The 15 Best Restaurants In Wildwood 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (2024)

On the stretch of New Jersey coast between Stone Harbor and Cape May are the Shore towns of North Wildwood, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and West Wildwood—collectively known as the Wildwoods. Driving in from the Garden State Parkway, you’ll spot your first clue that this place is, as your grandmother would say, a total character. Take the Wawa: its bold pink and aqua signage and futuristic facade is an ode to the Doo Wop architecture of the Wildwoods’ mid-century heyday.

Beyond the distinctive throwback designs of motels around town, you’ll also find a miles-long boardwalk that runs along some of the widest beaches around, and a standout food scene that has everything from nostalgic diners and hoagie shops to exciting pop-up dinners, plus the best seafood shack down the Shore.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: David A. Lee

Wildwoods BBQ

BBQ

North Wildwood

$$$$

Perfect For:

Casual DinnersKids

Wildwoods BBQ is what summer backyard barbecues aspire to be when they grow up. Started by two Australian friends—one of whom worked at Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn—the casual North Wildwood spot is dead serious about smoked meat. Get the super tender pulled pork, a link or two of the Aussie sausage, and don’t skip the brisket (either straight up or on top of cheese fries). A meal here isn’t just for carnivores, though—they also have thoughtful vegetarian options, like pulled mushrooms, or smoked beets with tzatziki and dukkah. They can sell out, so plan to arrive well before they close at 8pm. To avoid disappointment, you can also order online for pickup.

photo credit: David Lee

The Surfing Pig

Burgers

North Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Literally EveryoneLunch

With great views of Beach Creek on display at each level of this double-decker restaurant, you’ll almost forgive the parking hunt you continually face when coming to one of the most popular places in Wildwood. The reward, however, isn’t just the sights and sounds: They also serve truly tremendous wood-pit barbecue and seafood. One of our favorites is the beef brisket sandwich—it’s juicy and has a great smoked flavor.

Russo’s Market

Deli

North Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Serious Takeout OperationKids

Russo’s is the place to go when you’re craving a good cheesesteak. The 50-plus-year-old deli also makes a very fine hoagie on the same Liscio’s Bakery rolls as the steaks, plus all manner of breakfast and lunch sandwiches. You can also grab sweet or hot Italian sausages to grill at home, plus sliced-to-order deli meats, and, with a couple of days’ notice, party trays of sandwiches. Just bring cash, since they don’t take card.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Seafood

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersKidsOutdoor/Patio Situation

Run by a commercial fisherman and his family, Hooked Up is so much more than a seafood shack. This place is worth a special trip—sit in Labor Day Weekend traffic and stand in the long line if need be. While you’re waiting to place your order at the window, peruse the chalkboard menu for the catch of the day. Swordfish, tilefish, or whatever else is fresh can be served in a handful of ways: blackened, fried, on a sandwich, or in tacos. Bring friends, order it all (along with some steamers or peel-and-eat shrimp), and sit at one of the red picnic tables with a view of the owner’s boat. For your best shot at avoiding the line, try to arrive between the lunch and dinner rush, sometime between 3pm and 5pm.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Marvis Diner

Diner

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersKids

The menu at Marvis Diner is so dense and overwhelming, you should review it from the stack at the hostess stand and be ready before sitting down at your table, lest you panic and order an ice cream sundae when you meant to order a waffle. The portions are hefty, so save Marvis for when you’re planning to spend the entire day sleeping on the beach—skillets that could handle frying up breakfast for four arrive on your table filled with home fries and eggs topped with any number of delicious things, like scrapple and cheese or hot Italian sausage.

photo credit: David Lee

Hassles Ice Cream

Ice Cream

North Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Kids

Even if Hassles wasn’t connected to a putt putt and a bike rental shop just off the Wildwood boardwalk, it would still channel perfect beach nostalgia with its array of ice cream treats. Hard-packed ice cream comes in the usual shakes, sundaes, or simple cups with a flurry of classic rainbow sprinkles (that’s jimmies, if you’re from Philly). Our favorite order is a sundae on top of one of their made-to-order, warm Belgian waffles covered in an obscene amount of whipped cream. Consider staying for a round of mini golf to cap off the quintessential evening down the Shore.

photo credit: David Lee

PigDog

BBQ

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationKidsBig Groups

If your usual beach lunch is a cooler full of sad PB&Js, head to PigDog for an upgrade. This casual restaurant and beach bar serves mostlybarbecue, including pulled pork, beef brisket, and ribs, which come with little Hawaiian rolls if you still long to make your own sandwich. But you’ll also find vegetable quesadillas, salads, and other non-meat options, plus a “Little Pigs” menu for kids. Speaking of, it’s supremely family friendly—there are beach games like cornhole, and the entire ground is a sandbox—and dog friendly, and there’s live music daily. A full bar ensures you can start with the Mother of All Bloody Marys (or MOAB, served in a 32-ounce pitcher piled with a full appetizer sampler), move on to a frozen co*cktail midday, and/or pair your dinner with a local MudHen beer on draft.

photo credit: David Lee

Anglesea Aleworks

Pizza

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups

Anglesea Aleworks is a homegrown microbrewery that makes serious beers but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The casual, come-as-you-are vibe is nice for when you’re with a group with a range of tastes—someone can get a craft pilsner, someone can get a citrus-forward hazy IPA, and someone else can try one of their hard birch beers or mango hard seltzers, either straight up or in slushy form. But everyone should try a Doo Whip—a fruity wheat beer mixed with pineapple and vanilla. The tasting room doesn’t serve its own food but will let you BYO, so make sure to pick up sustenance before you go—El Alebrije makes a stellar takeout burrito, or order a pizza from Poppi’s and they’ll deliver it to your bar stool.

photo credit: Mack's Pizza

The 15 Best Restaurants In Wildwood 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (24)

Mack’s Pizza

Pizza

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Cheap EatsClassic EstablishmentSerious Takeout Operation

We could give you an entire history lesson on the Mack and Manco families—one of the most dramatic Jersey Shore stories of all time—but instead we’ll just tell you this: Mack’s in Wildwood is essentially the same as Manco & Manco’s in Ocean City. It has the same huge, cheesy slices of pizza, the same long lines out front, and even the same light-up signs hanging outside of their boardwalk location. The only real distinction is that if you’re in Ocean City, you go to Manco’s, and if you’re in Wildwood, you go to Mack’s.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Mudhen Brewing Company

Pizza

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersKidsBig Groups

Even if you don’t know the difference between a pilsner and a porter, you’ll still be happy to hang out at Mudhen. Wildwood’s first craft brewery, which opened in 2018, occupies a cavernous former Harley Davidson showroom, an the dining room spills out into a spacious, shaded outdoor patio. Between the space, the welcoming atmosphere, and better-than-it-has-to-be bar food, it’s a great place for beer geeks, families, and even your dog (if you sit on the patio). There’s a parking lot on-site, so it’s also great for people who hate street parking. Order a flight of beers—try the Wee Heavy Wilson, even if you’re not a Scotch ale person—and don’t skip the housemade potato chips.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Bagel Time Cafe

Bakery/Cafe

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBrunchLunch

When you hear the name “Bagel Time Cafe,” you might just be expecting warm bagels and a place with smooth and creamy spreads that do to your tongue what ASMR videos do to your ears. But this spot right across from the Wildwood Convention Center also has a full breakfast menu filled with omelettes and egg sandwiches, and a lunch menu of sandwiches (get the chorizo frito burrito) and salads. Essentially, there’s plenty of range here for whatever you have in mind to start or continue on with your day.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Key West Cafe

American

Wildwood

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBrunch

Surrounded by pricier throwback diners like the Pink Cadillac and Doo Wop, this tropical-themed spot is wallet-friendly—you can sit down and get a Taylor ham omelet or sweet potato hotcakes for under $10. Known for its big portions, Key West Cafe in Wildwood exclusively serves up breakfast and lunch, from 8am-2pm.

photo credit: David Lee

Britton’s Bakery

Bakery/Cafe

Wildwood Crest

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastSerious Takeout Operation

Former president Ronald Reagan once ate an apple fritter from Britton’s and loved it so much, he sent a letter to the owners gushing about it. It’s framed on the longstanding bakery’s wall, so you can read it while waiting in line for one of the burnished brown pastries that are practically the size of a tire. And while the apple fritter is this spot’s calling card, add a few powdered donuts, some crumb cake, and an elephant ear to the box while you’re here. Britton’s is cash only and opens at 6:30am, so arrive early to breeze right in. Bonus: the apple fritters might still be warm.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Turtle Gut

Bakery/Cafe

Wildwood Crest

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchOutdoor/Patio Situation

When Turtle Gut opened in 2022, the airy cafe boosted Wildwood’s coffee scene dramatically. Go for your morning cortado made with the gleaming Slayer espresso machine, and stay for breakfast—the short menu includes ricotta pancakes, housemade donuts, and mascarpone vanilla cream-filled maritozzi. For lunch, there’s avocado toast and sandwiches on sliced sourdough from Philly-based Mighty Bread Co. But that’s not the only slice of Philly you’ll find here. The cafe also hosts pop-up dinners with buzzy Philly chefs, as well as its own Cioppino Nights, with a set menu featuring fried zucchini blossoms and local seafood. The tables they set up outside have a prime view of Turtle Gut Park and Sunset Lake, especially at (duh) sunset.

photo credit: David A. Lee

The Crab House At Two Mile Landing

Seafood

Wildwood Crest

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersOutdoor/Patio SituationBig Groups

One of the best parts of summer is crab night, and a great place to do it is The Crab House at Two Mile Landing, where locally caught crabs are all-you-can-eat. The waterfront restaurant is sprawling, with both covered and open-air picnic tables, but it’s usually packed nonetheless. If you’d prefer not to get your hands dirty cracking crabs, there are a slew of other worthwhile options, like the house-smoked bluefin dip and the ceviche (both of which they sell to-go at sister restaurant ), conch fritters served with a tart housemade salsa, and lobster entrees. Pair your order with a Crush, i.e. the regional co*cktail made with vodka, lemon soda, triple sec, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.

The 15 Best Restaurants In Wildwood 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (2024)
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