BERLIN — Less than a month into new ownership, the Assateague Island Oasis is already prepping for a busy summer and anticipation of a strong fall season, according to owner Stephanie Dietz, who added that Oasis is hoping to become a local hotspot on Route 611.
“We really want to cater to them,” said Dietz of the local crowd.
Since opening in early July, Dietz has been working to mold Oasis into a unique restaurant with a focus on a comfortable atmosphere and affordable food.
“We’re more casual, local,” she said.
Before beginning the process of acquiring Oasis earlier this spring, Dietz admitted that her original goal was just to open a small doughnut shop.
After nearly 20 years in the restaurant business, a large chunk of which was spent creating doughnuts in Ocean City, Dietz said that her intent was to take that knowledge and start up a modest business herself. However, her desire to branch out coincided with the availability of Oasis. With a little encouragement from family and friends, Dietz decided to tackle running a full-service restaurant.
With Oasis, which is located close to both Berlin and Assateague off Route 611, Dietz felt like she had found the perfect spot. Once the ball began rolling, though, she realized that the building needed a lot of work.
“We had to re-model the whole kitchen,” she said. “We had to re-model the whole place.”
To help run Oasis, Dietz brought long-time friends Mary Trump and Kathy Beebe onboard. Trump and Beebe have more than two decades of food service experience combined and, like Dietz, gained most of that working in Ocean City and the surrounding area.
“We’re all local,” said Dietz.
That local focus extends to everything from additional employees to ingredients, with many of Oasis’ cooks and servers living nearby while much of the produce is purchased from roadside stands along Route 611.
Along with the renovations and new look, Dietz is bringing in a fresh menu featuring a lot of what she called “tailgate” food. Fried pickles share space on the menu with colossal Buffalo wings along with crab cakes and seafood, which Dietz revealed are especially popular. Because Oasis has been open less than a month, Dietz promised that the menu will continue to grow throughout the summer.
“We’re definitely going to extend the menu,” she said, noting that all menu items are also available for carry-out.
Having opened in mid-summer, Dietz admitted that the restaurant seemed to surprise some people, including locals who visited the eatery under prior owners. But she claimed that Oasis is already generating regulars and is expected to do well coming into the fall, when Dietz is anticipating a boost from autumn sports.
“We’re looking forward to football season,” she said, adding that NASCAR is also expected to be a big draw for the restaurant in addition to the influx of campers to Assateague.