Talk all you want about boardwalks and sandy beaches and boating and fishing, but Jersey Shore conversations always lead to food — specifically, to casual dining.
Even more specifically: the easy-to-eat, usually calorific staples such as baked goods, pizza, subs, and ice cream. Diets tend to take a holiday at the Shore.
Notice that a "small" ice cream cone seems larger there than a small back at home, and pizzas generally start at 16 inches (a traditional "large").
I will offer the cinnamon bun from Mrs. Brizzle's Buns in Sea Isle City as a prime example of decadence. For $3.75, you get a perfectly crispy-gooey-on-the-outside/butter-soft-on-the-inside bun topped with a wad of cream cheese frosting large enough to top a small wedding cake.
To compile this roundup of Shore food favorites, I quizzed dozens of locals and longtime visitors from Long Beach Island to Cape May. Many stops are institutions (Brown's doughnuts and Manco & Manco's for pizza), though a few newbies delight the shoobies.
Clearly, your favorites may not be listed here. In fact, I'm fairly certain they're not. Share your go-to Shore stops with us in the comments section on Philly.com.
Shore Good Donuts
1211 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom
For made-to-order doughnuts.
Holiday Snack Bar
401 Centre St., Beach Haven.
For a cake called the Lady Lord Baltimore.
Side Door Donuts & Coffee
1501 Long Beach Blvd., Beach Haven
Light, hot, delicious
110 Boardwalk, Ocean City
For cinnamon ring doughnuts.
Crazy Susan's Cookies
1345 West Ave., Ocean City
The Crazy Turtle. Or chocolate chip. Or sugar. Or all of them.
2105 Ocean Dr., Avalon; 1340 Bay Ave., Ocean City; 5008 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
For sticky buns.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Mrs. Brizzle's Buns
4601 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
Cinnamon rolls par excellence, plus outstanding subs.
1225 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
For customizable doughnuts.
Hot Bagels & More
7807 Ventnor Ave. and 9414 Ventnor Ave., Margate
A favorite morning stop.
2709 Dune Dr., Avalon
For sticky buns and doughnuts.
730 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
For buns. (How about a bacon cinnamon bun?)
No. 7311 Bakery
7311 Ventnor Ave., Ventnor
Steve & Cookie's baked-goods outlet.
505 Carpenters Lane, Cape May
Mini and regular-size doughnuts emerge from a machine.
1318 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom
Your basic pizzeria, with a decent selection of slices.
Tony's Baltimore Grill
2800 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City
For bar pizza and a dose of nostalgia.
Tom Briglia for the Inquirer
Manco & Manco
Three locations on Ocean City's boardwalk; Ocean Heights Shopping Center, Somers Point
Hectic dining rooms, thin-crust pies.
1260 West Ave., Ocean City
For Neapolitan pizza out of a brick oven.
Tony P's House of Pie
986 Boardwalk, Ocean City
Classic Shore pizza.
1200 New Rd., Northfield
A favorite for coal-fired Neapolitan pies.
200 Tilton Rd., Northfield
A touch more elegant than Carluccio's, for wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.
6118 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
Multiple varieties, including vegan.
Stone Harbor Pizza Pub
315 96th St. at The Reeds, Stone Harbor
Pies and local beers outdoors. New this year: entertainment on the second floor.
7 Mile Pies
261 96th St., Stone Harbor
Assortment of creative thin-crust pizzas.
Poppi's Pizza Napoletana
4709 New Jersey Ave., Wildwood
Topflight wood-fired pies.
Sam's Pizza Palace
2600 Boardwalk, Wildwood
A boardwalk staple for 60 years.
315 Ocean St., Cape May
For thin-crust pizza and the more substantial nonna focaccia.
1432 Texas Ave., Cape May
For thin-crust pizza.
Multiple stands up and down the Shore
Serving frozen custard since 1919.
Barry's Do Me a Flavor
309 Centre St., Beach Haven
Great food, too.
9305 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Township
Old-time dairy bar.
2760 Asbury Ave., Ocean City
Jonathan Lai / Staff
928 Boardwalk, Ocean City
Center City-rooted Thai rolled ice cream shop, opening Memorial Day weekend.
Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer
Margate Dairy Bar
9510 Ventnor Ave., Margate
A 1950s-era landmark, redone more than a decade ago.
TJ's Ice Cream Plus
100 E. Atlantic Blvd., Ocean City
For 60 flavors of ice cream, plus baked goods.
Springer's Homemade Ice Cream
9420 Third Ave., Stone Harbor
Makes its way onto many best-of lists.
5210 Pacific Ave., Wildwood
For ginormous sundaes, the arcade, and mini golf.
Subs (Yeah, Hoagies)
300 Oriental Ave., Atlantic City
For great subs, but also some of the best pizza and sandwiches anywhere.
White House Subs
2301 Arctic Ave., Atlantic City
Where you often must brave long lines. For a reason.
8016 Ventnor Ave., Margate
Especially for the tuna.
742 Ohio Ave., Absecon
Where the subs are overstuffed.
501 Zion Rd., Egg Harbor Township
For an Italian.
Sack O' Subs
A veggie sub worth writing home about.
957 West Ave., Ocean City
A takeout with first-rate sandwiches as well as Italian foods.
Berenato's Corner Deli
47 Atlantic Ave., Ocean City
Always service with a smile.
4309 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City
For well-built sandwiches in a heavenly smelling Italian deli.
Other casual food
Union Market & Gallery
120 W. Main St., Tuckerton
Great vegan selections.
302 N. Bay Ave., Beach Haven
Almost a diner. Feast on everything from crab cakes to acai bowls.
Pancho's Mexican Taqueria
2303 Arctic Ave., Atlantic City
Ducktown Tavern & Liquor
2400 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City
Family-friendly bar open almost all night.
Isabella's Ventnor Cafe
4 S. Portland Ave., Ventnor
Breakfast and lunch by day, Mexican at night.
9306 Amherst Ave., Margate
Bar with a patio and live music.
605 E. Eighth St., Ocean City
Do not skip the baked tomato soup at this OC institution.
841 Asbury Ave. and 1735 Simpson Ave., Ocean City, 1213 W. Brigantine Ave., Brigantine.
David M Warren / File Photograph
The Clam Bar (aka Smitty's)
910 Bay Ave., Somers Point
A beach shack offering casual grub, plus a breakfast restaurant.
2 Broadway, Somers Point
Seafoodery with harbor views has been around since the Nixon years.
2540 Dune Dr., Avalon
Mexican food in bright environs.
Dogtooth Bar & Grill
100 E. Taylor Ave., Wildwood
Menu with something for everyone.
Flight Deck Diner
505 Terminal Dr., Rio Grande
Varied menu in a fun setting at Cape May County Airport.