SNOW HILL – An iconic Ocean City eatery will be replaced by a Denny’s restaurant this summer.
Motorists entering Ocean City via the Route 90 bridge will soon see a Denny’s in the location formerly occupied by J/R’s, The Place For Ribs. On Wednesday the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) granted Denny’s a beer wine and liquor license.
“We expect to be open sometime in the middle of August,” said Mike Rommel, who owns a local Denny’s franchise.
Rommel told the board the coming months would be spent on an extensive renovation of the former J/R’s building.
“There will be a million dollars spent on the inside and outside of the facility,” he said, adding that the age and layout of the existing building would complicate the project.
He added that he hoped to adorn the property with an eye-catching 16-foot fork.
“The only other fork in the United States is in Las Vegas, Nevada on the strip,” he said. “I’ve asked to include that in this prototype.”
Joe Moore, Rommel’s attorney, told the board Rommel was seeking a beer wine and liquor license for the property to serve the public, as visitors were accustomed to that property being licensed.
“It’s an accommodation to the public,” Rommel said, adding that Denny’s restaurants in vacation destinations such as Las Vegas and Puerto Rico sold alcohol.
BLC members didn’t question plans for the building but did ask Rommel about two liquor violations that occurred at his Fruitland Denny’s. Rommel said the facility had been reprimanded for refilling a vodka bottle when an employee, eager to throw out a near-empty bottle, poured what was left of its contents into another bottle. The restaurant’s other infraction had occurred when a patron carried a drink to an area of the property where it wasn’t permitted.
“We made a mistake,” Rommel said.
When asked how the new 24-hour restaurant would ensure patrons couldn’t order alcohol after 2 a.m., Rommel said that part of the restaurant would be shut down 45 minutes before the cutoff time.
“We’re not here to make money off the alcohol, it’s an accommodation to the public,” Rommel said.