Ocean City Today

Ocean City Foodie Tours now offered, set to begin today

By Morgan Pilz | May 17, 2018
The inaugural Big Get-Together was held on May 9 at the Ocean City Center for Arts, a fundraiser for the programs of the Art League of Ocean City. The event brought together restaurants from the OC Foodie Tour, craft beer samplings from ShoreCraft Beer, music from Full Circle Duo, and artwork with a live auction. Pictured is Sabra Hendon, left, and Alex Stamnas.

(May 18, 2018) The first official Ocean City Foodie Tours will begin today, Friday, at noon.

The midtown tour will start on 28th Street and go to 37th Street. The downtown tour runs from Talbot Street to Fourth Street.

These tours come after a successful launch for the event hosted by the Art League of Ocean City, May 9 at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street.

Sandy Gillis, an Ocean City business owner and the creator of OC Foodie Tour, decided to create a food tour for Ocean City after experiencing several during her travels to other cities.

“My husband and I go on food tours every time we go on vacation,” Gillis said. “They are very popular and pretty much any city in the United States and even Europe have them. We’ve done them in Seattle, Park City, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, we even did one in Prague.

“So, every time we’d go on one, I say, ‘Why isn’t anybody doing this in OC? They even have one in Rehoboth,’” she continued.

Gillis began planning for the OC Foodie Tour in January after a snowstorm kept her homebound. As a member of the Art League, she knew she wanted to incorporate the nonprofit organization into her tour plans.

“It is a culinary art, as well as a performing art,” Gillis said. “So, I decided I was going to make this a part of a fundraiser in a way for the board by donating a portion of every ticket sale to the Art League.”

The kickoff fundraiser took place at the Art League, where six restaurants taking part in the tour served food to over 150 guests. Beer provided by Shore Craft Brewery was paired with different food, while live music from Full Circle Duo played in the background.

In addition to the food and art, a live auction took place as well as an art competition. The gallery featured art pieces that coordinated with the food tour event, based on the five senses.

“The art reflected the feeling, the smell of an essential oil before you looked at the art represented smell, the music was sound, and the food and the beer was taste,” Gillis said. “It was a great event.”

“The exhibit upstairs was a competition, called ‘Come to Your Senses’, and we asked artists to relate to one of the five senses,” said Rina Thaler, executive director of the Ocean City Center for the Arts. “Touch, smell, taste, etc. and [they] did a piece of artwork based on those senses and that was judged.”

The event raised over $5,000. Gillis and Thaler have both expressed an interest to make this an annual event.

The Foodie Tours are expected to take place over a one-mile walk radius to five different restaurants. It will take about three hours to complete each. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing. Tours are scheduled five days a week – Monday to Friday – from May to August, starting at noon.

“By September and October, I’m sure things will slow down as the season always does so we might end up doing one tour a week,” Gillis said. “We’re going to see what the demand requires.”

For the first event, the midtown Foodie Tour will begin at Buxy’s Salty Dog on 28th Street and go nine blocks down to Coconuts Bar and Grill at Castle in the Sand Hotel on 37th Street. In between sampling the different food the tours will have to offer, Gillis plans on sharing the history of Ocean City and the restaurants as well.

“I’ll combine it with history of Ocean City,” Gillis said. “How it became the ‘White Marlin Capital of the World,’ how the inlet was created, local lore, fascinating facts and things that I’m surprised I didn’t even know. I refer to it as an informative culinary journey, so you’re learning about food and about history.”

Gillis wants residents and tourists to see different sides of Ocean City, beyond the fast food places and “usual watering holes.”

“We all go to the same places, over and over and over again,” Gillis said. “[For example] Ripieno’s [on 33rd Street], nobody even knows about it. It’s right behind Burger King and nobody sees it because it’s behind Burger King.

“But, he’s got some of the best pizza I’ve ever tried in my life,” Gillis added. “He made this dessert pizza that has slices of strawberries and blueberries and chocolate, and it was fantastic. I want other people to experience his unique twist on pizza and other food.”

Each Foodie Tour will be a unique experience because the restaurants visited will change frequently.

“Some restaurants want to do it every single day, some want to do it once a week, twice a week, [and] some twice a month,” Gillis said. “There’s no commitment. It doesn’t cost them anything to be a part of it.”

Some restaurants are just beginning to open around this time, which means there is a potentially larger list of restaurants to join the food tours.

“I’m always looking to add anybody new who wants to be a part of it, and there’s no obligation with the restaurants,” Gillis said. “But I’m always trying to add new places, unique places.”

Tickets for the tours can be purchased online at http://ocfoodietour.com/ for $79, which includes a sampling of food at each restaurant.

Members of the Art League will receive a 10 percent discount by using the code OC ARTS. Others can save $10 by using special code FOODIE on the website. Any questions or special requests can be made at info@ocfoodietour.com.

To learn more about the Art League or to become a member, go to https://artleagueofoceancity.org/.

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