Owners of Ocean City Northend Beach Grill Hope to Reopen in Wake of Fire

first_imgDave and Ruth Buch, of Ocean City, stop by the Northend Beach Grill to see the fire damage Sunday. By Maddy VitaleDave and Ruth Buch took a stroll Sunday morning to see what their favorite breakfast eatery in Ocean City looked like two days after a blaze forced its closure.The Northend Beach Grill at 9 Beach Road, described on its Facebook page as a restaurant that features good, simple, food at decent prices, right on the beach with fantastic views and an island feel, was severely damaged. “It has a great view,” the Buchs said almost in unison.“I don’t know how extensive the damage is,” Ruth Buch said. “We just hope they reopen soon.”A tarp covers a portion of the charred roof.The couple, who has lived in the Gardens section of Ocean City since 2001, said they were regulars at the beach grill.“Ruth always got the eggs and home fries,” Dave Buch noted. “I got chocolate milk and the special, with scrapple or sausage. We always enjoy it.”The couple would either walk to the restaurant from their home or stop in after one of their 15- mile-long bike rides, they said.Angelo DiBartolo, of Ocean City, co-owner with Jim Aller of the Northend Beach Grill, said in a phone conversation Sunday, that he and his family are devastated about the fire. He recalled when he found out about it. “We were really busy Friday. It happened at 3 p.m. If it happened at 5:30 p.m. when we are closed, it would have been a pile of rubble,” DiBartolo explained. “Thankfully, no one was hurt. It looks like it was an electrical fire from a live wire from 30 years ago. We never would have known about.”The official cause of the fire, however, was undetermined, Fire Chief James Smith said Sunday night.A tarp covered a portion of the charred roof Sunday and the smell of smoke lingered. People check out the Northend Beach Grill Sunday, two days after a fire left it severely damaged.DiBartolo and Aller opened the restaurant 10 years ago. They lease the building.“We brought back the tradition of when it was Richard’s Grill in the 1970s and 1980s,” DiBartolo noted.The beach grill may be a small footprint in the sands, but it has a large following of people who frequented the eatery, he said.DiBartolo quickly posted information on the beach grill’s Facebook page about the fire and closure. He wrote, “As some of you are aware, we had a major fire at the beach grill this afternoon. Thankfully, everyone got out O.K. and the Ocean City Fire and Police Departments did an outstanding job. I can’t thank them enough. Sadly, we will be closed for the foreseeable future, but hopefully will return better than ever.”The eatery is the only one like it in Ocean City because of its location on the beach.DiBartolo, a history teacher at Ocean City High School, said he wants the public to know they are trying their best to work through the details to reopen. “We are meeting with the insurance companies,” he said. “I am hoping that they will let us rebuild and we come back better than ever.”He said other Ocean City restaurants, especially Browns Restaurant and Oves Restaurant, have reached out to them and have been very supportive.He and Aller, who summers in Ocean City and is an Ocean City High School graduate, knows the restaurant is special, a landmark in the city and definitely one a kind.“People say they feel like they are in the islands,” DiBartolo said. “It is such a cool location.”Just days since the fire, DiBartolo said he already misses seeing the kids getting ice cream and fries.“My daughter was teary-eyed today, not knowing, ultimately, the future of the beach grill,” he said adding that all of the staff are locals. “It is just a positive little place.” Jeff Pallante, who vacations with his family in Ocean City, says it is a tradition for them to stop in the eatery.Jeff Pallante rode his bike up to the eatery and checked out the sign that said: “Closed due to fire.”He said he and his family are sad about the news. “We always like to come to this place when we are here for vacation,” he said. “We are bummed. It is a family tradition for us to eat at the grill.”Pallante, whose brother-in-law has a home in Ocean City, comes down with his wife, Maureen, and their boys, Aidan, 10, and Shane, 14, a few times a summer, and enjoy stopping in to get a bite to eat.“We always have a good time there. It is a good place for a quick sandwich and to get out of the heat a bit,” Pallante said. “Who knows, maybe they will reopen new and improved.” The façade of the Northend Beach Grill appears untouched by fire, but an owner says there is extensive damage inside.Gerri Ransom, of Ocean City, rode her bike by the restaurant, slowed down, checked out the sign and shook her head.“It’s such a shame,” she said, adding that she hopes they reopen soon.“It is kind of a unique place,” Ransom said. “It was good if you were on the beach all day and needed lunch.”The Ocean City Fire Department responded to the fire on Friday afternoon.last_img read more

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