BLC Approves Family Entertainment Complex For Old JR’s Site

BLC Approves Family Entertainment Complex For Old JR’s Site
The former JR's Ribs north Ocean City location was home last summer to Shanghai Buffet and Bar. File photo

SNOW HILL –  The connections of Ropewalk are moving forward with plans to bring a new family friendly restaurant to north Ocean City.

Ropewalk’s Marc McFaul and Chris Reda shared plans for a new restaurant, AlleyOops, with the Worcester County Board of License (BLC) Commissioners this week. The restaurant, which did receive liquor license approval from the BLC, will occupy the old JR’s Ribs building at 131st Street.

“What we’re going to present today is an indoor concept of Ropewalk,” attorney Joe Moore said.

While Ropewalk is known for its large outdoor family friendly area, Moore said its connections were creating a fun indoor atmosphere at the new AlleyOops.  The two-story restaurant, which seats roughly 350 on the first floor and more than 100 on the second floor, will include 40 games. There will be video games as well as things like skee ball and mini-bowling.

“It’s not an arcade, it’s just entertainment for the family,” said Moore, who compared the concept to that of Dave & Buster’s.

Reda said AlleyOops would have a full-service menu and that the games were simply intended to provide entertainment for children so that parents could continue to enjoy their meals when their kids were finished.

McFaul said that was what made AlleyOops a bit unusual.

“A lot of places with bowling and games do less food,” he said. “Our priority is food.”

When asked about the potential for noise, Reda said measures were in place to ensure it didn’t become an issue.

“We’re very aware of neighbors,” he said.

At Wednesday’s meeting the BLC also approved the special one-day permits required for Ocean City’s new Jellyfish Festival set for the beach at North Division Street June 20-23. Thomas Coates, the BLC’s attorney, explained that because the event was new, the board had opted to meet with organizers. He said board members had met with Springfest and Sunfest officials when those events had first started as well.

“This being the first time for the Jellyfish Festival, you’re here this year,” Coates said. “If everything goes well, the permit should in the future just be issued, as long as the same protocols and the same contracts are out there. We’re just trying to get an understanding of the event.”

Brad Hoffman, organizer of the event, said he’d been planning the festival for four years. He said security guards had been hired to work throughout the festival and that it would wrap up before 10 p.m. each night.

“We want the businesses around that area to see the business in the evening,” he said.

Hoffman said alcohol would only be sold in the fenced-in area around the festival’s main stage and that the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association would be handling alcohol sales.

“We do have a track record,” said Melanie Pursel, executive director of the chamber. “The reason they come to us is we do it in a very professional way. We’ve had no problems.”

BLC officials said that neighboring businesses that sold alcohol had been notified of the meeting regarding the festival’s request for an alcohol permit. William Esham, chairman of the BLC, said 21 of the 23 contacted had no complaint about the potential license.

“Two had some reluctance but they’re not here,” Esham said.

The board voted 3-0 to approve the requested three special one-day permits for the Jellyfish Festival.

The inaugural Jellyfish Festival has been touted as a town-wide entertainment festival that will include popular music as well as action sports and family-oriented entertainment. Styx, Crack the Sky, Newsboys and Ballyhoo are among the 18 acts scheduled to appear at the event. The festival will also bring skateboarding events, surfing competitions and motocross racing to the beach.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.