New Ocean City restaurant, from Shotti’s Point founder, plans to stay open all year
(May 3, 2019) Thrashers may be the king of Boardwalk French fries, but a new upstart hopes to at least challenge that notion, as well as perceptions of what Boardwalk dining can be.
Rhino Chaser Café, between Sixth and Seventh streets oceanside, is the latest project of Shotti’s Point founders Mike and Lisa Shott, and operating partner Andrew Gmitter.
Mike Shott got his start working at Kirby’s Pub in Ocean City in 2003 and around that time, he noticed many local eateries were offering similar menu items.
“Everyone has the same stuff – buffalo chicken wrap, Caesar wraps, burgers [and] wings,” he said. “Kirby’s does a great job of doing it basic and very, very good, but other places don’t do the same good job and I was tired of looking at the same menu, tired of seeing things that are just a knock of something from Key West or somewhere tropical.
“We love food. I love traveling and trying new things, and I wanted to bring a different twist to Ocean City because it didn’t seem like anyone else was doing it. That’s where it all came from – 15 years ago I was tired of eating the same thing,” he added.
Shott opened the first Shotti’s Point restaurant in Baltimore in 2013, followed by a 35th Street location in Ocean City three years later.
The latest spot, Rino Chaser Café, refers to Shotti’s popular “Rino Chasers” fries that come with a dusting of parmesan, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and a white truffle aioli dipping sauce. Shott admits it’s not for everyone, but converts swear by them.
“Fresh-cut fries was a big thing a few years ago, and we did it with a different twist and it really took off,” he said. “I love Thrasher’s French fries. I think they’re delicious, but ours taste nothing like them. These things are just so popular in Baltimore and on 35th Street.”
The new restaurant opened on Monday and also features tacos, wraps, burritos and breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, parfait bowls, coconut water and fresh coffee.
“Basically, this is just going to be an express [location] for food,” Shott said, adding the menu would also include “real-deal” crab cakes and about 15 types of wings.
The taco menu will carry over many popular items from the 35th Street location. The Original Tsunami Tacos, for instance, feature sesame encrusted ahi tuna, seaweed salad, red onions, fresh cilantro and a plum sauce. The Surfer Rosa Tacos, named after the seminal 1988 indie rock album by The Pixies, includes marinated skirt steak, arugula, pico de gallo, red onions, goat cheese, fresh cilantro and a cabron sauce.
Along with changing up the culinary landscape, Shott believes the Boardwalk is underserved in terms of providing offseason dining.
“There’s nothing up here open year-round, or just for breakfast or lunch for that matter in the wintertime,” Shott said. “I’ve been living on 12th Street for 12 years. I’m up here all the time, even in February, and there’s always people walking around.”
Diners, however, seem to bypass the Boardwalk in favor of Berlin or West Ocean City, Shott said.
“There’s people that come here [even in the winter] bundled up and they just want to have some type of connection with the ocean, and no one up here provides it. And if they do, it’s from a frozen bag and I can’t stand that,” he said. “They don’t have a view to have a cup of coffee and order a sandwich, especially in the offseason. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually do that?
“We’re just stoked to be up here on the Boardwalk,” Shott continued, looking through the front windows at his view of the Atlantic ocean. “It’s a great office space for us and we hope that down the road somebody follows us. Maybe a John Fager or a John Trader says, ‘You know what, these guys are doing well and they brought something different to the Boardwalk – maybe we can add to it.’ That would be really cool.”
Rino Chaser Café is open from 8 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week in-season. For more information, visit www.shottispoint.com.