Its hard not to fall in love with the South Jersey town of Cape May - from the amazing architectural aspects of the private homes and the Cape May Bed and breakfasts that made this town so famous, to the incredible beaches, shopping and yes, the food, wine and now the beer (Cape May now boasts it's very own Brewery).
Here are a few of my favorite places in Cape May - I highly encourage you to check them out on your next visit to Cape May:
THE RED STORE
Why it's great: James Beard nominated chef Lucas Manteca and wife Deanna Ebner make a great team! The Red Store opened in 2012 and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have a general store, fresh pastries/breads, sandwiches, coffee and smoothies that you can get to go. They are happy to accommodate Gluten Free, Vegetarian and Vegan requests, always a plus!
Why you should check it out: Last year, Lucas and Deanna opened "The Counter", their Chef's Table. Limited to only 6 guests, Lucas interacts with customers while preparing their meal (6 courses), offering an explanation of the products he uses (many from their own local farm in West Cape May) along with the award winning techniques he utilizes. Reservations a MUST, BYOB, Cash only
Why it's great: Hands down some of the freshest, most delicious, no frills Greek/Mediterranean fare in Southern New Jersey.
Why you should check it out: Guy Fieri, of Diner's, Diner's and Drives, featured them on the show last year and for a good reason. Chef John prepares simple, delicious fare - No cloying sauces or fancy gimmicks. Must tries, Saganaki (flaming cheese with Ouzo, whats not to like), the baby Greek lamp chops and the Gyros. Another bonus, average dinner entree is about $16.95 and its a BYOB, Cash only.
Why it's Great: Open all year long - even on Tuesday night in January, this place is jamming (that says something right there). Because its open all year, this is a big local hangout. Friendly staff and great food.
Why you should check it out: Overall the food is amazing, but one of the biggest drawls it their wood fired pizza (thin crust). The Pizza Positano features artisan sopressata salami, garlic oil, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers. For the purist, try the Margarita or the American pie.
HOT DOG TOMMY'S
Why it's Great: They specialize in Hot Dog's, need I say more.
Why you should check it out: After waiting in a line that sometimes seems endless, your reward will be great. Customers can get any one of their signature combinations with either the traditional "Bad Dog" or the "Leaner Wiener" (a thinner dog with less calories). My favorites, the Texas Tommy and the Black Russian Bag Dog! Plus, what's not to love about a man in a hot dog hat.
HAWK HAVEN VINEYARD AND WINERY
Why it's great: Not many people think of Cape May, as a wine producing area. However, there are some great wineries in the Cape May area. In addition to Hawk Haven, there's Turdo, Cape May Winery, Jesse Creek, Natali and Willow Creek.
Why you should check it out: On Sunday, Hawk Haven has Sangria Sunday (May - September). Come try award-winning wines, their famous Sangria, while listening to some great live music from local singer-songwriters. A lunch menu from some local eateries is also available. If you are interested in touring all the vineyards mentioned above, I recommend checking out Tastings and Tours.
CAPE MAY BREWING COMPANY
Why it's Great: Your not there for the decor, your there for the beer with almost 20 beers on tap. Try their award-winning Cape May IPA.
Why you should check it out: Cape May Brewery doesn't serve food, but they do encourage you to BYOF (hmm, I think a trip to the Red Store is in order), hang out at the picnic tables and order up some great local beer.
CAPE MAY BED AND BREAKFAST
Why it's Great: Every morning Patti serves a full gourmet breakfast with a smile.
Why you should go: If you are lucky enough to be there on a morning when Patti serves up her famous French Toast Souffle, then you will truly have experienced nirvana! In addition, Tea time is available to all guests of the Mason Cottage, Cape May B and B from 3 -4 PM daily.
BONUS: Every October through March starts our Chocolate Decadance Tea time - where everything at tea-time is chocolate - Chocolate Oolong tea, Chocolate Mint Tea, Patti's famous chocolate chip cookies, hand dipped chocolate dipped fruit, Oreo's and nuts to name a few.
For more information on the Mason Cottage, a Cape May B and B and our availability, please visit us at www.themasoncottage.com