Sapia Family Tradition Alive And Well On The Boardwalk; Ocean View, Surfing Betty’s Serving J/Rs Ribs

Sapia Family Tradition Alive And Well On The Boardwalk; Ocean View, Surfing Betty’s Serving J/Rs Ribs

OCEAN CITY – DaVinci’s by the Sea on 15th Street and the Boardwalk is ready for its 30th season, offering family-friendly Italian cuisine in Ocean City.

Owner Vince Sapia announced a couple of new additions this year as a new bar with seating was completed and unveiled last Friday and Executive Chef Luis Murillo has joined the restaurant’s team.

DaVinci’s was opened by Sapia’s parents, James and Betty, in 1986 at its current location after operating out of the former Stowaway Hotel for one year prior. Operating Italian restaurants is a family tradition as both Sapia’s grandparents and parents have operated restaurants in Little Italy Baltimore and Ocean City as well as his uncle and cousins.

Sapia attended college majoring in marketing. However, after growing up helping out at DaVinci’s as well as working in dining in Washington D.C. for several years, Sapia moved back to Ocean City full-time in 1999 to run DaVinci’s.

“When I got out of college I had a lot more food service experience … I like doing this. There is a creative aspect in running a restaurant,” he said.

There are a few aspects of DaVinci’s that sets the restaurant apart, according to Sapia. First and foremost, it is a family-friendly establishment.

“We are probably one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Ocean City. There is something to be said of our history. We are a family-friendly establishment, which is what Ocean City is all about,” he said. “When I think about Italian cuisine, I think about family. That is what it is all about.”

DaVinci’s has served traditional Italian recipes handed down for generations through the Sapia family and each is made from scratch.

“I would put the quality of our ingredients up against anyone in town,” he said.

Sapia brought out a stack of his dad’s hand-written recipes that have been used throughout the restaurant’s history. It was just recently that Sapia typed and bound the recipes.

“When I first started here full-time, my dad asked me how big my hands are and held his hand up against mine because literally the recipes are ‘five hands of garlic.’ He wanted to make sure our hands are the same size to make sure the recipes would remain the same,” Sapia said.

New Executive Chef Murillo most recently worked for Peppers Tavern in West Ocean City prior to the restaurant closing, and once Sapia heard of Murillo’s 25-plus years of experience in Italian cooking he invited him to join DaVinci’s team.

“He has been a nice addition,” Sapia said. “Our recipes are solid but he brings new items to the table that are outstanding as well. He has been a treat to have around.”

Sapia found it near impossible to pick out a favorite dish, as all the entrees are just as good as the next in his opinion.

“We have had DaVinci’s going on 30 years, and there is not one thing that stands out over the rest. We serve a little bit of everything,” he said.

DaVinci’s offers both indoor and outdoor seating with about 120 seats. This year a bar with seating was added that provides an additional waiting area other than the patio out front.

Renovations in the dining room were completed a couple of years ago, giving the place a fresh, contemporary-eclectic look. Floor to ceiling windows look onto the restaurant’s front patio and the Boardwalk. The patio is beautifully landscaped as the Sapia family has been recognized by the town’s Beautification Committee with Beauty Spot Awards.

DaVinci’s is open seasonally from May to October. The doors open at 4 p.m. serving early bird specials until 6 p.m. and closing at 10 p.m.

The Sapia family also owns Ocean View Grill and Surfing Betty’s Beach Bar located between 16th and 17th streets on the Boardwalk serving continental cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The big news this year is Ocean View Grill and Surfing Betty’s Beach Bar is now serving J/R’s ribs on the Boardwalk. The ribs are delivered daily from J/R’s own commissary in 131st Street.

“We are the only place other than J/R’s to serve their ribs,” Sapia said. “We take a lot of pride in that.”

Visit DaVinci’s by the Sea and Ocean View Grill and Surfing Betty’s Beach Bar’s Facebook pages to stay updated on daily happenings at each location.