The North End American Grill joins Avalon’s Concord Café and Marie Nicole’s in Wildwood Crest as the Barnebei family’s third Cape May County establishment.
There is a scary, sobering statistic about the restaurant industry, which should give pause to anyone considering an eatery. Eight out of 10 businesses fail within five years.
For that reason, owners successful and prosperous enough in their first venture to expand with additional food outlets are indeed incredibly rare, which truly makes the story of Cape May County’s Barnebei family unique. As of last summer, they added a third location, North End American Grill, to their portfolio. Their initial restaurant entry, Avalon’s Concord Café, opened in 1989.
Founder Jim describes it as “starting simple; hot dogs, roast beef sandwiches” and other standard bar-type grub.
This makes sense. Prior to that his family had owned Wildwood’s Cork and Bottle liquor store, at Burke and Atlantic Avenues. In nearly two and half intervening decades, the Concord — at 7800 Dune Drive — has become one of that ritzy island community’s preferred spots for casual meals.
With a menu that has grown to include a voluminous array of apps, hoagies, grinders, burgers, pizza, steak sandwiches — beef or chicken varieties — plus pasta dinners served in the evening after 5pm, the Concord serves as a classic Jersey shore family hangout.
Responsible for running the kitchen here is Jim’s wife Nancy, for whom the signature chicken sandwich — with sautéed spinach, tomato and provolone —takes its name. Desirous of expanding into Cape May County’s then burgeoning upscale market, the Barnebeis opened stylish Marie Nicole’s in Wildwood Crest at the turn of the century.
This was quite a step up, really several steps, from the bill of fare at the Concord.
Marie Nicole’s, in fact, quickly became considered one of the very best restaurants at the shore. Accurately channeling local products with skillful technique, their cuisine soon rivaled any available in dining Mecca Cape May. One respected local food critic went so far as to label it a “small jewel,” adding that their cuisine was responsible for creating “a culinary afterglow.”
These days, starters like a lobster quesadilla or shrimp wontons with ginger-blackberry sauce help keep that sterling reputation intact.
Entrees include gourmet delights grilled swordfish with roasted pepper risotto and grilled eggplant caponata, herb and horseradish crusted rack of lamb alongside sautéed mushrooms/spinach with wasabi mashed potatoes or pork tenderloin with dried fig and cranberry cous-cous and a warm raisin/apple chutney.
This brings us to present day.
Taking over management of a distressed property, the Barnebeis slowly began altering a failed dynamic. Renaming the venue North End American Grill, they soon recognized that it would need until the following summer to fully complete their revitalization. Friday, June 1, will mark a milestone for them, with an invite-only Grand Opening event scheduled for 5-7pm.
North End’s menu, while probably closer conceptually to the Concord’s casual fare, stretches to provide higher-end elements too. Like a tequila marinated fish taco starter, two flour tortillas filled with chopped tomato, onion and avocado with an apple ginger slaw. Or an entrée of bacon-wrapped filet with garlic mash and grilled asparagus.
But there’s still plenty of stuff that fits nicely into the beachy facility’s newfound zeitgeist. Particularly so, an array of carefully crafted sandwiches.
“We are very excited about all the new things to do and see in the Wildwoods in 2012,” says John Siciliano, executive director for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority.
Atlantic City’s animated Memorial Day weekend scene is back, so after your annual backyard barbecue, check out some of the festive findings we’ve tallied ...
It’s Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City and that can only mean one thing: The ocean that has been chilled all winter long is about to be warmed up and set free, unlocked for a new summer season.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5 4th Annual Absecon Lighthouse Golf Tournament At McCullough’s Emerald Golf Links in EHT. The tournament benefits educational programs for children. The golf package is $100 per person and includes green fees and cart, lunch, golf shirt, tee package, prizes, an awards banquet and a future round of discounted golf at McCullough’s. Dinner-only tickets are available for $25. For information and/or to reserve a spot, call Lou Paludi at (609) 484-0600, or the lighthouse at 449-1360. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 Cedar Creek Baseball Team Booster Club Golf Tournament At Mays Landing Golf & Country Club in Mays Landing. 8am registration, continental breakfast and practice on driving range, 9am shotgun start. Luncheon buffet and awards following golf. $100 per player ($400 per foursome). Call 965-3053 or e-mail email@example.com. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 Atlantic Cape Scramble “Fore” Scholarships Tournament At Cape May National Golf Club in Cape May. Atlantic Cape Community College partnered with the Atlantic Cape Foundation to support student scholarships and Foundation operations. The tournament is a scramble format beginning with an 11am shotgun start. The cost is $125 per person and $500 per foursome and includes gift bags, lunch and a dinner awards banquet at the Chalfonte Hotel...
On Sunday, May 13, the Ocean City Music Pier (Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk) is hosting a free, open-to-the-public Mother’s Day Family Concert.
A guide to events, festivals and more during the flowering season in the Jersey shore region.
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