Exit Zero Comes to the Cape May Terminal
Exit Zero Hospitality Selected to Operate The Cape May Terminal Food Operation
Change is afoot at the Cape May terminal! We've partnered with Exit Zero Hospitality to redevelop, reposition, and operate the restaurant and associated facilities at the Cape May Terminal. There's a lot to digest here, so let's take a look at what this means for both the short- and long-term operation of the terminal here in Cape May.
First Things First: Answering the Immediate Questions
What's Happening at On the Rocks This Summer?
Given how close we are to summer, On the Rocks will operate under the same name and a similar set-up as before, but with a new food & drinks menu. Exit Zero is planning to open On the Rocks on or around June 1. Once information is available regarding hours of operation and menus, we'll post the details here.
Will There Still Be Concerts This Summer?
Yes! In partnership with the Ferry, Exit Zero is partnering with Lower Township to bring back the Summer Concert Series, beginning July 7 on the Cape May terminal green. You can check out the line-up here.
Who Is Exit Zero?
Exit Zero Hospitality operates Exit Zero Filling Station, an acclaimed restaurant and retail store in West Cape May which is open daily, year-round. They also publish the weekly Exit Zero publication, as well as Cool Cape May, the annual guide book for visiting the area.
Long-Term: What's In the Works for The Cape May Terminal?The cliff notes version? A lot.
The longer version? Let's dive in....
With a ten-year agreement in place, Exit Zero Hospitality is committing to spend nearly $2 million to renovate and improve the Terminal facility during the first three years of the lease, starting with the grab and go area in the terminal in the fall/winter of 2021.
Grab N' Go
The plans include a new coffee shop and grab-and-go area, which would offer coffee from Cape May Roasters, including a fun new range of custom blends, freshly made juices and shakes, plus a choice of grab-and go or freshly made breakfast and lunch sandwiches/snacks. A selection of soft drinks along with snack bars will also be available. The café would be open daily from 6:00 a.m., year-round.
On the Rocks
On the Rocks will be rebranded with a new circular bar to be constructed in the center of the dining room. The casual, waterfront vibe of On the Rocks would remain, with some changes to the esthetics and the menu and the expansion of the patio area overlooking the Terminal Green – to be renamed “Ferry Park.”
Ferry Park, already known to locals as a gem for summer activity, will now feature a series of organic landscape additions designed to have educational and ecological benefits. In subsequent phases improvements will include recreational (bocce, hammocks, bean bag toss) elements, and places for local vendors to ply their wares. All of these changes will be designed to further enhance a space that will continue to offer concerts, festivals, and gatherings – or simply a place to relax and enjoy nature.
The Sunset Lounge & Gallery
Exit Zero also plans to renovate the existing Sunset Lounge into a sophisticated seafood-based restaurant with unrivaled sunset views over the Delaware Bay. The design will evoke the golden age of ocean liners, with comfortable seating, a white-tiled bar and soft amber lighting, and a beautiful gas fireplace from floor to ceiling. The menu will have a focus on seasonal local seafood and will also feature a Raw Bar. The restaurant would be open daily for dinner only, year-round. The room would also be available to be booked for private functions and events.
The Gallery would also serve as the home to regular art exhibits by regional artists, with Exit Zero and the DRBA splitting a commission on all sold works. Throughout the year, locals would be offered free classes in subjects such as watercolor painting, creative writing, wreath-making, knitting, flower arranging, jewelry making, sea glass collecting, birdwatching and more. Classes would be followed by purchased lunch at the ground-floor restaurant.
Why Partner With Exit Zero?“In late 2019, we embarked on a path to take our food and retail business to the next level, bringing aboard Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen to operate the Lewes Ferry Terminal concession business,” said Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations at the DRBA. “That partnership has proven to be very successful and we’re looking to launch a similar effort at our Cape May location. Exit Zero has a loyal brand following, creative menu ideas, and a focus on creating a dining destination for families that align perfectly with our goals. We’re looking forward to the start of what we believe will be a very successful partnership.”
Already popular with ferry travelers and locals, the Cape May Ferry Terminal location offers a great platform for growth. “If you were to create the perfect restaurant location, it would be nestled right on the waterfront, with panoramic sunset views,” said Jack Wright, Exit Zero owner. “That’s what the ferry terminal offers. The opportunity to create an exciting new destination in Cape May County was irresistible to us, and we can’t wait to partner with the DRBA on this project.”