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A Good Time for All
On the heels of a recent renovation, The Deauville Inn caters to all ages and a wide range of experiences for those who love to enjoy the Jersey Shore.

by Matt Cosentino

 Everyone from South Jersey or the surrounding areas who has grown up spending their summers “down the Shore” has their favorite hangouts they return to every year. Perhaps one spot is where they like to take the kids for lunch, the next is their go-to choice for happy hour and yet another is the perfect setting for a romantic date night.

Finding one establishment to fulfill all of those occasions is rare—but then again, not many places can compare to The Deauville Inn, a historic property that is considered a Jersey Shore institution and has been a must-visit for locals and vacationers alike for generations.

“We like to tell people that you can get several different experiences here, which is very unique,” says Adam Modder, vice president of operations at The Deauville. “If you’re just looking to watch a game, you can hang out in the pub and have a nice water view. We have the deck outside, which is the place everyone wants to be when it’s nice. We have 36 boat slips, and those fill up all summer long. If you want to have a nice sit-down dinner, the dining room has a separate menu that is a little more high-end with a nice wine list. And if you have the kids and you’re just looking to hang out and get some sun, the beach is always there, too. It’s no surprise that we push thousands of people through here on a weekend, because there’s something for everyone to do.”

Located in the welcoming town of Strathmere, an oft-overlooked gem nestled between Ocean City and Sea Isle, The Deauville is a waterfront destination catering to clientele of all ages. Originally built as The Whelan Hotel in the late 1800s, it got its present-day name in the Roaring ’20s and became a popular spot over the ensuing decades, only to suffer extensive damage from the Five High Storm in 1962.

The restaurant shuttered for about 18 years before being resurrected and again drawing a loyal following thanks to its stunning bay views and quality food, but it has reached a new height under its current owner Dr. Tim Fox, who purchased The Deauville in 2019. Modder was part of the consulting firm that advised him on the deal and helped renovate the building before joining the team on a full-time basis.

The makeover was meant to retain all the old-school charm while creating an updated and inviting space, and has been a huge hit with both longtime patrons and those discovering The Deauville for the first time. It now offers an elegant dining room with a seafood-centric menu; a sunset deck where guests can watch the sunset while enjoying cocktails and casual fare with friends; one of the best oyster bars around; and a sandbar where guests can kick the party up a notch on the beach with their toes in the sand.

“The ultimate directive came from Tim: He’s been in the area for 20-plus years, the town of Strathmere is near and dear to him, and he obviously came to The Deauville all the time,” Modder says. “So we had the challenge of keeping the historical side of it but also bringing it up to the new age. The idea wasn’t to completely blow it up and make it something new and modern, but to hang onto that cool nostalgia.”

Executive chef T.J. Ricciardi was brought in to elevate the menu, keeping old favorites while adding high-end dishes and emphasizing locally caught seafood and produce sourced from area farms. But the ownership group has also succeeded in creating a buzz that people just want to be a part of, even in the offseason, which will certainly continue this summer. 

The season kicked off with a rollicking Memorial Day weekend that included an appearance by DJ Smooth, drink specials and a Memorial Day brunch. The Fourth of July will be feted with a weeklong celebration featuring free hot dogs during the town’s famous parade, a DJ on Saturday and a Sunday event called Apres Beach, an energetic happy hour with specials on summer spritzes, music and giveaways. The same party will be held every Sunday in July and August.

Family-friendly Movie Nights will run for four weeks starting July 9, with the featured films Back to the Future, The Avengers, The Goonies and Jumanji. A White Party is scheduled for July 27 and two Country Nights are slated for July 13 and Aug. 10.

“We really try to do something every weekend,” Modder says. “I encourage people to follow us on social media or check out our website, because there’s always something going on here.”

Modder is originally from Minnesota and previously worked in the hospitality industry in Las Vegas before joining the restaurant and moving his family across the country. He loves the Jersey Shore’s unique vibe and is proud to be part of the tradition at The Deauville while appealing to new generations at the same time.

“For the most part, everyone is on vacation here,” he says. “They’re either down for a week getting away from the stress of their lives, or they have second homes here that they’re enjoying. They’re just looking to have a good time and we’re happy to provide it.”

The Deauville Inn
(609) 263-2080