General’s Kitchen Looking To Keep OC Tradition Alive With New Location

Owner Bob Noll, right, and Manager Law Adkins, back, are pictured with staff members at the General's Kitchen last Friday. Photo by Joanne Shriner

OCEAN CITY – General’s Kitchen’s tradition at its current site will come to a close at the end of the year, leaving the “house of chipped beef” searching for a new home.
In August, General’s Kitchen, located within the Beachmark Motel on 74th Street and Coastal Highway, was informed by the property owner its lease will not be renewed.

General’s Kitchen boasts 45 years of tradition in Ocean City. Owner Robert Noll’s stepfather, Gus Bollas, and his first wife, Mary Bollas, opened the restaurant in the George Washington Hotel on 10th Street and the Boardwalk where it received its name in honor of General George Washington.

When there was discussion of demolishing the hotel, General’s Kitchen moved to its current location on 74th Street in the early 1980s. Previously, it was home to a bank.

Bollas later remarried to Noll’s mother, Angela Bollas, who took over the restaurant when he passed away in April of 2000, and when she passed away this past December, the family business was passed onto Noll.

“General’s Kitchen, if I have it my way, will remain in Ocean City. I am not going to abandon Ocean City. This is a tradition that started in Ocean City, and I am going to honor my stepdad’s wishes. Even my mom, in her last months when we renewed the lease made it known to the property owner … her son was going to keep it going for her family. She considered the employees her kids, her family and she wanted to look out for them to make sure the tradition kept going. I am committed to that,” Noll said in an interview last Friday.

According to Noll, the property owner did not inform Noll until August that the lease would not be renewed, leaving him only four months to find a new location. Noll even recently completed renovations to the restaurant with permission from the property owner.

“He just said it is time for a change,” Noll said. “His idea of a change is he is going to allow another restaurant to come in here, which will be run by a personal friend of his.”

The restaurant’s lease is up on Dec. 31. Noll and his long-time manager, Law Adkins, who has worked at the restaurant for 22 years, are currently seeking a new location in Ocean City. He hopes to remain between 33rd and 139th streets but has not had any luck finding a space that will seat over 84 guests, which is the space he currently serves.

“In the summer time, there is not a day you won’t see a line down the street, and sometimes it will even come around the building. A lot of those people are repeat customers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York or all over who say they come for General’s Kitchen. It’s all about the tradition and the food. There are not that many restaurants in Ocean City that have been here more than 45 years,” Noll said.

General’s Kitchen has become a tradition in Ocean City for many residents and visitors, both new and returning, as they open their doors at 6:30 a.m. serving home-made breakfast and lunch recipes, such as the famous creamed chipped beef and Spanish sauce that Gus Bollas created himself. The original recipes have lived on as the current cook, Reine, has worked at General’s Kitchen for over 20 years and was trained by Gus Bollas himself.

“We offer quality food. You don’t leave here hungry. You leave here happy and satisfied,” Noll said. “We don’t cut corners. It is always the top of the line.”

Not only can guests depend on General’s Kitchen’s menu but also the restaurant’s familiar and friendly staff.

“My main concern is my employees. A lot of my staff has been here for over 10 years. This is their source of income, and they support themselves and their families. To sit down and tell them what was happening on Labor Day weekend some of them started crying not knowing what they were going to do. I am not going down without a fight,” Noll said.

Noll, who has retired as a lieutenant from Ocean City Police Department after serving 35 years, has carried on Gus Bollas’s philosophy to serve the public, especially those in uniform.

“Gus had that philosophy going back to when he served in World War II with the military … and when he came here to Ocean City his philosophy was to treat the people right and to feed the people, make sure they come in for a healthy breakfast or lunch, and they don’t leave hungry. We are here for the people and that tradition will live on,” Noll said.

Noll has taken his stepdad’s philosophy further by designing the 9/11 Memorial at both the Public Safety Building and General’s Kitchen where the pictures of all the firefighters and police who lost their life on that day is on display. Many have visited General’s Kitchen because of the memorial or are taken by surprise walking in to find a loved one on the wall.

Noll reassured the search will continue for a new location if General’s Kitchen has not relocated by the end of the year.

“He is the [property] owner. It’s his decision. He has every right to do what he wants. I would have rather had him tell me in January and I would have seven months extra to look but right now it’s very hard,” Noll said. “Customers have come up to me and I have heard them talk to the waiters and waitresses. They are all in disbelief that the property owner will not renew our lease. They have all said, ‘Wherever you go, we will go’.”

Adkins, who began working at the restaurant in high school as a bus boy, is hopeful the change in the end will be a good thing.

“It’s tough. I have been here so long. It is going to be a transition. It has potential to be a positive thing but we need to find some place,” Adkins said.

 

 

Berlin’s New Econ. Development Director Named; Wells Currently Serves In Same Capacity In Sykesville

BERLIN – An accomplished tourism and economic development professional from Sykesville has been selected to replace Michael Day as Berlin’s director of economic development. Town officials announced that Ivy Wells, currently the director of economic development in Sykesville, has been selected to take over the position being vacated by Day, who is retiring. “We’re obviously all delighted with how much … Continue reading

New Video Provides More Information In OC Manslaughter Case

OCEAN CITY — New details emerged this week in the manslaughter case against two local men charged for their alleged roles in the death of a Pennsylvania man found unresponsive and unconscious in a downtown hotel parking lot in August. A new surveillance video was released this week that chronicles the events from when the victim and two other individuals … Continue reading

Ocean City Halloween Activities Get Started This Weekend

OCEAN CITY — OCtoberfest is back and bigger than ever this year. This official town event provides activities for the whole family, including the family pet. Starting on Saturday, Oct. 18, the giant Halloween Beach Maze opens for adults and children to find their way through winding pathways on Ocean City’s beach while interacting with great Halloween props, whimsical characters … Continue reading

OC Native Looks To Change Watch Industry With New Line

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City native has launched the first-ever non-GMO biodegradable Corn Resin wristwatch out of Los Angeles and is turning to a Kickstarter campaign to gain support in making the revolutionary product a success. Hunter Mayers, a 39-year-old watch enthusiast, was born in Salisbury and raised in Ocean City graduating from Stephen Decatur High School in 1993. … Continue reading

Lynch Completes 26-Year Tenure On Berlin Council

BERLIN — With some heartfelt kind words and a proclamation from the town, long-time Berlin Councilwoman Paula Lynch served at her last meeting this week, ending a 26-year run as an elected official in the town. Lynch announced in August she would not be seeking re-election after serving on the council for six full terms. Her spot on the council … Continue reading

OC Council Candidates Weigh In On Tourism At Forum

OCEAN CITY – Candidates running for City Council responded to about a dozen questions this week, including those specifically related to tourism. On Tuesday evening the Ocean City AARP Chapter 1917 hosted an Ocean City Candidates Forum. Council candidates Nancy Bolt, Tony DeLuca, Wayne Hartman, Matthew James, Christopher Rudolf and former Councilman Joe Hall were present to participate. Candidate Joe … Continue reading

Local Boy’s Police Patch Goal Gets Boost From Deputies; Grassroots Campaign Gets A Surprise

BERLIN — One young boy’s passion for law enforcement and the power of the Internet conspired this week to jumpstart what could be one of the best 100-day school projects ever. Each year, kindergarten students around the area are required to come up with a project marking the 100th day of the school year. In some cases, a student might … Continue reading

Former Councilman Cleared To Run For Council In 5-2 Vote; Eight-Candidate Field Seeks Four Open Seats

OCEAN CITY – Following two public hearings regarding the authenticity of council candidate residencies, one familiar name — former Councilman Joe Hall — was allowed to run while newcomer Philip Ufholz was denied. Following the filing deadline last Monday evening, City Clerk Kelly Allmond presented the final list of candidates filed to run in the municipal election on Nov. 4 … Continue reading

Fresco’s Saying Goodbye To Ocean City This Weekend; Tomasello To Open Smaller Operation In West OC

OCEAN CITY — Fresco’s restaurant will be leaving Ocean City next week and a chapter will be closing for owners Giovanni “Pino” and Karen Tomasello. But one door closing will mean that another opens in this case, as the couple will be opening a smaller operation in West Ocean City this winter called “Sello’s” with a new menu and new … Continue reading