Same Name And Location But Different Owners, Approach
OCEAN CITY - For nearly three months, Windows on the Bay has been open for business again, maintaining the name and location of the old restaurant, but bringing with it new ownership, menu selection and interior.
After nearly two years of being closed, Windows on the Bay reopened on July 6 under the new ownership of George Moniodis and Dave Smith. Located on 60th Street and the bay next to the OC Health and Racquet Club, Windows on the Bay offers a mix of fine dining atmosphere with the relaxed feel of a sports bar.
'I like to call it Ocean City fine dining,' said Moniodis, explaining that it does not maintain the big city fine dining of New York but instead the allure of Ocean City.
Moniodis and his partner Smith, who owns an alarm company in Baltimore, are both originally from the Baltimore area. Moniodis explained that he had been living in Vermont for the past 20 years, where he owned and operated a Mexican restaurant, until he and his wife made the move to Ocean City two years ago. Moniodis became a club member of the OC Health and Racquet Club, where he frequently conversed with the owner. Over the course of their friendship, Moniodis learned that the old restaurant was available once again.
Moniodis explained that Smith had already planted the idea in his head to take on a new business venture together and when the restaurant went up for lease, they knew they had found their business.
'We started talking and a few months later we came to an agreement,' Moniodis said.
With former restaurant experience under his belt, Moniodis was prepared for the challenges of getting a new restaurant up and running.
'We ran into a lot of challenges in the beginning,' Moniodis said, 'but in the end, it all worked out.'
Moniodis and Smith made the decision to maintain the same name and atmosphere of the old Windows on the Bay.
'We felt that if you kept it close to what it used to be then people would come back to it,' he said, explaining that they hoped maintaining a similar theme would bring back a strong base crowd from the old restaurant.
Although the name and location have stayed the same, Windows on the Bay has seen a lot of changes under the new ownership. The menu is still aimed toward fine dining, but with a new selection chosen by Smith and Moniodis. The menu ranges from hamburgers and chicken sandwiches to 10-ounce filets and lobster.
'We have a pretty wide variety on our menu,' Moniodis said. 'We're getting a lot of rave reviews about everything.'
There are also a variety of specials offered at Windows on the Bay. Moniodis explained that being a new restaurant spurred them to offer nightly specials earlier in the off-season. A few of the nightly specials include half-priced entrees on Tuesdays and Thursdays and buy one entrée get the second half-off on Fridays and Saturdays. A few of the year-round specials include the early bird special, available daily from 5 to 6 p.m., and happy hour, offered from 4 to 7 p.m. with 50-percent off drinks and the bar menu items.
Although the menu has expanded, the actual restaurant has been downsized. Moniodis explained that there was little room to expand and that the position of the bar forced them to downsize. The old bar, he explained, was smaller, located away from the dining section, and was not designed for a bar crowd. After deciding they wanted to cater to the sports crowd, Moniodis and Smith moved the bar to the center of the restaurant and coupled it with five HD-TV's. They did expand, however, by adding seating and tables on the deck, a feature that was not available before.
Windows on the Bay has more than a few unique features, two of which are the Stuart Dahne pictures displayed throughout the restaurant and the five-foot long surfing alligator located next to the bar.
Casey, the surfing alligator, is indeed a five-foot long stuffed alligator that was once Moniodis's pet. Casey was with Moniodis from 1962 to 1984, and roamed around the house, sleeping and getting along with the rest of Moniodis's family pets, including his dogs. Moniodis explained that Casey was on display skiing in his Vermont restaurant but with the move to the beach, they felt it necessary to teach him to surf.
Moniodis said the Stuart Dahne pictures are on sale throughout the restaurant.
'The pictures are beautiful,' said Moniodis as he presented the framed photography adorning the walls.