By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(July 25, 2019) Matt Ortt Companies, which has been managing several restaurants and organizations in Ocean City and Ocean Pines, will continue to prosper with a collaboration with the Harrison Group and a preliminary multi-year contract extension with Ocean Pines.
On Friday, the Ocean Pines Association announced that it and the Matt Ortt Companies had agreed to preliminary terms of a multiyear contract extension to continue to manage the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and Beach Club.
“We’re super happy that we’ve come to preliminary – and I use the word preliminary here – terms on the extended contract,” said Ralph DeAngelus, co-partner of the management company. “Nothing’s been finalized yet. But in business, once you get the terms done, the language never kills a deal.”
The Matt Ortt Companies originally signed a two-year agreement to manage both facilities last year. Since then, each restaurant has experienced a significant financial turnaround and earned rave reviews for improved food quality and service.
Under the leadership of Matt Ortt, DeAngelus and Executive Chef Stuart Diepold, the Ocean Pines Yacht Club has set new sales standards several times this season, including a record-breaking Memorial Day Weekend. In July, the Yacht Club facility set a single-day record with $53,000 in total revenue – including a $25,000 banquet – and on July 5 the restaurant by itself set a single-day record with more than $40,700 in net revenues.
“We expect to be in Ocean Pines for a long, long time and we’re super, super happy about it,” DeAngelus said. “I believe this is a win-win-win situation … a triple win matter. Matt Ortt Companies wins, the Ocean Pines Association wins and the people who come to the Yacht Club, a customer base, is going to win on this deal. And that’s what makes it a great deal.”
In addition to the preliminary agreement, the Matt Ortt Companies will also be collaborating with the Harrison Group on a massive restaurant project on 16th Street.
The restaurant will be known as Black Salt Bistro, and will be marketed as a casual fine dining experience with 40 feet of Boardwalk frontage, as well as 1,000 square feet for outdoor seating. The project is expected to be completed and open for public use in April 2020.
“We’re super excited to be joining the Harrison Group family,” DeAngelus said. “They’re obviously the premier hotel organization in town and we can’t wait to be a part of it. So they leased us a spot in their premier Quality Inn Hotel on 16th Street.”
Currently, the outdoor restaurant is called Surfin Betty’s Beach Bar, which serves the Boardwalk and the pool area. DeAngelus already has several plans for the new operation.
DeAngelus plans to install a “massive bar” inside the restaurant, which will have 3,000 square feet of space and have a large outdoor patio. All this will be done with interior design assistance from local interior designer Tori Jacobs, who has helped style several Matt Ortt managed locations such as the former Rare and Rye on 32nd Street. The beach bar will be renamed the Salt Shack.
“We’re still going to be a family-style restaurant, but we’re going to be more casual upscale family restaurant,” DeAngelus said. “There’s a there’s two big, giant pools that service the hotel and we sit in the middle of them. There’s about a 40-foot space between the pools and [the bar] is located dead center between them.”
The restaurant will serve seafood-based meals as well as some “flair-styled entrees” that were seen at Rare and Rye, with Executive Chef Stuart Diepold taking over the menu and heading the kitchen at the facility.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more laser-focused on a project in my life than the one we’re going to do here on 16th Street,” DeAngelus said.