Cape May Foodie – Breakfast Al Fresco

Cape May, NJ -  What better way to start a summer day in Cape May than by dining outdoors? Sometimes a leisurely breakfast in the great outdoors can feel like a mini vacation.  Lucky for us, Cape May has a variety of outdoor restaurants serving breakfast.   Here are four with distinctly different settings:

McGlades on the Pier

Sit down in one of the plastic chairs at McGlade’s and soak up pure beach ambiance. This is a no frills kind of place, with a menu of omelet concoctions that have stood the test of time. Does anyone remember when McGlades wasn’t in this spot?  For newbies: the restaurant’s tucked away at the end of a boardwalk next to Convention Hall.

The omelets all come served with potatoes and fruit on the kind of plate your mother used to buy at the five and ten.   Coffee is strong and good. Have a second cup and watch the waves breaking. Opens at 7:30AM

The Red Store

Hidden away in Cape May Point is a little oasis of calm, surrounded by gardens.  Eat your breakfast on the peaceful terrace tucked behind the Red Store, the Point’s only restaurant/general store and you get a Nantucket meets Argentina sort of vibe.

What’s to eat?  Interesting stuff. Try the avocado BLT with homemade tomato jam. Or the housemade chorizo sausage breakfast sandwich. Was that tarragon on the home fries? Nothing is as you expect. Always better.  And mostly local. They’re serious about food here. Chef Lucas Manteca runs a farm in his spare time.

Newbies: To get to the Red Store at Cape May Point, head for Sunset Beach but make a left at Cape Ave. and go straight ahead. Opens at 7:30AM.

The Rusty Nail

There are no windows or doors here, just a spare, cavernous open air space.  You get a distinct industrial garage feeling.   Grab a table next to the street and watch the early morning parade of runners along the beach promenade.

Most locals know the Rusty Nail as a late night destination, not an early morning stop.  Too bad for them.

The perfect bacon and eggs come with a homemade biscuit, reminiscent of the Rusty Nail’s big Sis – The Blue Pig at Congress Hall. The place is also very family friendly – you can do the whole al fresco breakfast thing at a picnic table as well. Newbies: the Nail’s at the far west end of Beach Avenue. Opens at 7:30AM.

Mad Batter

Come summer, the granddaddy of the local breakfast scene opens up its front porch to diners once again.   It’s the quintessential Cape May experience – breakfast on the porch overlooking historic Jackson Street.

The Mad Batter was known early on for its pancakes – hence the name Batter. These days, you can find an assortment of egg dishes as well.  While you eat your breakfast, watch the early morning passersby heading to the beach.  Opens at 8AM.

The Mad Batter stays open for much of the year, but its porch closes when the weather gets cooler.  So too do The Red Store, The Rusty Nail and McGlade’s.  Enjoy those al fresco breakfasts while you can.

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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak is a journalist, a gardener and a Cape Island resident. She's also Cape May Times' photographer. She founded Cape May Times after a long and lively career in TV news.