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cate meighan: inside going out

I think one of the hardest things that you can ask a writer to do is to either write a bio or an introduction of some kind about themselves.

Like right at this very moment I could easily tell you details about how the Yankees are losing in their season opener (no, I’m not a fan) or how I’m as baffled as everyone else is about Rolling Stone saying they won’t fire the writer that didn’t fact-check on the UVA rape story.

Oh and I can hardly wait for Bruce Jenner’s sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer later this month because I want to hear his story once and for all, from him. See, I can easily talk about everything except myself, but here it goes. Who is Cate?

Well, I fell into this writing thing on a whim a really long time ago.  It took me years to stop trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life and to instead understand that I was already doing it.

I have covered a lot of ground and have written for a multitude of national and international publications. You guys may have seen me on Music Times, Celeb Dirty Laundry or Huffington Post to name a few. Since I’ve been marketed as a “pop culture expert” I am lucky enough to do a lot of radio interviews across the country on entertainment news.

You also may already know me from Ocean 98 because each Friday morning I get to hang out with Bulldog and the boys, dishing the latest Hollywood news and whatever else they choose to throw at me.

It truly is my favorite interview of the week, especially now that I’m local.

About six months ago my husband and I packed up the family and decided to abandon long NYC commutes in favor of beach life and the Coolest Small Town in America and we have never regretted it.

So here I am and the amazing gang at Ocean City Today has offered me a weekly opportunity, not just to report on local entertainment, but to really get to know you guys – especially the locals who keep this area thriving all year long.

It’s easy to just cover a local bar scene, but then that will only appeal to one select group of readers. My real goal is for you not to know where I’ll turn up with my camera next because, in my mind, that will be balanced coverage.

Since I was already late to the party that is this issue of Ocean City Today and it was a holiday weekend, I was really in family mode this past week.  In the end that worked out perfectly because there was just so much going on for kids, starting with Berlin’s Spring Celebration.

Through the Looking Glass featured a cupcake-eating contest, games, face painting and a hat parade. The local merchants (as usual) pulled together to make sure that it was a great day for the hundreds of little ones that were in attendance. It really doesn’t take that much to make little kids happy and this event really started the holiday weekend off right.

I also had an opportunity to check out Piaza, which just opened its doors at the Ocean Landing Shops near WalMart in Berlin on Saturday. While it was originally dubbed a “soft opening,” let me tell you, this place was jam-packed.

David Crocetti first got the idea of opening up his own brick oven pizza place while laying on the beach several months ago and after spending a few minutes chatting with him it was obvious that once his mind is set on something, it becomes reality pretty quickly. After owning four different Sonic restaurants, Crocetti also has the business smarts to pull off such a lofty new endeavor.

Piaza’s slogan of  “Fresh, Fast & Fiery” fits the business perfectly. Crocetti spent six months perfecting his own pizza dough and learning to cook with a flame-fired 1000-degree brick oven. He also mastered the Piada, which is Italian pasta grilled with flat bread and a variety of meats, cheeses, sauces and veggies.

Think of it as an Italian burrito, now know that it’s better and tastier than you’re expecting it to be.  The offerings at Piaza will leave salad fans feeling like they are in bigger city like New York, where build-your-own-salad places are as common as coffee shops.

Crocetti’s vision for a beautiful building, in a busy location with a huge flame-fired brick oven might have been the easiest part of the equation. Getting a bunch of brand new employees to serve a long line of people winding out the door as quickly as possible – with an ever-changing menu – was a pretty tough task, but I have to say, they really kept things moving.

The pizza’s themselves only take three minutes in the oven that is the true focal point of Piaza. I created a few pizzas and grabbed a Grilled Chicken Pesto Piada and waited only four minutes for my food to be cooked right in front of me.

The brand new staff didn’t appear stressed at all. In fact, if you weren’t a local or hadn’t seen the “Grand Opening” sign out front, you really wouldn’t think this place was brand new when it comes to their efficiency and service.

I know, the biggest question is about the food itself so let me tell you, my gourmet pizza was cooked perfectly and the Piada was so good.  I love pesto but really hate smelling like it for two days, so I almost didn’t order the Grilled Chicken Pesto Piada, but in the end I was glad that I did. It was really mild but the flavor was still great.

As far as pricing goes on this design your own menu, everything is $7.95 and there is a separate kids menu with equally fresh food for just $4.49.  Trust me, the next time you run into WalMart to grab shampoo and scotch tape (only to end up with nine bags and a wallet $100 bucks lighter) you really should venture across the parking lot to grab some great food at Piaza.

* * *

If you hit the boards at all this past weekend you certainly weren’t alone. It’s already beginning to look and feel like summer is getting a little bit closer. Jolly Roger at the Pier just reopened for the season and Brian Berk, one of the managers, said that they were seeing a pretty steady stream of business even though some of the rides aren’t yet up and running. Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille on the Boardwalk at Fourth Street, was also packed with adults grabbing a quick drink before heading home to play Easter Bunny later that night.

* * *

There’s a lot to do coming up this weekend starting with 49th Street hotspot, Seacrets’ presenting the inaugural 12 Pack of Local Music and Beer Fest on Saturday, April 11 from 1-6p.m. The cost is $30.

Also, The Freeman Stage at Bayside recently announced its 2015 summer lineup, with tickets for great acts like Hall & Oates, Heart, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Blondie and many more all going on sale to the public on Monday, April 13 online at www.freemanstage.org.

Marina Deck on Dorchester Street in downtown Ocean City is open for the season, serving lunch and dinner daily.

M.R. Ducks on Talbot Street opened for the season last weekend. The Frog Bar at the inlet has also reopened.

The Tiki Bar at Harpoon Hanna’s, on Route 54, will reopen for the season today, April 10. Dave Hawkins will perform from 6-10 p.m. Hooper’s Crab House in West OC reopens as well April 10.

Check out It’s About Time, a new band on the OC scene, playing at Johnny’s Pizza on 56th Street, Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m.

Be entertained by ghost stories over a three-course dinner at the Dunes Manor Hotel on 28th Street and Baltimore Ave., Saturday, April 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Call 410-289-1100. The cost is $69 in advance, $89 the day of the event. The cost for children 13 and younger is $59.

Fish Tales on 22nd Street, bayside, reopens for the season on Wednesday, April 15 at 11 a.m. Happy hour is 3-6 p.m.

* * *

This is where you all get to help me! What do you think deserves some attention next week? Tips, ideas, suggestions and feedback are all welcome. I really want to hear all of you. I can’t feature everything obviously, but I can guarantee you that if you take a minute to reach out I’ll definitely see and consider it!

You can contact me at cate@oceancitytoday.net

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