(Oct. 21, 2021) Coastal Smokehouse, which opened in February on Route 50 by Keyser Point Road, is entering its first full offseason in operation with fall/winter menu specials now available seven days a week.
The steak and bourbon-focused eatery is the latest offering from the Matt Ortt Companies and is intended to pair with its Coastal Salt restaurant on the Boardwalk at 16th Street inside the Quality Inn.
Director of Operations Lewis Sherman said the Route 50 establishment is similar in name to the Boardwalk restaurant, but employs a wholly different concept.
“Coastal Salt is Boardwalk seafood-focused. Over here, we’re more in-house smoked barbecue and steaks,” he said.
Managing partner and Corporate Chef Stuart Diepold said Coastal Smokehouse features char-grilled beef, chicken, ribs and brisket.
“We do a lot of appetizers here,” he said. “It’s more like a fun neighborhood bar.”
Diepold said Coastal Smokehouse, which switched to offseason hours and specials last week, is now in operation from noon to 11 p.m. seven days a week.
“We do trivia on Tuesdays and we do small plates on Thursdays with four to five choices of fun little appetizers to eat,” he said.
Additional winter specials include $9.99 lunch specials Monday through Friday from 12-4 p.m.
Daily deals include 20 percent off Barbecue “Spice-It-Up,” entries on Monday, half off bottles of wine plus $5 off shot flights on Wednesdays and Tapas Thursdays from 4-11 p.m.
Diepold said pigskin-enthusiasts get their fill on Sundays with 18 TVs featuring NFL action and all day happy-hour pricing.
Other offseason highlights include “Trivia Tuesdays,” from 7-9 p.m., which features music and food/drink specials.
“This is more neighborhood than the Boardwalk,” he said.
Diepold noted Coastal Smokehouse also offers catering services for private events during the upcoming holiday season.
“At this place I like to be able to do a lot of catering for holiday parties,” he said.
Looking back, Diepold said Coastal Smokehouse was limited to 50 percent capacity when first opening its doors in February.
“That February to April was really our honeymoon period,” he said. “Even though we know we have a decreased population, everyone wants to check out a new place.”
Sherman said although the Smokehouse is still in its first year of operation, the initial returns have been strong.
“Business-wise we have met the goal that we had set when we opened,” he said.
The twin “Coastal,” operations provide patrons dual options.
“Especially when people are here during the summer they can go to the Boardwalk for Coastal Salt and then the next night they can come over here and have something totally different,” he said.
Prior to launching Coastal Salt in May 2020, the Matt Ortt Companies acquired the food and beverage contract for the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and Beach Clubs in April 2018.
Matt Ortt Companies added a third location in Ocean Pines last summer after taking over the Golf Course Clubhouse Bar and Grille and also currently operates Hooters on the Boardwalk at Fifth Street.
Diepold joined forces with fellow managing partners Matt Ortt and Ralph DeAngelus to form the food service company roughly six years ago.
“The three of us got together and we opened up the company with Rare and Rye in Ocean City,” he said.
Although the trio ended a two-year management contract with Rare and Rye on 32nd Street in January 2019, the strong performance helped land the Ocean Pines account.
“It was a great contract to be able to pick up right away,” he said. “It was fortunate.”
Diepold said the management partnership has been successful due to delineating duties.
“I take care of all the food stuff, Ralph takes care of all the marketing and Matt takes care of all the general maintenance,” he said. “There’s plenty of stuff they take off my plate and I take all the food off of theirs.”
Regardless of reduced tourism during the winter months, Sherman said having Coastal Smokehouse located on Route 50 near West Ocean City has proven a boon for attracting patrons.
“The traffic the comes by here every day and people get stopped at the light,” he said. “It’s a good corner to be on.”