Idea, idle gossip and occasionally important odds ‘n’ ends… by Jack Wright
~Can’t say I’ve ever been good at small talk. I attended the reopening of Island Grill last week and, as always, I found it painful to keep chatting about the weather and how long the winter was. To be honest the winter wasn’t long enough for me — we needed more time to get all of our books to the printers and to get all of our stores revamped for summer. So, other than sharing a dirty joke with Guy Portewig (of Cucina Rosa), I really didn’t have much to say for myself. However, I WOULD like to wish the Herforth family, who run Island Grill, all the best for the new season — they’ve changed up the menu from Caribbean-influenced to modern American, using local produce, and the decor got a redo from Viviane Rowan, who runs that lovely, classy store called White on Ocean Street. Good luck folks!
At the same event, I ran into Jeff Gernitis, who’s trying his best but doing a bad job of containing his enthusiasm about the news that he and a couple of partners have bought the Pilot House. Jeff is one of the owners of Peter Shields Inn and has done a great job of running that beloved Georgian revival establishment on Beach Avenue. And I’m excited about his plans for the Pilot House, even though they need to be kept under wraps until the deal to buy the bar and restaurant from Frank and Deirdre Hineline is complete. The rumor mill had it that Jeff merely wanted the liquor license from the Pilot House so that he could transfer it to the Peter Shields and then quickly flip the Pilot House building. But that ain’t true — the Pilot House will remain a bar and restaurant and will even retain its name, which I think is an excellent idea. Watch this space for more details on the Pilot House next month.
And staying on restaurant news, best of luck to the good folks who have relaunched Martini Beach (above Cabanas on Beach and Decatur) as M’Ocean. I have to be honest — I’m not in love with the name, but I’ve always liked that spot a lot and look forward to experiencing the new food and vibe.
Not such good news is the fact that the beloved Merion Inn is no closer to reopening for the season. Its doors have been locked ever since a financial dispute with a contractor put the kibosh on owner Vicki Watson’s plans. Vicki has been trying to find a partner for the project and there were some interested parties, but nothing has come to fruition. It would be sad to see a summer come and go without the Merion Inn open for business.
~The first spring edition of the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival is happening from May 30 to June 1. Organizer Michael Kline, as he does for the fall festivals, has put together a killer lineup that truly IS world-class. We published a program specially for the event, but if you can’t get your hands on a copy, visit www.exit0jazzfest.com. Hot tip: The POPS passes, at $38, represent mind-bogglingly good value. For that you get to see every concert over the weekend, with the exception of the Convention Hall events. Those passes are available at the Exit Zero stores at 109 Sunset and 316 Beach.
Also going on is the 25th annual Cape May Music Festival. For a great roundup of that event, you should consult the May color issue of Exit Zero. Failing that, visit www.capemaymac.org. There is a great variety of performers appearing in Cape May, so go get your culture on! Who says this town is just a pretty face.
And if you like Peter Nero and his Philly Pops, they will be appearing at Convention Hall for the third year running (this Saturday, May 24), and ticket prices have come down to $75 because, says Cape May City, of increased sponsorship. Tickets from www.discovercapemaynj.com.
Until next time, have a splendiferous holiday weekend in America’s Original Seaside Resort.
BIRD IS THE WORD, created by Rosemary Dery