I recently had the pleasure of dining at Coins Pub and Restaurant in Ocean City, Md. This popular watering hole at 28th and The Highway was opened in 1988 by the Coyne Family, and has been dishin up bar food, cocktails and brews ever since. In 1991, veteran restaurateur Charlotte Kuti joined the Coynes, bringing her hospitality and restauranting skills to locals and vacationers alike.
Enter Jack Schachter: It’s a rare restaurant or bar on the Delmarva Peninsula that doesn’t know this guy's name. Jack is one of the prime movers at AC Beverage, one of those “behind the scenes” services without which no bar or restaurant could operate. There’s nothing like watching a cold, fresh draft beer flowing into a frozen mug, and there’s a surprising amount of science on the other end of those tap handles. That’s what Jack and AC Beverage bring to the food industry.
Jack's love of the industry extends past his daily interaction with the high-tech pressurized systems and refrigeration that put the sparkle in your soft drinks and the foam on your brew. So last year he teamed up with partner Marc Custodio and took over the reins at Coins. They remodeled the place – but not TOO much – this IS OC, after all, and things need to remain rustic and a little shopworn. But the place had been getting long in the tooth, and they did a great job of cleaning it up and making it welcoming again.
Jack's sense of humor is immediately evident in the title of the appetizers section: “Off to the Races!” Stars of the app show include their made-in-house mozzarella sticks … oops, not sticks … LOGS. If you like cheese with a nice crispy crust these are for you. They are quite good. Another unusual app is the Pub Poutine that would make your inner Canadian smile: simple and to the point, with garlic-laced cheese curds and a brown gravy. They make their own meatballs too, and you can get 3 big ones in a bowl with marinara. Check out the photos in the gallery!
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Jack and Marc are very proud of their crab cakes. “No Mumbo, just Jumbo!” (there's Jack's laugh again). You can also get a little taste in the app section in for form of crab balls. Another feature on the menu (and rather unusual for a pubby place like this) is the toasted turkey avocado sandwich. Bacon and cheddar make it sort of a club, but without the frills.
Five big burgers dominate the menu, including the “Lock, Stock and Barrel,” the “Raging Bull” and “Elvis' Blue Hawaii” with pineapple, bacon, provolone and teriyaki. Again — a bit of a fun upscale feeling in a down-home joint.
Mains include the crab cake, two Imperial dishes and other things you might not expect at a little bar so close to the old OC downtown. Denizens of OC know what I mean.
Jack has a good device that infuses your drink (do it with bourbon) with smoke. Yup, real, live smoke – applewood to be exact. I ordered the Smoking Bulleit Old Fashioned. It arrived (quite ceremoniously) in a little glass cabinet that was full of aromatic smoke. See it in the gallery. Though the drink hadn't spent all that much time in the container, I could taste the smoke on the rim of the glass. Very interesting experience and I would definitely do it again.
Coins Pub & Restaurant is at 28th and Coastal Highway (they call it Philadelphia Avenue in that neighborhood). See the website HERE.