restaurant.”
The breakfast menu features Surf N Benedict, which has two fried green tomatoes, Maryland jumbo lump crabcakes, topped with poached eggs and an Old Bay hollandaise. Also, Poor Boy Benedict, Canadian Benedict and Key West Benedict, which is an English muffin, shrimp, grilled tomato spinach, asparagus, poached eggs and key lime hollandaise.
“We are the only ones doing breakfast on the bay, directly on the bay,” Burton said.
The lunch menu has Fish In Chips, which is fresh Rockfish, with homemade potato chips to make the crust, flash fried and served with a spicy mango ketchup and Old Bay tartar sauce. Their most popular dish is the crab cakes that have no filler just jumbo lump crab meat.
Dinner selections include the Smoked Prime Rib, Sea Fra Diablo, which is overflowing with seafood, or the Asian BBQ Salmon, which is served with coconut rice.
The 45th Street Taphouse also has a smoker where they slow smoke bacon, fish and even prime rib.
“Everything is made fresh daily,” Burton said. “We make everything here from scratch, from smoking our own bacon to making our own mayonnaise and dressings, and we make everything in house.”
The 45th Street Taphouse has 36 beers on tap, ranging from Baltimore’s own Natty Boh to many local craft brews, including Burley Oak in Berlin, EVO in Salisbury, 16 Mile in Georgetown and Dogfish in Milton.
Taphouse visitors can taste any beer before choosing or order a sample paddle, which gives you a sample of four beers for $6.
The 45th Street Taphouse contains an indoor bar and dining room seating, two separate dining rooms on the other side of the kitchen and an outdoor deck and bar, so all in all the establishment holds about 475 seats. There is plenty of space for private parties and small events.
The Taphouse is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving breakfast 9 a.m. to noon and lunch beginning at 11 a.m.
Starting this week live music will be provided Wednesday through Sunday.
Another addition to 45th Street Village is OC Steamers, which is slated to open today, Friday, June 8.
It is a full-service seafood restaurant specializing in steam pots and steamed crabs. Steamed crabs won’t come for another couple of weeks while a few finishing touches of the restaurants construction are being completed. When all is said and done, the establishment will include a fresh seafood market and an outdoor bar.
“I think for us it is customer service,” Burton replied when The Dispatch asked what sets the 45th Street Taphouse apart from the rest. “It is what we strive for … we are customer oriented. We try to make everyone happy.”