WEST OCEAN CITY – A “barn to beach” restaurant founded on fresh, Southern-style cuisine will open in West Ocean City this month.
Located along Route 611 by Sunset Avenue, the Surfing Rooster restaurant and bar will feature classic Southern staple foods with a local twist.
Jeff Burton, who co-owns and operates the restaurant with his brother-in-law, Mike Marshall, calls the Surfing Rooster “fresh Southern with a twang.”
“It’s my version of southern food,” he said.
Items found on the Surfing Rooster’s menu include a smoke-fried bologna sandwich with Fritos chips, house-made pork rinds with pimento beer cheese and a chili ranch, a fresh heirloom tomato sandwiches with sweet corn mayo and basil, a croque madame – a hardy bread topped with thin ham, a crab cheese sauce and a sunny side up egg – and more.
“I really fell in love with the south and the cooking of the south,” Burton said. “It’s a lot of slower, lower foods. You don’t really need to use expensive pieces of meat, but it’s time consuming in the braising and cooking techniques of it.”
Burton added that most of the Surfing Rooster’s ingredients, from the seafood to the tomatoes, will be locally sourced.
“We’re trying to stay as local as we possibly can,” he said.
Burton, a certified executive chef with more than 20 years of experience, and Marshall, who was introduced to the restaurant industry six years ago, said they set their sights on a Route 611 property nearly 12 years ago and spent the following years pursuing other ventures while awaiting the right opportunity.
“Mike and I looked at a lot of restaurants in Ocean City, and we had three or four places we passed on before coming here,” he said. “The problem with Ocean City is you don’t get locals, so you don’t have the same face every day. You don’t make the friendships and companionships.”
Burton said the Route 611 property, which was once home to a bistro, a Mexican restaurant and, most recently, the Culture eatery that specialized in Peruvian rotisserie chicken, became available late last year, and within two months the partners had made their dreams a reality.
Burton, who spent his early years working at his family’s bar in Baltimore, said he wanted to make the Surfing Rooster the neighborhood hangout.
“We’re locals and a lot of people know us,” he said. “We are true to who we are. We’ll be here 99 percent of the time and we want to come out and talk to everybody. I’m going to be the chef in the kitchen and Mike is going to do breakfast in the morning.”
Burton said the Surfing Rooster will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner beginning next weekend and will operate year-round. Breakfast will be offered on week days after Memorial Day weekend.
“We want to be neighbors with everybody here,” he said.
For more information, or for hours of operation, visit the Surfing Rooster Facebook page.