Sails To Inlet
Sails Restaurant, formerlly the Waterfront and before that the legendary Bay Shores, will soon reopen as The Inlet, and will be run by Marty Grims and his crew from the Moshulu in Philly.
After the failure of Sails, run by two guys from South Philly via Margate, the new crew will be a welcome addition.
I wrote a Nightbeat column about the history of the joint this week that appears in the Ocean City SandPaper free weekly [See: Gazzette Papers Catamaranmedia.com ],
Sails to Inlet – By Bill Kelly There has always been a public house with a liquor license at the base of the Somers Point – Ocean City causeway since it was a terminal for the steam ferry boats. But over the years it has only been known by three names – Bay Shores, the Waterfront and Sails. The storied Bay Shores, one of the incubators of rock & roll, lasted for over a half-century, the Waterfront was there for two decades and Sails lasted three years. While those who remember Bay Shores and the Waterfront want a return to the “good old days,” Sails will not be missed for overpriced, small portion gourmet fare that was supposed to take Somers Point’s culinary status to another level. It never happened. Now we’re going to experience the fourth reincarnation of that prime location with The Inlet, a first-class, casual place brought to you by Martin Grims and the same people who delivered the Four Seasons and the Moshulu in Philly. And we can expect it to be everything that Sails promised but failed to deliver. According to Jeanie Hatton, one of Grims’ public relations crew, “The Inlet will offer an all-day menu of affordable American cuisine, creative cocktails and live entertainment, seven days a week.” I repeat, that’s “live entertainment, seven days a week.” And they promise to be open seven days a week, all year long. That means live entertainment 365 days a year. Historically, that was never the case. Bay Shores, in its last few decades, was the area’s premier rock & roll joint, which opened on the weekend after Easter and closed the weekend after Labor Day. Most everybody, including the cooks, bartenders and the bands, went to Florida for the winter. Longtime Somers Point bartender Vince Renich, who started out at Bay Shores in the early 1950s, once recalled that, “We’d come back in the spring and open the doors and the beer bottles would still be on the bar from the day we closed in September.” Attorney Harris Berman bought Bayshores and Tony Marts across the street in 1980 and leveled them, building the Waterfront, using the architectural drawings of a ski chalet, and Egos disco. Egos became Crazy Jane’s, Key West, Brownie’s and in it’s last manifestation, Ice, owned by Dr. Ira Trocki, who moved the liquor license down the street to Ernie’s old marina, now Tuckers. Ice still sits closed, awaiting development.The Waterfront, which real estate guru Jay Lamont bought from Berman, was one of the best places for casual fare and great entertainment for twenty years, especially on the deck. That is until Lamont sold out to Gary Holloway three years ago. Holloway owns GMH, one of the largest residential construction companies in the country and whose father built Gardens Plaza condos in Ocean City. His company however, builds primarily on college campuses and military bases, and he insists that there are no plans to develop condos at The Inlet site. While Holloway promised a fine bar and restaurant and revamped the old Waterfront deck magnificently, he also brought in two guys from South Philly and Margate to run Sails, and they failed magnificently, starting off by insulting the locals. Martin Grims commitment to this deal makes that promise real. “We are thrilled to become a part of the Somers Point community,” said Grims, “We want to create a year round restaurant with an inviting atmosphere and an enticing menu that appeals to everyone.” Grims graduated from Cornell University ’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, opened the prestigious Four Seasons in Philadelphia, then went on to open what is now Passerelle, the Tango Bar and Grill and Basil Bistro, all on the Main Line in Philadelphia, and DuJour Café and Market caterers. In 2003 Grims and his crew, which includes his brother Michael, revived the restaurant onboard the world’s oldest and largest four-masted ship Moshulu, at Penn’s Landing on Philadelphia ’s waterfront, which is a story itself. The Grims also owns The Plantation (Formerly the Owl Tree) and Daddy O, a restored boutique hotel, restaurant and bar on Long Beach Island, so they know the shore scene. According to their press release, “The Inlet’s color palette of crisp white and sea blue with bursts of sunny orange will call to mind a calm and playful seaside ambience. Bayside picture windows will allow every guest in the 400-seat restaurant to enjoy gorgeous views of the harbor. They promise a “lively lounge area, a circular bar” and an extensive wine list, and “an all-day menu” that will run from $7 to $16 and even more refined entrées, shore specialties and a simply grilled menu with sides and house sauces. Outside, the deck was always the place to go at the Waterfront, and Sails tried to keep the Sunday reggae thing going but it was difficult to get past the restaurant bar to get to the deck. That will all change and the revamped deck promises to be one of the hottest places to be this summer. I repeat, “Grims plans to offer live outdoor entertainment seven days a week,” and The Inlet deck will be the place to be. As soon as their lineup of bands and music is set for the summer, you’ll read about it here, and there’s already excitement in the air.
The Inlet will hold a grand opening party from 5-8pm on Monday, May 21 and open to the public Tuesday, May 22.