Pittsburghers find their favorite foods at Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon, also known as’ burgh at the beach.
Published on Friday, July 30th, 2021
This story was written by Kristy Locklin for Very Local.
Pittsburgh’s three rivers are many opportunities for summer fun, but the North Shore isn’t exactly a tropical oasis.
Best choice for a beach near Pittsburgh? Ocean city
If you’re looking for a beach vacation near home, Ocean City, Maryland is a six hour drive away.
The resort has ten miles of beaches and a boardwalk named one of the best in the country by The Travel Channel, National Geographic, and USA Today. As the world slowly returns to normal, people flock to the Free Line State for fun in the sun.
Susan Jones, executive director of the OC Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said it has been a tough winter, spring and summer as people break out of their quarantine.
In July 2020, Ocean City had a 71% occupancy rate, up from 85% in July 2019, which is a decent number in all respects. With cruise ships docked and airplanes grounded, people piled up in their cars and made their way to the coast.
However, Jones reminds visitors to pack their patience with their beach towels. Companies are still struggling to find employees to fill 12,000 seasonal positions. As a result, menus and hours of operation are limited and hotels raise prices.
Instead of offering a daily housekeeping service, rooms are only cleaned upon check-out, largely due to staff shortages and COVID-19 fears. According to Jones, the situation in the household will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
“Persistence is very common in the hospitality industry and we’ll always find out how something works,” she said. “We don’t live from the can’t-be-done model, but how can we do it? Companies immersed themselves in their operations, restaurants changed their menus to only serve what the limited kitchen staff could produce. Menus were accessible via QR codes (and will continue for many) as they can be easily changed to accommodate changing product prices. “
So when you get to the White Marlin Capital of the World, what is there to do?
Food // Where Pittsburghers eat in Ocean City
After a long road trip, you probably want something more solid in your stomach than gas station snacks.
The Coastal Highway is lined with restaurants, from beach bars, pancake houses, and crab stalls to all-you-can-eat fish buffets, pizzerias, and fine dining. Hop on an Ocean City Beach Bus that travels up and down Main Street from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. You can drive all day for $ 3.
When Yinz’s homesick, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon is the beach town. Heck Pittsburgh Dad is visiting the place this July!
Johnstown-born Doug “Buxy” Buxbaum opened 28th Street Bayside Bar in 1999 after spending many summers in various Ocean City pubs including The Purple Moose Saloon, Brass Balls Saloon, Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille, MR Ducks and Bull on the beach (all of which are still open and well worth a visit).
What began as a small shrine in Steel City is now the entire joint. There are plenty of steelers, pirates, and penguins memorabilia, and the menu features some hometown favorites like perogies and a Pittsburgh salad with veggies, cheddar, veggies, and grilled fillet tips, with crinkle-cut fries of course. Combine it with an ice cold Iron City Beer, n’at.
No trip to Ocean City is complete without a stop at Seacrets.
Known as Jamaica, USA, the sprawling place by the bay at 49th Street has 17 bars, making it a mini-resort of its own in the heart of Barrier Island. Enjoy Caribbean-inspired food and cocktails (Seacrets even has its own distillery!) While listening to live music.
What to Do in Ocean City // Free and Family Friendly Activities
Burn off some of those calories by doing a few putts. An East Coast institution since 1963, Old Pro Golf has six golf courses in OC with themes ranging from dragons, knights and deep sea adventures to pirates, dinosaurs and a safari. If you enjoy people watching you will be happy on the boardwalk.
Atlantic Avenue, as it is officially known, is lined with shops, food stalls, arcades, and Instagram-worthy photo ops. One such highlight is Trimper’s Carousel, the oldest continuously operated carousel in the country.
Trimper’s also has a reputation for being America’s oldest continuously family-owned and operated amusement park in the world. They have been delighting Ocean City visitors since 1890.
Interested in the history of the theme park? Immerse yourself in this historic attraction in Kennywood.
For most people, the best thing about Ocean City is the ocean. The beaches are free and open to the public from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (lifeguards don’t start checking the water until 10 a.m.)
Work on your tan or take advantage of the family-friendly activities the city offers throughout the summer. Free films are shown on a big screen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening from 8:30 p.m. On Thursdays from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., a DJ plays melodies at a beach party on Caroline Street, which lead to a new drone show.
Whatever you do in Ocean City, make sure you are safe, responsible, and respectful. In other words, don’t be a Jagoff.
A little closer to home
Here are some more ideas for a getaway near Pittsburgh:
📸 Header photo: Getty Images.