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Pines Yacht Club comes back with tip for its workers

By Greg Ellison

Prepares for multi-phase reopening of restaurant

(May 14, 2020) Nearly two months after being laid off with two days notice due to the covid-19 pandemic, Ocean Pines Yacht Club staff members were welcomed back to work last week with warm sentiments and cold cash.

Anticipating Gov. Larry Hogan’s multi-phase re-opening plan to permit outdoor dining service, two rounds of employees, 22 in sum, were brought back on board the past two Wednesdays, with each receiving a share of a $10,000 tip pool raised by management during their absence.

Matt Ortt Companies cofounder Ralph DeAngelus, which operates dining services at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, Beach Club and Golf Clubhouse, said the plan was hatched shortly after Hogan enacted pandemic-related health-safety measures in March.

“He closed everybody on the 16th, so we opened up for deliveries on the 18th,” he said. “The staff got 48-hours notice not to come into work.”

DeAngelus said after swiftly shuttering dining services, the 11-member management team, which then assumed delivery duties, hatched a plan to collect future financial rewards for hourly staff.

“They’ve been working this whole seven weeks to acquire their goal of $10,000 in cash tips from all these deliveries,” he said.

Speaking on Monday, DeAngelus said the benchmark was reached the previous Sunday, just three days before the first wave of staff returning on May 6.

“They had no idea they were getting that on their first day back,” he said. “The next phase of employees to get their envelopes comes back this Wednesday.”

DeAngelus said after the Yacht Club tip drive was publicized on social media, the outpouring of support was stunning.

“The Ocean Piners who ordered from us … were unbelievably generous (and) they over-tipped,” he said. “Some people said they knew the food would be good and abundant, but they literally just ordered to donate for the tips.”

Looking forward, DeAngelus is hopeful Hogan will opt to include outdoor dining services in phase one reopening plans anticipated to be unveiled this Wednesday, following   a concerted lobbying effort by the restaurant industry.

“Originally, it was in stage two, but we think that the Restaurant Association of Maryland put together a good package on how to do it safely,” he said. “Truthfully, it’s a solid, serious plan with a lot of safety precautions.”

While immediate plans to resume indoor dining remain uncertain, DeAngelus said the exemption for outside dining would permit operations to resume at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club, and, in short order, at the Beach Club, Coastal Salt and Ralphie’s Rum Shack and the new Golf Clubhouse Bar and Grille.

“The Clubhouse does have an outdoor seating area that we would be able to serve,” he said. “Since all of our units have outdoor seating, we would definitely without question open every single one of them.”

DeAngelus said permitting outside tables distanced six feet apart and served by staff wearing face masks, is a sensible first step as society gradually reopens.

“If [Hogan] says on Wednesday outsides are ready to go, we are ready … starting Friday,” he said. “Forty-eight hours later we’ll be open outside.”

The Ocean Pines Yacht Club remains open for delivery and carryout each Wednesday through Sunday, from 4-8 p.m. To order, call 410-641-7501 or order online at

The first wave of returning staff at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club received unanticipated tips on May 6.

Ocean Pines Yacht Club staff, from left, Chelsey Chmelik, Kearston Frey and Melissa Ruck ship out Mother’s Day feasts complete with fresh flowers and mimosas on Sunday.