Pier 23

Pier 23 will replace Mad Fish, which was destroyed in a fire in 2019. The concept restaurant will utilize shipping containers retrofitted for various purposes, including a bar, a stage and multiple kitchens.

(April 30, 2021) After securing a liquor license from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners last week, the owners of Pier 23, the restaurant that will replace Mad Fish on West Ocean’s City’s commercial harbor, is poised to break ground on the innovative new restaurant.

“We are thrilled that we were able to have deeper conversations with members of the community and explain and share our vision for an exciting new opportunity, venture and venue for the guests of Ocean City,” said Kyler Taustin, marketing director of Taustin Group which owns Pier 23 and owned Mad Fish. “We’re thrilled to share that with everyone and thrilled that it was received very well.”

Pier 23 will be a change of direction from Mad Fish, which was destroyed by a fire in August 2019. Taustin said they are referring to it as “Ocean City’s first container food port.”

The restaurant will have an indoor component, but the majority of the restaurant is an open-air dining area populated with large shipping containers that have been retrofitted for a variety of purposes — a bar, a stage and kitchens. The shipping containers are open for patrons to look inside them and are 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall.

“The benefit of the concept is there’s a variety of options for different people as well as different options when customers come back and visit us again,” Taustin said. “So there’s not one type of food. It’s a lot of different options and things that people can pick from each of the different containers. Each container will (have a specialty) and you can order from any of them at any given moment.

“The entire environment takes some innovations that the restaurant industry has discovered and capitalized on in the covid era with opportunities for self-ordering, online ordering and having it all delivered directly to (the customer). It limits the amounts of exposure and allows you to really enjoy the experience you have with your family.”

The proposal for Pier 23’s concept underwent some changes from its initial iteration that came before the License Commissioners in February.

The indoor dining component is new, which was necessary for the liquor license and the location and direction of the stage container was altered to address sound concerns. But the restaurant’s concept remained intact through the adjustments, Taustin said.

“We have maintained the vision and are thrilled for these new components and the tweaks we made to the actual floor plan and layout,” Taustin said. “But the vision behind Pier 23 remains the same.”

In a video posted to Facebook last week from the Harbor Road lot Pier 23 will be built on, Taustin Group CEO Cole Taustin said that, now that the building permits have been secured, there will be “construction going on and all kinds of exciting new things.”

Though the lot where Pier 23 is virtually barren right now, Kyler Taustin cautioned that people should not be “deceived by groundbreaking.”

“It’s not like we’re trying to build a whole brand-new building,” he said. “There’s a building involved but the large majority of the design is the shipping containers (which have already been prepared and just need to be delivered).”

Barring complications, Taustin said, construction is expected to be completed in July.

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