(June 8, 2018) Less than one year after opening Ocean 13, a bistro and bar on the first floor of the Beach Plaza Hotel on 13th Street and the Boardwalk, Jeremy Brink and his partners purchased a second spot for a restaurant directly above it.
Ocean 13 Seafood, Steakhouse and Piano Lounge opened in late May.
“I’ve been in the restaurant industry since I was a kid,” Brink said. “My first job was at a restaurant.”
Brink opened his first establishment last year on Memorial Day weekend with co-owners Nicholas Sikora, Jamie Stewart and Steve Bowers. Ocean 13, aptly named for its location on 13th Street, is a tiki bar located beneath the Beach Plaza hotel.
The bar serves fish tacos, carnitas, wings and burgers, among other items. Brink said what sets itself apart is that the food is made in-house daily with fresh ingredients.
“We do fresh ingredients, we do fresh sauces, vegetables and meats, and all that stuff,” Brink said. “Everything is homemade – every dressing, every sauce, every veggie setup, we made everything from scratch.
“All of us are foodies,” he continued. “We love great food and want to share great food with people on the Boardwalk and we feel the Boardwalk’s ready to not just have funnel cakes and fries.”
The new seafood and steakhouse will offer a variety of dishes, from tuna poke for an appetizer, to a 35-ounce tomahawk steak. Some other items include pan seared scallops, cream of crab chowder, crab cakes and homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Adolfo’s Italian restaurant was in the space now occupied by the seafood and steakhouse eatery. The owner gave Brink the inspiration needed to purchase the space last December when they put it up for sale.
“We found out Adolfo’s was leaving, and I had a funny conversation with the old owner before they were closing,” Brink said. “He said, ‘You know Jeremy, whoever comes in here, is going to be direct competition with you.’ And I said, ‘You’re an Italian restaurant but you’re absolutely right.’”
“So, I talked to all the partners and said, ‘Why don’t we just check it out?’” he continued. “We walked in and just fell in love with it instantly. I went up there and said, ‘seafood and steakhouse it’s gotta be.’”
Originally owned by the Phillips family, the restaurant space has an old-fashioned, Prohibition-style atmosphere. A piano bar and lounge is located to the immediate right of the hotel front desk, and the entrance to a large dining room overtakes the left.
“I love the bar up there. [It’s] so retro,” Bowers said. “Down here we have a beachier bar: most people don’t want classier cocktails. Upstairs you can be real creative and bring in different liqueurs, juices and mixes and get really creative and actually be a bartender and mixologist [rather] than just pouring rum and coke.”
“You can’t beat the atmosphere up there,” Brink said. “It’s like you’re stepping back in time.”
According to Brink, there were very little renovations involved, as he wanted to keep the Prohibition theme, though there are several projects underway.
“We want to paint some stuff, we want to change things here and there, [and] do our own spin on it but we love the old Prohibition feel you have in there and it just spoke to us,” Brink said. “It was already cool and ready to go as it is.”
The restaurant is on the Boardwalk and has a direct view of the ocean, with large panel windows to take in the view.
While the bistro is far more casual and beach themed, the new steakhouse will be a place for foodies and those who want a memorable experience.
“Upstairs is definitely higher end. If you show up in shorts and a polo, you’ll feel OK,” Brink said. “But you can also show up in a suit and tie and you’d feel completely fine. We cater to everybody who loves good food.
“Down in the bistro; it’s a beach. It’s a tiki bar. Have fun. Wear whatever you want,” Brink continued.
In addition, the restaurant is taking part in the No Straws Summer program, to reduce plastic waste. Customers can still receive a straw if they ask for one, and the straws used are biodegradable.
Brink plans on offering breakfast buffets Thursdays through Sundays by the time the restaurant is completely open officially in a few weeks.
He also has arranged to hire piano players to perform in the lounge Thursday through Saturday as well as some special events throughout the summer.
The restaurant has a front-row seat to the annual Ocean City Air Show, held next Saturday and Sunday.
“You sit on our deck, you’re at the air show,” Brink said.
“Every Sunday at the Tiki bar I personally run karaoke. [There are] 375,000 songs to choose from,” Brink said. “We do drink specials the whole night. And we do $2 Tuesdays. All domestic beers and all rail drinks are $2 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally open the steakhouse will take place on Thursday, June 21 at 4 p.m. A full menu will be unveiled at the official opening.
Restaurant hours will be from 4-10 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 11p.m. on weekends. Parking is free at the Beach Plaza hotel for dining customers.
Reservations can be made at 410-289-6213 or go to https://www.ocean13ocmd.com.