Cape May Restaurants – Big Changes in 2015

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CAPE MAY, NJ -  Change is the name of the game this year in the Cape May restaurant world and some of the changes involve several of Cape May’s most popular and oldest dining hot spots.

Gecko’s

Start with Gecko’s, that perennially favorite Southwestern spot that used to be on Carpenter’s Lane. Owners Randy and Susi Bithell are making a seismic shift from downtown Cape May to West Cape May.  The chef’s billing the new Gecko’s West Perry Cafe as a soup and sandwich kind of place – but wait until you see the menu.

Look for Pork Posole, Jambalaya and Pulled Lamb Flatbread in addition to soups like Tomato Chipotle and Green Curry and Lentil.  Gecko’s diehards still will be able to order Gecko’s famous salad and 3 Sisters Queasdilla.

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The new restaurant, in the former Higher Grounds location on Perry St., will have casual counter service.  Gecko’s opens in early April, right before Easter weekend. And – locals alert- they’ll be open all year!

So who will fill Gecko’s empty space on Carpenter’s Lane?

Yozu Sushi

Yozu Sushi, a sushi newcomer, has been operating a North Cape May dining spot for two years. Owner Alex Teng  is taking the plunge into the tourist infested waters of Cape May this year. He’ll be opening a Yozu’s in Gecko’s former space on Carpenter’s Lane.  It will be a seasonal restaurant, open only from May to October.
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Yozu will serve a limited menu of sushi, tempura and udon noodles.  The restaurant will continue operating its North Cape May sushi place year round.

Yozu is not the only restaurant entering the competitive Cape May restaurant world.

That’s Amore

A Collingswood, New Jersey restaurant – That’s Amore – is moving into the space on the Washington Street Mall  formerly occupied by the venerable Cucina Rosa.

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Look for traditional specialties like tomato gravy and rice balls.  The restaurant also will feature its Create  Your Own Pasta – where diners can choose their own pasta, sauce and topping.

Owner Alfredo Fischioni says he’s expanding to Cape May because the location is right. That’s Amore plans to open its Washington Street Mall restaurant in early April,  on a Thursday through Sunday schedule initially.

In addition to That’s Amore, there’s another newcomer moving into Cape May.

Peace Pie

After selling their ice cream confections in local festivals and farmers’ markets, Peace Pie, a company that started in Woodstock New York, is opening its very first bricks and mortar store on Carpenter’s Lane in Cape May.

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They’re taking over the space formerly occupied by Bliss Ice Cream.
Peace Pie’s signature dish is an ice cream sandwich made with shortbread cookies and various pie fillings.

If you need still more proof that change is afoot this year in Cape May, just look down the street from Peace Pie, where a true Cape May old timer is getting an overhaul and a new name.

Fins Bar and Grille

Don’t look now but the good old Pilot House is no more.

In its place, coming soon, Fins Bar and Grille.  The renovations that are turning the Pilot House into Fins have been going on since the winter. Fins is owned and operated by the owners of the Peter Shields Inn.

Here’s a photo of  the old Pilot House:

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The restaurant was famous for its aquarium set in the back wall.

In a nod to the Pilot House, Fins also will have an aquarium. This aquarium, we hear, will be right in the middle of the bar. Fins reportedly will have more of an open concept.

You might not find the Pilot House’s Hot Turkey Sandwiches on the menu but we’re told the menu will be casual. As per the name, the emphasis will be on seafood.

No word yet on an opening date.

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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.