For ten years, my family has driven down to New Jersey's Ocean City Boardwalk every summer. Do we do this to promote family bonding? Yeah, sure. Do we do this to go on roller coasters? Yeah, sure. But do we do it mostly because we enjoy starting at one end of the boardwalk and stopping to eat at every place possible before we hit the end? Abso-freakin-loutely.

Over time, my family has honed in on all of the Ocean City Boardwalk must-eats and now I’m letting you in on the best of the best. Let me just say from the bottom of my heart: you’re welcome.

1. Manco and Manco

pizza, dough, pepperoni, crust, mozzarella, cheese
Liza Wolf

This has been a staple of my family's Ocean City Boardwalk diet since year one. There have been a bunch of different pizza options over the years, but this one is by far the best. 

They have giant pies with a solid crust-to-sauce-to-cheese ratio, and are always burning hot. Sometimes the things we love hurt us the most, but the threat of a burnt mouth has never stopped me before. My mouth waters every time I look at this picture and I’m not even a little sorry about it.

2. Fudge Kitchen

milk, chocolate
Liza Wolf

In order to allow your body to keep eating all day long, some things you only need a taste of, which is what makes The Fudge Kitchen so perfect. God bless places that give out free samples. 

The Fudge Kitchen offers bite-sized treats perfect for getting juuuust enough fudgy goodness. If that’s not enough fudgy goodness for ya, you can always buy a block of fudge (or you know…just keep going back for samples). And if you’re hungry for more bite-sized beauties, check out some of these recipes you can make at home.

3. Curly’s Fries

chicken, potato
Liza Wolf

This is an Ocean City Boardwalk personal favorite of mine. It definitely took some shopping around to locate where to go to get the ultimate cheese fry experience, but in the end, Curly’s Fries wins the gold. Fresh-fried crinkle cuts smothered in cheese sauce, these are the self-proclaimed best on the boardwalk and I’ve gotta agree with ‘em. 

Any place that gives you a cup holder in which to put a cup of melted cheese is alright by me. Here's another thing I burn my mouth with diving in too early every single year. No regrets.

4. Johnson’s Popcorn

popcorn, corn, caramel, kettle corn, cereal, nut, sweet, walnut
Liza Wolf

We have a reusable tub from this place so we get discounts when we go back. That’s how much we like it. If you time it right, you can see them marrying the heavenly union of popcorn and caramel in a giant kettle. 

This time, I was lucky enough to watch them scoop heaps of it straight from the kettle into our bucket and Oh. My. God. Few things feel more like heaven than warm Johnson’s caramel corn. It's sometimes a little sticky, but always mouthwateringly good.

If you desire an even more adventurous twist on caramel corn, try this recipe.

5. Shriver’s

cream, milk, sweet, ice, chocolate, whipped cream, dairy
Liza Wolf

Salt water taffy is an absolute must on any boardwalk. With flavors ranging from watermelon to chocolate to Jolly Rancher, it’s well worth the sugar-induced toothache that your mother will warn you about. 

They make it in the back of the store and they have giant windows, so you can actually watch the magic happen. If you’ve got a few spare minutes, definitely stop in to watch. 

To make it even better, just a few doors down from the Shriver’s candy shop is Shriver’s gelato. My personal fave combination is half salted caramel half chocolate hazelnut, but I’ve never tried a flavor there that I wouldn’t mind eating an entire tub of. Shoutout to Shriver’s. You done good.

6. Bubble Tea and Beyond

milk, straw, yogurt, milkshake
Photo courtesy of Bubble Tea and Beyond on Facebook

This is a new addition, but definitely a good one. Previously, Bubble Tea and Beyond was a stand that made some of the most bomb waffles I’ve ever had. I was disappointed to see it go, but my sister loves bubble tea so we decided to give the new place a try after it transformed. 

We’ll definitely be stopping by again next year. And we’ll get more than one drink so my sister doesn’t have to yell at me for drinking half of hers. Not only was it amazing and refreshing after a long day on the boardwalk, but the woman who owns it is even sweeter than the tea. She gave us a bunch of samples of different types of boba to try, including fresh tapioca as well as mango. That disappointment from earlier? Totally gone.

Bonus: they have water for just a dollar, which is honestly a steal.

7. TLC's Polish Water Ice

cream, ice
Liza Wolf

Most people know water ice of the Rita’s variety. But that ain’t got nothin’ on Polish Water Ice. Exactly what part of the process is different that makes it better? Beats me. But it’s much smoother, creamier, and thicker tasting—a little closer to an ice cream texture than a slushie. It still manages to be fairly light and refreshing. Plus, if you get a flavor like blue raspberry it’ll turn your tongue fun colors.

8. Cone Appetit

ice, cream
Liza Wolf

This is another newbie on the Ocean City Boardwalk block, but, oh man, do I hope it’s here to stay. Amazing pun name aside, it was a pleasant surprise how tasty these were. 

Cone Appetit serves everything in a lightly salted bread cone, with options like breakfast with taylor ham, egg, and cheese (would you expect anything less from South Jersey?) or meatball subs (again…we are in South Jersey, people). 

I chose to get bacon, mac and cheese in a cone, which tasted fresh and wasn’t too heavy (that gets major points from me). My dad got a buffalo chicken cone, which was also reportedly delicious. He raved about the buffalo sauce and literally called our friend to tell them about how perfectly salted the bread cone was. 10/10 for Cone Appetit. You go, Cone Appetit.

9. Opa

Liza Wolf

So this place boats mostly standard Greek foods, but they also have kickass crêpes. We got a classic lamb gyro, stuffed to the brim with all the fillings. You know it’s gonna be good when you can barely fit the food in your mouth to take a bite. 

I would definitely recommend the crêpe we ordered, which had Nutella, crushed pretzels and strawberries. They have a wide array of sweet crêpes to choose from, and tbh, I would eat any and all of them. When we go next year, I’m getting the spanakopita because the table next to us got it and I had food FOMO. Yes, that is a thing.

10. Hula Restaurant and Sauce Co.

chicken, sauce, chicken wings
Liza Wolf

Many of the vendors in Ocean City are directly on the boardwalk, so if you want to sit and enjoy, you may have to fend off other visitors for some of the scattered benches. Luckily, Hula is part of a food court that’s slightly more secluded from the general bustle, so if you want to sit down and enjoy some Hawaiian food, this is the place for you. 

And the fried coconut shrimp we ordered? Yes, I’ll have some more, please.

11. Bashful Banana

Liza Wolf

This little bakery and café is small and cozy. They have a wide variety of coffees to choose from if you need a little help recharging. But mostly importantly, they make Banana Whip. It’s literally just frozen banana, so it’s actually really healthy—as long as you don’t go too crazy with the toppings. I got peanut butter sauce, because who doesn’t love peanut butter with what’s essentially a banana in ice cream form?

12. Kohr Brothers

spam, crunch, fish, chips
Liza Wolf

Frozen custard is a must. Kohr Bros is the best. No competition. Luckily, there are a couple scattered along the boardwalk, so wherever you are, you’re never far from a quality dessert. 

I tend to go for a classic vanilla chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles, but I’ve never tried a bad flavor there. Mint and chocolate swirl? Delish. Straight-up coffee flavor? Yum. Orange and vanilla aka basically a creamsicle? Scrumptious. You can’t go wrong here, people. You just can’t.

13. Aloha

cream, ice
Liza Wolf

They’ve got ice cream, sundaes, and water ice, but most importantly, Dole Whip. Fat-free and dairy-free, it's a healthy beacon of hope in the midst of all the fried boardwalk food. 

I’m not a big pineapple fan, but even I snuck a few spoonfuls of this. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and absolutely love pineapple, they have Dole Whip floats in pineapple juice. 

And when you're craving some, but not on the boardwalk, you can make your own at home.

14. L.P.’s Pierogies Wings and Things

Liza Wolf

I like this place because like L.P., I too enjoy pierogies, wings, and things. Usually, I get a classic boiled pierogi with butter and sautéed onions, and will fight every member of my family to get the most bites in. We generally skip out on wings, but we have ordered them in the past and I have zero complaints about them— I would definitely eat them again. 

However, the star of the show here falls under the third category of "things," like The Tornado Fry, which is more often referred to as "that really tasty giant spiraled potato thing." It’s basically a giant curly fry on steroids. It’s just the right amount of crispy on the edges, which in my opinion is what separates good fries from great fries. I have no clue what they season it with other than salt, but let me tell you, it works. And, quite frankly, it’s just super cool to look at. Truly #Instaworthy.

15. John’s Lemonade

cake, cream, cupcake, chocolate
Liza Wolf

I’m assuming they have good lemonade here, too, but I can say with confidence that they have good fried Oreos. And also funnel cakes. Pretty much everything fried here I give an A+. Just the right amount cakey on the inside but a lil' crispy on the outside and a beautiful, beautiful shade of golden brown.

16. Chickie’s and Pete’s

beer, chips
Liza Wolf

My eating squad of the day was about to roll out when my mom spotted this place—I think she has a radar that goes off when good lobster is around. I’m honestly just glad that deep-fried lobster ravioli exists because deep fried, pasta, and lobster are three of my favorite food groups. 

It’s a bit on the pricier side of boardwalk food (it has lobster so that's to be expected), but, in my opinion, these babies are worth the little bit of a splurge.

17. Outrageous Rings

cake, birthday cake, cookie, beer
Liza Wolf

Apparently, this place has super delish and super cool types of toppings for onion rings, tater tots, and fries. My dad hyped this up to us. So much. We arrived to the sad sight of this metal barrier, a barrier in the way of all of my onion ring-related dreams. I can’t give this a review at this current time, but I would like everyone to take a moment of silence with me over what could have been eaten, and if you have the chance, please try this place. Excuse me while I look at pictures online of their food and drool.

Now you know some of the more popular places and hidden gems of the Ocean City Boardwalk. There are plenty of other amazing places to stop if you’ve got the time, or you can just do what my fam does and make it an annual thing. Delicious food awaits you. Go forth and conquer my friends. And in the meantime, we’ll be thinkin’ bout going to Ocean City again next year like:

Liza Wolf