Part of the Master Plan for the City of Ventnor is to bring more businesses into the area. In particular, they love new dining and entertainment options for year-round residents as well as summer tourists. Some vacant buildings can still be found around town. They are in perfectly good condition, waiting to be scooped up by someone with a good business concept. New businesses like these help the local economy by bringing jobs as well as tax dollars into the area. A brand new “next generation” Dunkin’ Donuts opened up here late last year. And just a couple of months ago, I wrote about Santucci’s Square Pizza renovating the old Arrow Hardware building to transform it into their newest Jersey Shore location sometime later this year. Well, just last month, the Board Planning Board approved the site plan for another new Ventnor restaurant: Water Dog Smoke House.
New Ventnor Restaurant Alert: Fresh Fish Year Round
Water Dog Smoked Fish has operated in Margate since the summer of 2017. They offer high-quality smoked fish from sustainable sources and with no preservatives. The owner of Water Dog Smoked Fish, Steve Marchel, became a partner with the investment group that purchased the old Sun Bank building on Ventnor Ave. Water Dog clients kept telling Mr. Marchel that they wished there was someplace in Ventnor that they could enjoy fresh fish year-round, whether through a market like his or a restaurant. When he moved to Ventnor a little while ago, he thought that a fresh fish restaurant in the same city he lived in sounded like a great idea, too. And the old Sun Bank building near the Margate/Ventnor border provided the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
The new Ventnor restaurant will be a small affair with just 15 seats inside. But Mr. Marchel would like to expand it to include outdoor seating as well. Six dedicated parking spots outside of the restaurant allow more parking than the City requires. Employees would be shuttled from a nearby Margate location. The fish would be smoked off-site and brought in fresh each day. Mr. Marchel said that the restaurant would operate from 6:30 am to 7 pm seven days a week. Their menu would include a poke bar featuring fish provided by Marchel’s Water Dog Smoked Fish facility as well as breakfast sandwiches unlike any other restaurant in the area. Instead of competing against similar restaurants, Marchel wants to provide Ventnor with yet another dining option. And all items on the menu will be available for take-out. They’re hoping to be up and running by summertime.
Atlantic City Rail Line Update
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Atlantic City Rail Line re-opening being delayed until spring 2019 or maybe even later. Some of the major criticism lobbied at NJ Transit has been their lack of transparency. Earlier this week, Governor Murphy called out NJ Transit and demanded that they provide the public with an exact date by the end of this week. Officials responded that full services are now set to resume on the Atlantic City Rail Line on May 24, 2019. While that may feel like a long time from now, at least we have a definite date when the line will open up for business again.