There's something special about family-owned restaurants.  Generations of families from all over flock to our area for the sun, surf, and yes great restaurants.

In many cases, visiting some of these restaurants had become a generational thing.  It seems like time has taken its toll on some of these restaurants.

Varsity Inn via Facebook
Varsity Inn via Facebook

The pandemic and the ensuing financial challenges- not to mention the difficulty in finding help, have forced many longtime restaurants to close their doors.

In December, it seemed like another local, family-owned restaurant would be added to the list of restaurants that closed.

The building that houses the Varsity Inn in Ocean has a long, interesting history.  Originally built in 1905, it has been home to many different businesses including a Methodist retreat, a schoolhouse, and several restaurants.

In 1970, the Symonds family bought the location and opened the Varsity Inn.  The restaurant served generations of families.  In 2016 the restaurant underwent a massive renovation.

In December, a water pipe burst and forced the Symonds to close the restaurant.  Keith Symonds, the owner, decided he wanted to retire, and the restaurant was put up for sale.  Would this be the end of the Varsity Inn?

The Varsity Inn has been a very successful restaurant over the years, and Chris, Marsha, CJ & Kyla McCarthy saw an opportunity to own a well-known family restaurant.  They did some freshening of the interior and officially reopened last Friday.

Varsity Inn via Facebook
Varsity Inn via Facebook

Long-time patrons will be happy to know the new owners plan to keep the same menu and recipes that made this a special restaurant.  The restaurant is open 7a-2p every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


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The off-season is my favorite time of year to visit Cape May. You will find that the least crowded time is a great time to try some delicious Cape May restaurants that stay open year-round or most of the off-season.

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