9 Great Beachside Eats from Coast to Coast
Grab your flip-flops and your wallet, ’cause it’s time to hit the boardwalk for the best concession-stand bites. Food Network has the scoop on where to score classics like funnel cake, frozen custard, popcorn and more.
Photo By: Danny DeSanti ) ©Desantiphoto.com
Photo By: ERIN MUMFORD
What’s a day at the beach without the proper snacks to keep you fueled throughout the sun-soaked afternoon? We’ve scoured the country to find some of the most delicious and iconic beach eats so you can indulge in them and then resume the important stuff, like building sandcastles and taking a dip in the ocean.
Photo courtesy of Jody Maroni's
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood, San Diego
You have to venture a bit away from Pacific Beach for tacos at Oscar’s, but they’re worth the stroll. Oscar’s is the go-to for some awesome Mexican-style seafood in Southern California. San Diego is known for its fish tacos, and this is one of the best, with battered flaky fish tucked into a corn tortilla with cabbage, onion, tomato and cilantro. There are plenty of other Mexican specialties to try, from fresh fish ceviche to breakfast burritos, and even a mixed-grill Fisherman’s Torta with spicy shrimp, scallops, grilled and smoked fish.
Photo courtesy of Oscar's Mexican Seafood
Red’s Eats, Wiscasset, Maine
There is only one Red’s Eats, and it’s been in the same location in coastal Maine since 1938. The unassuming red-and-white-striped shack on Main Street, right off the water, constantly has a line around the block for its overflowing lobster roll. Each buttery roll is filled to the brim with a generous heap of lobster meat, making for a lobster roll that many claim is the best in Maine. Other fan favorites include the fried clams and scallops. The menu is rounded out with hot dogs, burgers, fish ‘n’ chips and homemade whoopie pies.
Photo courtesy of Red's Eats
Jody Maroni’s, Venice Beach, Calif.
Before making sausages became a hipster hobby, Jody Maroni, son of an esteemed Los Angeles butcher, took to the Venice Beach boardwalk in the late 1970s with his novel meat blends. Maroni made each sausage by hand, smoking and serving them to beachgoers. Soon his unusual sausages — including the popular Louisiana Hot Links and Chicken Tequila — had a cult following, and decades later he now has a handful of locations across California and Las Vegas. His Venice Beach original location still draws the crowds for sausages, hot dogs, burgers and fries.
Photo courtesy of Jody Maroni's
Kohr’s Frozen Custard, Seaside Heights, N.J.
What started as a small beach shack in 1919 has turned into a booming custard empire with locations along the Seaside Heights boardwalk and throughout New Jersey. The frozen custard — made with 10 percent milkfat — is swirled into a cone, which is wrapped in a napkin to catch the drips. The custard comes in hundreds of flavors, such as chocolate, orange cream, bubble gum and cotton candy. Each stand also serves hard ice cream, orangeades and milkshakes, perfect for cooling off in the hot summer sun.
Photo courtesy of Kohr's Frozen Custard
Thrasher’s French Fries, Ocean City, Md.
Since 1929, Thrasher’s has been delighting families with its seasonal seaside specialty: buckets of French fries. Although ownership has changed over the years, Thrasher’s has never deviated from the original recipe or from its focus on quality. The sticks of potato are still fried in peanut oil — as has been the tradition for generations — salted and served with vinegar. In fact, ketchup is an insult for this boardwalk delight. And you won’t find a burger or hot dog here. The only other thing you can grab is a drink to wash down the salty, hot thatch of fries.
Photo courtesy of Thrasher's French Fries
Fisher’s Popcorn, Ocean City, Md.
If the smell of buttery caramel popcorn is wafting through the air, you’re on your way to Fisher’s part of the boardwalk in Ocean City. This family-owned popcorn shop has been an Ocean City staple since 1937. Although Fisher’s now offers tins for post-vacation gifting (and mail-order options for cravings experienced in far-flung locations), the best way to enjoy the popcorn is in a cup, fresh from the copper kettles, while you’re taking in the views of the ocean. Although caramel is the original — and the most popular — variety, the shop offers a handful of other flavors, including white cheddar and Maryland-approved Old Bay.
Photo courtesy of Fisher's Popcorn
La Bakerie, Wildwood, N.J.
La Bakerie is where the French patisserie meets the American boardwalk cafe. This concession stand on Monty’s Pier in Wildwood, N.J., serves an assortment of sugar treats, including fried-to-order mini doughnuts and untraditional crepes with fillings inspired by s’mores and caramel cheesecake. The real highlight, though, is the old-school boardwalk classic: funnel cake. Putting a trendy twist on the original, La Bakerie serves an uber-popular red velvet variety.
Redamak’s, New Buffalo, Mich.
“The burger that made New Buffalo famous,” as the decades-old restaurant Redamak’s claims, has made its way from its in-town location to the beach. The infamous burger — draped with Velveeta cheese and served in a basket with crinkle-cut fries — is a favorite of those who visit the beautiful and serene town on the banks of Lake Michigan, a popular summer getaway for Chicagoans and Michiganders alike. The restaurant recently set up a limited-menu beach shack so fans wouldn’t have to wander far in search of a burger. The menu also includes fries, housemade barbecue chips and chicharrons, a few sandwiches and ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Redamak's
Hot Dog on a Stick, Santa Monica, Calif.
The hot dog on a stick, more commonly known as the corn dog these days, has been a beach staple in Santa Monica since 1946. This beach-shack-turned-beachfront-cafe (with more than 100 locations across the U.S. and in Korea) has been a Pacific-coast surfer staple since the days of Gidget. The Santa Monica location still serves its original cooked-to-order hot dogs on a stick and freshly squeezed lemonade. Over the years the menu has expanded to include fries, hot dogs, cheese on a stick and bite-sized funnel cake sticks.