SNOW HILL – The owner of a popular Ocean City bar shared plans to expand and open a fast casual eatery with the county’s liquor board this week.
On Wednesday Doug Buxbaum, owner of Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon, told the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) that he was taking over the former Pizza Hut location adjacent to his bar to create the Dry Dock, a fast casual restaurant.
“The Salty Dog has treated us well,” Buxbaum said. “We found our niche. We’re looking to do another thing.”
Buxbaum, who was seeking the board’s permission to expand his licensed premises and to sell carryout beer and wine, has operated Buxy’s for 18 years. Because the bar is often at capacity and because its food sales have increased in recent years, he said he wanted to expand and focus more on food in the new establishment. By taking over the former Pizza Hut, he’ll be adding 150 indoor seats and 30 outdoor seats.
After approving Buxbaum’s plans, the BLC considered an expansion request from Scott Heise of the House of Ribs. Heise, better known as the owner of Pizza Tugos, explained that he bought the House of Ribs late last year but ran it as it was through the summer.
“We didn’t have any time last spring except to clean it up and run it,” said Hugh Cropper, Heise’s attorney.
Heise told the board he planned to spend between $400,000 and $500,000 renovating the building’s exterior and adding 92 seats.
“What I’m trying to do is put a new look on this 1980s building,” he said.
The board agreed to approve Heise’s expansion request as well as several others at Wednesday’s meeting. A license transfer was approved for the restaurant space at K-Coast on 35th Street. The former location of Crazy 8’s will be turned into casual restaurant Shotti’s Point.
A license transfer and upgrade was approved for Gold Coast Beer and Wine, which will become Gold Coast Beer, Wine and Liquor following its takeover of the adjacent county liquor store. The county’s lease expires at the end of the year and Mike Ramadan, owner of the beer and wine store, in addition to leasing the space, has agreed to purchase the liquor store’s inventory. Ramadan plans to combine the two units by removing the wall between them. He expects the renovation work to be complete by mid-March.
Another license transfer was approved for John Johannesmeyer, a 28th Street Pit and Pub employee who will be opening his own bar on 127th Street. Though the bar will be called Northside Pit and Pub, it will be owned by Johannesmeyer and will not be connected to the 28th Street restaurant.
The BLC also approved a license transfer for the Casino at Ocean Downs. The transfer comes after the August sale of the facility from William Rickman Jr. to Churchill Downs Incorporated and Saratoga Casino Holdings.
Joe Cavilla, general manager of the casino, updated the board on the expansion currently underway at the facility. He said the additional space was meant to house table games as well as a restaurant for patrons.
“We expect to have a lot of the heavy construction finished before summer,” he said, adding that occupancy of the new space would occur sometime before the end of 2017.