CAPE MAY – With so many acclaimed and recommended restaurants and cafes on the island, it’s difficult to try them all during the course of a short vacation or day trip.Cape May Food Tours can help solve the conundrum of choosing from such an array of options by offering the opportunity to experience the atmosphere and cuisine of six different eateries in a single afternoon. Almost a year to the day,Mary Ockrymiek, launched her new endeavor hoping to give a multifarious culinary tour of Cape May. She had the idea for the tours after coming across a similar business model a few years ago in Athens, Ga., while visitingher daughter.“I knew from just looking at the brochure, that this was what I was looking for in a job. I’ve had my house in CapeMay for 18 years – I know we have great restaurants, great food, great chefs, wonderful Victorian architecture and a wonderful history,” she said.“So, when I saw that was the combination for this business model, I knew it was perfect for me.”As a former school teacher
and tutor, Ockrymiek said she was inclined to add the educational aspect to the tour by informing her guests about the historical Victorian homes on the way to each stop, the background of the restaurants visited and chronicles of Cape May.“We give them the multi-sensory tour, so you’re not just getting a cultural walk ing tour, but you’re also going into restaurants and tasting what’s there,” Ockrymiek said. Between the tastings and learning about the restaurants and chefs, what I’ll do is talk about the architecture of Cape May and historical facts I’ve gathered.”When she decided to start
the business, she took a class in Chicago, Ill., with ShaneKost, the founder of FoodTour Pros and Chicago FoodPlanet Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tours.“He offers a course on how to run this kind of businessand how to structure it,”Ockrymiek said. “A lot of the restaurants aren’t aware of what these food tours are,so the class gives you a good idea of how to explain it to them and convince them to get involved.”She said Cape May Food Tours typically consist of a maximum of 10 people touring five eateries and a specialty food store. The tour is topped off with a small wine tasting featuring AuburnRoad Vineyard wines fromPilesgrove, N.J. Each stop along the tour offers a sampleof its signature dish or top selling items to guests.Ockrymiek said she wanted to include venues
that exemplify the “regional flavors”of Cape May and highlight veteran chefs and businesses.“I did a lot of research on local restaurants – doing myown personal tastings at places, reading online reviews,looking at local favorites – it was a lot of fun,” she said.“Everyone I’ve worked with has been just wonderful.Cape May is such a great community and there was no better place to do something like this.”Cape May Food Tours include local favorites like Freda’s Café, Tisha’sFine Dining, Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar, Gecko’s, Fudge Kitchen, Bliss(organic ice cream and desserts) and Coffee Tyme,where they highlight their homemade baked goods. Ockrymiek also included the Cape May Olive Oil Company on Carpenter’s Lane as a specialty food store for guests to tour and sample. The final stop is normally at the Madd Potter’s Studio, which is not a restaurant but a pottery and crafts store where the winetasting takes place.The Cape May Food Tours Guide given to guests include not only the venues incorporated on the tour but a list of over 50 restaurants in CapeMay and coupons to a select few. Tours will run through the rest of the summer and will be held on weekends in the fall and winter. The full calendar can be found on the website at www.capemayfoodtours.com. Each tour costs $55 andbegins near the WashingtonStreet Mall with the exact location being provided at the time of the ticket purchase.Ockrymiek said each tour lasts for about three hours,starting around 1:30 p.m. She said the tours are a walk of about 1.5 miles and are held,rain or shine.Tickets for Cape May Food Tours can be purchased through Zerve by visiting www.zerve.com/capemayfoods/downtown
or by calling(800) 979-3370 or (212) 209-3370. Tour information can also be found on the website or on the Facebook page. She said Cape May Food Tours is the ideal way to find out why The New York Times called Cape May, “the restaurant capital of New Jersey.”
/Cape May Star and Wave Above, a group from Cape May Food Tours enjoys crab focaccia at Freda’s Cafe.