Diners, Drive Ins and Dives in Atlantic City and other Food Network Favorites

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Susan Ferrier

Creator. South Jersey resident. Local explorer. Adventure seeker. Outdoor enthusiast. Wanna-be foodie. Animal lover.
Oyster Creek Inn

Not only has Guy Fieri brought his own restaurant to Atlantic City, he has also featured a number of Atlantic City establishments on his program Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. And he’s not alone. Other Food Network celebrity chefs such as Gordan Ramsay, Bobby Flay, Jose Garces and Wolfgang Puck have all set up residency here in the city. And a number of Food Network stars have highlighted local favorites on their programs as well. Yet, somehow, Atlantic City’s food scene seems to be one of its best kept secrets.

Well, we’re going to let that cat out of the bag with a round-up of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives plus other Food Network restaurants in and around Atlantic City. We will not be covering the celebrity restaurant in this article. We will save that for another day so we can do each right.

COVID-19 Statement – At the time of this writing all restaurants in this article are open amd serving Take-out and outdoor seating. Please check their websites for updates as this is a fluid situation. Links to restaurant websites are underlined. 

Oyster Creek Restaurant dock view

Vagabond Kitchen and Taproom

Who doesn’t love a comeback story? And this place has one.  The building, under three feet of water after Hurricane Sandy, was purchased by an out of work bartender, Elvis Cadavid and his friend Tom Harris. Out of a job, Cadavid figured he had nothing to lose. And since opening in 2013, Vagabond Kitchen has been a winner with the locals.

The menu items featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives are the Tequila Shrimp Bangers, the Three Way (Pulled pork, brisket, and bacon, topped with slaw and served on a brioche bun), and the Turkey, Apple, Brie Sandwich (Thanksgiving between two slices of bread). But Vagabond serves up some of the best burgers in the city. And in addition to awesome burgers, they serve roughly 30 beers on tap and in cans. Oh, and don’t forget to order their Signature Fries. They are a Belgium cut Yukon Gold potato sliced by hand. Try the Truffle Fries!!

672 N. Trenton Ave, Atlantic City – Diners, Drive-ins and Dives – Season 24, Episode 5

Kelsey and Kim's Southern Café

Kelsey and Kim’s is southern comfort food in a sophisticated setting. Not stuffy but not tables covered in checkered cloths and rolls of paper towels, either. This is the kind of neighborhood joint you pop in for lunch or even take a date.

The episode of Triple D featured Turkey Chops and Pig Feet. These are the items Guy Fieri chose from the menu which are favorites of the old timers. But you will find other traditional southern favorites like Chicken and Waffle or Slow Cooked Short Ribs. Pescatarians will love the Shrimp and Grits or Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. And, the green beans here are to die for. They are smothered in drippings and oh, so yummy. Of course no southern meal is complete without a side of corn bread.

201 Melrose Ave, Atlantic City – Diners, Drive-ins and Dives – Season 22, Episode 1

Kelsey and Kims Southern Cafe

Oyster Creek Restaurant and Boat Bar

You’re going to need to drive a bit out of town for this place but you’ll be glad you did. Oyster Creek offers a lovely waterfront atmosphere set among fishing shanties and marshlands. And if you are lucky enough to own a boat you can dock here.

Guy features the Jersey Devil Shrimp and the Mexicali Clams which are both Signature Starters. Don’t think twice about the shrimp. Just do it!! They are served in a spicy sauce over creamy cole slaw. The two compliment each other perfectly and provide the right balance. They are not over the top hot. Unless you are really sensitive to spice you will likely find them to be perfect.

The Mexicali Clams are like a spicy Mexican version of a Clams Casino. Again, here you have the right blend which most people will not find too hot.

And for the sushi-lovers, they offer a full-blown sushi bar offering approximately 20 selections.

The rest of the menu is a mix of all your favorite seafood platters, a nice selection of steaks and daily specials.  The crab cakes are a crowd favorite.

And don’t skip dessert. They offer a nice selection of local baked goods. The carrot cake is quite tasty.

Pro tip: If you plan to sit outside, spray yourself with bug spray a head of time because Greenheads are South Jersey’s State Bird. And they aren’t shy.

41 Oyster Creek Rd, Leeds PointDiners, Drive-ins and Dives – Season 21, Episode 13

Jersey Devil Shrimp at Oyster Creek Restaurant

Tony Baloney's

It’s hard to know where to begin with this place. Let’s start by saying if you’re from out of town and go looking for Tony Baloney’s you are going to wonder if you are on the right track. This place is in the most unlikely area of town. It’s off the boardwalk, away from the casinos and in an area that’s been all but leveled. Don’t question it. Just go with it. You’ll be glad you did. Once you are on Oriental Ave, you won’t have trouble finding the place because it’s almost the only establishment there.

You’re likely to ask yourself, “who would decide to start a business here”? The answer would be Mike Hauke who describes himself as the guy in college, back at the frat house at 3 AM, who would whip up a spread with whatever was in the kitchen (paraphrasing). And once you have had his pizza you will have no trouble imagining that.

Tony Baloney’s serves up a thick crust, Sicilian-style pizza. But don’t expect your run of the mill pie. Sure, you can get a slice with red sauce and sausage but Tony Baloney’s selection goes far beyond the usual. This is gourmet pizza featuring selections such as Mexican Corn Husker or the Bangkok Boardwalk.

Not looking for anything quite so exotic? Then build your own. Select between marinara or vodka sauce. Choose your cheese, selections include sharp whiz, blue cheese, pecorino, cheddar, goat cheese, Havarti, and multiple varieties of fresh mutz (Mozzerella). Go with one of the mutz, he makes It himself. Top your creation with any of over 20 veggie or 9 meets. And if you crave some crazy stuff on your pie, he’s got you covered with toppings including potato chips, fritos, hot honey, coolest ranch, sage pesto, balsamic honey, green Indian chutney and more.

With toppings like those, you can see why Hauke’s description of himself fits perfectly.

300 Oriental Ave, Atlantic City – BiteThis with Nadia G

White House Subs

White House Subs has been attracting locals and visitors alike since 1946. It has hosted celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, Rocky Marciano, Joe DiMaggio, and even the Beatles.  Locals and visitors alike will line up for a sandwich from this Atlantic City sub shop, named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation.

What makes a White House sub worth the wait? Of course, quality meats are the key ingredient of a great sub. But what makes a White House sub, as well as other local sandwiches unique is the Atlantic City Bread. Yes, that is a real thing. It’s super dense thus holding the oil and vinegar and cheesesteak juices without becoming soggy. The bread is from local bakeries and if you ask what makes Atlantic City bread special, people will tell you “it’s the water.”

2301 Arctic Ave, Atlantic City – Food Paradise, Guilty Pleasures, and Pizza Cuz

White House Sub Shop Atlantic CIty

Of course Food Network featured restaurants aren’t the only amazing places to eat in Atlantic City. However, they certainly are a good place to start your gastronomic journey around the city. 

Diners Drive ins and Dives AC
Triple D AC

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