In Maryland, the locals like to put their delis inside liquor stores.
Before I began working in the Old Line State, this was a completely foreign concept to me. The first time I entered a liquor store on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I was instantly overwhelmed by the scent of dill pickles. Astonished and more than a little enamored, I sought out the source. In the corner was a petite counter and two ladies preparing submarine sandwiches to go.
Now I will forever associate a liquor store with sub sandwiches. Seaside Deli, Beer and Wine in Ocean City captures this unique and successful combination with its surfside store.
On 72nd Street and Coastal Highway, you’ll find the deli in a small strip center on the southbound side of the road. It’s unassuming and at first, I wasn’t sure why it came so highly recommended to me. But when I approached the front door, I understood. Liscio’s and Aversa Bakery boxes were waiting outside the door. Their breads are no joke.
And the bread is very important on a sub. Critically important. Too soft and it’s like eating a carwash sponge; too hard and it ruins the sanctity of the ingredients inside. The perfect combo of crispy crust and airy insides is paramount. And both these bakeries are locally known to balance crust and crumb beautifully.
The advertisement of Boar’s Head deli meats and cheeses was also a good sign.
Inside, I was surprised to see not just a liquor store, but also a full-service quick-stop convenience store. The store was hopping, with at least two dozen customers browsing, chatting up the staff or reviewing the overhead sandwich menu. In fact, I heard many guests greeted by name, letting me know that this place caters to a recurring customer base. Promising, indeed.
I was overjoyed to see local brands like Lewes Dairy and Turkey Hill in the refrigerated cases as well. Martin’s Eggs and C.W. Dunnet dairy products filled the squat glass-front case, both Lancaster-based brands. Tossed green and bound side salads were ready to grab and go, and Schmidt breads and rolls, another local name, were available for home sandwich building. Nine fridges of cold beer supply lined the back wall and a full-service bar is set up in the back, too, with six stools and TVs ready for sports viewing.
It was hard to choose a sandwich from those on display. They had the standards like freshly-made chicken salad, Italian-style sandwiches and Reubens, but there were some curve balls in there, too, Oriental Chicken and the Barnyard among them. I ended up choosing the Hungry Kayaker and was overwhelmed at the amount of filling in it. I ate half and was so full, I could barely sit comfortably.
Make sure to stop in for Woody’s Kegs and Eggs too. It’s breakfast served all day at the bar, complete with a pint of beer. Really.
Great sandwiches, inside a liquor store. Only in Maryland, and Seaside’s only in Ocean City.
Have you visited Seaside Deli? What did you order? What other local businesses should I review? Let me know in the comments!