April/May 2007 | Volume 58, Issue 2
Planning a Trip to Wildwood
Lodging: The Caribbean ( www.caribbeanmotel.com  / 609-522-8292) has bright green interiors, leopard-print chairs, and a dial on the wall that can pipe in oldies at any time. Many other motels are available with doo-wop exteriors, though their interiors may be more 1980s than mid-century. Check the Greater Wildwood Hotel and Motel Association ( www.wildwoods.org/lodging.php  ) for a list. (Hint: Most of the doo-wop motels are in Wildwood Crest.)
Entertainment: Morey’s Piers have rides, water parks, and merry-go-rounds, but check out their Giant Slide (Twenty-fifth Pier), which was the first attraction offered when Morey’s opened, in 1969. Ride down the bike path in Wildwood Crest and stop off at one of the takeout windows along the way.
Food: Wildwood has a famous pizza rivalry, Sam’s (2600 Boardwalk between East Twenty-sixth and East Juniper Avenues) versus Mack’s (two locations: 3218 Boardwalk between East Pine and East Wildwood Avenues or 4200 Boardwalk between East Roberts and East Baker Avenues). Mack’s uses Cheddar; Sam’s does not. I preferred Sam’s, but try them both.
Hoagies and cheese steaks are the other Wildwood obsession. Mr. Bonelli makes an Old World hoagie at Bonelli’s market (4000 Pacific Avenue), a perfect mix of salami, capicola, prosciutto, and provolone. Keep a sharp eye on your sandwich; I learned the hard way when seagulls pounced on mine as I stepped away for a napkin. Old-timers all have their favorite cheese-steak place, but the Alumni Grill (3421 Pacific Avenue), a relative newcomer, has been earning accolades. The owners, the brother and sister team Michael and Jennifer DeClemente, grew up in town and have decorated the restaurant with Wildwood High uniforms and team photos.
Britton’s Gourmet Bakery (5600 Pacific Avenue), a Jersey Shore favorite for 38 years, has three generations working at the store, and their apple fritters earned them a letter from President Ronald Reagan. Brown Sugar Café (3717 Pacific Avenue), a new soul-food place, is also family run, and when I asked the chef, Miss Gladys, what she had been doing before, she said, “I was cooking for the neighborhood.”