OCEAN PINES – The owners of a local pizza chain are bringing fine dining to Ocean Pines with the opening of Pines Public House & Eatery.
Located on Nicholas Lane, Pines Public House & Eatery combines elevated Eastern Shore cuisine with handcrafted metropolitan cocktails in an upscale dining atmosphere.
Co-owners Alex Buinovskis and Dennis Klimins said Pines Public House is a complete departure from the chain of casual pizza eateries they’ve operated throughout the years. For nearly a decade, the two business partners have operated Fox’s Pizza Den, with locations in Millville, Selbyville and Berlin.
“We looked at the building and the land and decided it was time to begin a project of our own,” Klimins said.
Last year, the business partners learned the space previously occupied by Pizza Hut was available in Ocean Pines. After a tour of the space, the two decided to move forward with plans to establish a fine dining eatery.
“There’s no competition for fine dining here,” Buinovskis said. “So we came in and went that direction.”
Throughout the winter and early spring, the owners worked with contractors and Gina Drago Frey of Gina Drago Design to completely transform the space into a cozy, intimate eatery with a woodsy atmosphere. For example, the restaurant features Alaskan birch walls, a see-through fireplace and a bar with balm of Gilead wood and Cambria quartz countertops.
“Everything about this space is custom,” Drago said.
And Buinovskis said the menu is just as unique. Menu items include “Shore Good Duck” with crispy skin, Asian slaw, peach barbecue and rice pilaf, a tuna poke stack made with marinated sushi-grade ahi, cucumber, mango, avocado, seaweed salad and coconut milk rice and a “Boozy Chop” served with garlic mashed potatoes, lemon parmesan broccoli and a bourbon peppercorn glaze, to name a few. Select dishes also include organic, vegan and gluten-free options.
“It’s quality food,” he said. “There’s something for everybody … vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers.”
Klimins said patrons can also expect the menu to change with each season.
“Seasonal foods will be reflected in our menu,” he said.
Accompanying the menu is a large selection of red and white wines and craft and IPA beers. Manager Erin Meyers, who helped create the restaurant’s menu and drink specials, said they also worked with the Philadelphia-based Evil Genius Beer Company to brew a beer specifically for Pines Public House.
“It’s called Birch Please,” she said. “It’s a grapefruit IPA.”
Pines Public House also sells handcrafted and cold smoked cocktails, including a maple bacon-infused bourbon with chocolate and walnut bitters and a Bloody Mary garnished with bacon, stuffed olives and a smoked Old Bay chicken wing.
“They are high-end, more complex cocktails that flow with the menu …,” Meyers said. “We use our barrels here to age our own bourbon, and eventually we’d like to age our own scotch and smoke chardonnay. That’s something that’s not touched on anywhere around here. It’s more of a cosmopolitan cocktail menu.”
Pines Public House opened its doors last month, and the owners said they are pleased by the outpouring of support from the community.
“We’ve really put a lot into this,” Klimins said. “So we aren’t just going to be here for a few years and then leave. We will be here for a long time.”
Dinner is served daily beginning at 4 p.m., but the owners said Pines Public House will soon open for lunch and happy hour. For more information, visit pinespublichouse.com or the Pines Public House & Eatery Facebook page, or call 443-513-4688.
“It’s almost like a touch of home when you come here,” Meyers said. “There’s nothing like it in this area.”