Prepare to enjoy your OC day to the fullest. I certainly did after visiting this seaside escape and eatery.
The classic 70s groove tunes drew me to The MUZE Café before I spotted the peaceful, comfortable aesthetic and espresso aroma further up the street. Within view, though, I was immediately drawn in. It’s an oasis between the brick hotels and storefronts on either side.
Full disclosure, I had no intention of ruining my intermittent fasting plan with a massive crepe, but sometimes destiny steps in. And I’m glad for it; the entire experience was pleasant in the most genuine sense of the word. From the moment I walked up to the moment I left with a wave, I was welcomed, wowed and whisked away to a peaceful island’s seaside bistro in the heart of Ocean City.
I was greeted by three cousins who run the day-to-day operations and have been doing so for the past six seasons. The family is new to the restaurant industry, but their sense of comfort and relaxation reads loud and clear in the shaded dining area, under the protection of an old tree nestled in pergola beams, handwritten chalkboard signage and thoughtfully accommodating menu items. Allowing them to choose my menu and beverage for me was a wise move. I was given a tour of fresh, local and smooth flavors that I regretted finishing so quickly.
The crepes are ten inches long and five inches wide. And there must have been a pound of fruit nestled inside, along with a half-cup of melted chocolate-hazelnut spread. It’s more than enough for breakfast and didn’t leave me nearly as weighed down as boardwalk food normally does. I was told that the matriarch of the company hand-selects their ingredients, sourcing only the best from what’s local and available. After tasting the two-inch diameter blushing strawberry slices and hand-mixed wafer-thin crepe, I believe that.
MUZE offers peppermint syrup for their drinks all year, a major win for me, and the iced peppermint mocha made with whole milk and real whipped cream was so worth the calories. You know how you get a bit of old penny or grill rack-esque burned bitterness in espresso sometimes? Think diner coffee at half-past two in the afternoon, when you know no one has ordered it in hours. There was none of that. I’m a self-acknowledged coffee snob with a culinary background and this was one of the smoothest and most well-balanced iced drinks I’ve had. Not overly sweet, not so much syrup that the coffee disappears, and the proper ice-to-drink ratio to not dilute your investment into tan water.
The MUZE Café has Facebook and Instagram pages if you’d like to plan your visit. With limited seating, it might be a good idea to get there early. It’s a business that understands what makes OC so special; the family appeal of downtown, walkability of beachfront areas and the local flavors that you’ll remember months and years later. And they also remember you and your likes. I can attest to this, as I mentioned appreciating their peppermint availability in passing and was given a peppermint mocha without prompting. Personalized service in a busy tourist area? Yes.
MUZE offers a retreat from brutal sun, casual eats for all and ambiance in a normally hectic area. Enjoy – I certainly did!