The wait is over. After a more than two year renovation, Cape May favorite Mayer’s Tavern has a new owner, a new look and a new menu…and it’s open just in time for summer.
Formerly a dive bar that could get a little, ahem, rowdy at times, the new Mayer’s Tavern owes its rebirth to chef Alex Laudeman.
Laudeman, who studied at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, saw potential in the tavern. The chef convinced her father Keith (already the proprietor of another Cape May eatery, The Lobster House) to buy it.
Then came the tough part – the renovation.
The New Look
“The building was in complete disrepair when we took it over so it’s been quite a turnaround,” says Laudeman.
A new metal roof was installed, the siding was replaced, the tavern’s interior was gutted and the layout changed to have a separate dining area away from the bar. And, sadly, the pool table was removed.
But while the familiar hangout may feel a bit unfamiliar at first, its warmth will win you over. The changes were all made with the intention of having Mayer’s be a place for family and friends to gather, have fun and eat delicious food.
“We’ve been very warmly received by the community,” says Laudeman, noting that business has been great so far.
Yes, the famous scallops from the old Mayer’s Tavern remain on the menu.
“The scallops are definitely a best-seller. Mayer’s was always famous for its scallops and we’ve been happy to bring that back,” says Laudeman.
Small bites like a smoked bluefish spread or roasted nuts are the perfect starter when you’re sitting at the bar.
Or perhaps an appetizer to share? Why not try the crab fritters with red pepper almond sauce? The raw bar features fresh clams, oysters and shrimp, either separately or in a shellfish tower of all three crustacean varieties. Burgers, clam rolls, grilled chicken and mussels round out the entrees, with a fresh strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert.
As for the bar itself, think fresh, sophisticated cocktails paired with classics.
The Spicer Creek Sunset features Bruto Americano and Stiegl Radler grapefruit beer, while the Bourbon Lemonade is a mix of Bulleit bourbon, ginger syrup, lemon and mint.
Standouts on the draft beer menu include two Cape May Brewery selections, the Always Ready and the IPA. There are also various others available in cans or bottles.
Wine drinkers can rejoice that the options are decent here, with a generous sampling of whites, reds and roses.
“We have a great outdoor seating area and amazing sunsets, so we’ll be enjoying those with a glass of rose all summer!” says Laudeman.
Mayer’s Tavern is located at 894 3rd Avenue in Cape May. It is open daily from 5:00 to 10:00 pm, but closed on Tuesdays.