(Oct. 24, 2014) Their eyes have been on the property for over a year and now it is finally settled – Ropewalk will add a beach twist to the former Frescos property on 83rd Street in Ocean City. Renovations are set to start on Nov. 1 and the restaurant’s operators plan to open in early spring. This will be the seafood-centric company’s third location in the region.
The majority of the expansion on the new property will be on a vacant lot south of the existing location. The ground will be filled with sand to create a bayside beach dining area of 3,874 square feet. An expanded deck and pavilion will be built in the outside seating area. There will be seating under the pavilion and in the sand out by the bay.
“The arrangement of the restaurant will give customers an outdoor feel even when they are inside. All of us [the owners] have always vacationed in Ocean City. We love the feel and vibe of the area, it felt like the right time to put our foot in there,” said owner Chris Reda.
The inside of the location will receive “a facelift” and there will be 599 seats for indoor and outdoor seating. In addition, they are expanding the restaurant’s parking lot, bringing the total number of spaces to 104.
The menu will look very familiar to customers of the Fenwick Ropewalk, although a few new items will be added. Reda wanted to have “easier-to-handle” food for outside diners. They have not finalized their fare selection, but say there will be more sandwiches, steamers and a fish of the day.
Ropewalk’s owners learned of the property via a real estate agent who advised them that Fresco’s owners Pino and Karen Tomasello had some interest in selling. They looked it over and decided it would be good opportunity to add a Ropewalk location in Ocean City. Reda said they wanted to take it over last year, but there was not enough time to do the renovations and Frescos was able to finish out the 2014 season.
“We are extremely excited and have been chomping at the bit all year. We were sitting back, not planning on any new ventures and this opportunity presented itself. The property is beautiful and unique. We had to jump on it,” Reda said.
Ropewalk also operates in Baltimore, where its property dates back to the pre-prohibition days and is located on one of the oldest streets in Federal Hill. In 1995, the McFaul brothers started renovating the space and opened the original Baltimore tavern.
Reda, who was a patron of Ropewalk in Baltimore, joined in the venture with the McFaul brothers in 2005. Because Fenwick Island is a favorite beach destination of the McFauls and Reda, they began looking for a possible site there and, after finding what they wanted, opened the Fenwick restaurant two summers ago.