Local Flava

In the Civil War that is the Jersey Shore in the summer, we shoobees underestimate our opponents, the locals. They’re slicker than we think. Their weapons are subtle: driving slow, sicing state troopers on our PA-plated asses, hoping we’ll eventually get so annoyed we’ll just give up. The segregation sucks since locals’ neighborhood taverns and pubs happen to be some of the finest eating establishments at the shore. Glamorous they’re not, but the food is often delicious and cheap. When we strolled into Robert’s Place in Margate for lunch, the idle construction workers, off-duty lifeguards, and homecoming queen waitress looked at us all crazy. But the bare-bones bar food is so, so worth feeling like an outcast. The peppery wing sauce induces sniffles, the onion rings are crisp, and the mussels overfloweth in their wooden salad bowl. Not a one was fishy or sandy, and the tomato sauce was chunky enough to eat with a fork. The Anchorage in Somers Point is a little more accessible for the non-local, though expect to wait for a table at dinnertime if you want to sit in the dining room or covered porch. Try the tavern, where creamy pints of Blue Moon and pool tables soothe the pain of waiting. Sit back, order the pig sandwich, a caloric affair of Cheddar-topped pulled pork in a soft Kaiser, and watch the Phillies implode on a flat-screen above. Yum. In the nature of good food and good spirits, we’re proposing a truce this summer. Locals: Swear to God, we’ll stop double-parking and peeing in your ocean if you keep opening great cafes and saloons—and learn how to drive.

Photo: blogalicious

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