Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article
Print Date 6.25.2021
By Judy Brenna
When I said a couple weeks ago that the little hospitality foot soldiers over at The GACCA were going to be busy little bees, I wasn’t exaggerating. Last I wrote we were keeping ourselves occupied with pizza thanks to Eat at Joe’s, VIP bottle service poolside at HQ2, and “hopping” on the beer train with Tuckahoe Brewing ((see what I did there?)). The last two weeks have been even more epic which an adventure into the Orange Loop, thanks to Jamie Hoagland ((hi, Jamie!!)) and a tour of the Longport Historical Society. On a side note, I had no idea Longport had such an interesting history, and you have to know me well enough by now that when presented with juicy history I go all foamy at the mouth, which may sound fairly amusing but in actuality it’s rather alarming to witness. Irregardless… It was a great time!
The town of Longport was established in colonial America around 1695, by Thomas Budd, who was a private land owner, awarded 1500-acre land by who I like to call the British Land Masters, of which included the tail end of Absecon Island. Years later he sold the property for a whopping ((for those of you desperately trying to find a house right now, but can’t because the market is obscene thanks to COVID, you have my permission to shake your fist to the heavens right now)) 4 cents per acre. Jump forward a couple hundred years, and few exchanges of hands in ownership, the land plopped into the lap of James Long, who then passed it on to his good friend, M. Simpson McCullough, a lawyer and real estate developer who had the brilliant idea to transform the now 250 acre land into a sea-fairing resort and dubbed it forever more Longport, after its previous owner and his good friend. And thus the Borough was officially incorporated in 1895.
What I’m leaving out here is the vast history and endless stories and juicy bits of fun facts about this little sea-town, like the fact that James Long’s house was used as a sanitarium before it was knocked down in a big storm. Or the fact that the school that Peter Widener established for severely handicap children was used during both World Wars 1 and 2 as a treatment camping and training facility for soldiers. And also Peter Widener’s son and grandson went down with the sinking of the Titanic. There are so many more stories to learn about. I highly recommend a tour of the museum. It’s a fun thing to do as a day date ((especially if you're dating me)) or a trip for the family. Go to https://www.longportpubliclibrary.org for more details.
The Orange Loop is a totally different and unique beast. And I use the word "beast" with the utmost respect. You could literally take an entire weekend and stay JUST in the Orange Loop and have an unforgettable time. There is so much to do in just a few square blocks. I will admit, I live a bit of a hike away, and really need to start spending more time down there. Specifically for the fact that whenever I see a friend post on Facebook that they’re at one of the venues in the Orange Loop anger washed over me in an awesome wave. It’s unhealthy. I know. I digress, the Orange Loop. The Loop consists of Tennessee Avenue, New York Avenue and St. James Place with venues such as Bourre, Bar 32, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Pic-A-Lilli Pub, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Rthym & Spirirts, Cuzzie’s Pizzeria Kitchen, The Irish Pub, and Parish of Saint Monica. On a side note I have this ridiculously awesome bucket-list idea of a food funeral / food and drink crawl through the Orange Loop and then passing out into a food coma. But, a food marathon of this magnitude takes months of preparation, and I have yet to start planning. But, again, I digress. My whole point? Endless possibilities in a relatively small area.
The GACCA did a not-so-little tour last week, starting with Rhythm & Spirits. What can we say about Rhythm & Spirits that you don’t already know? Seriously good Italian-inspired cuisine ((imagine an Italian restaurant and a southern soul food kitchen had a romantic tryst, had a baby and then went on a trip around the world… that’s Rhythm & Spirits)), awesome hand-crafted cocktails, and a nightlife that rivals any nightclub in the casinos. What’s awesome about Rhythm & Spirits ((or rather one awesome out of many)) is their unending lineup of events and specials. I URGE you to checkout their website, https://rhythmandspirits.com for everything they offer. While on our adventure we also had the amazing opportunity to sample Cuzzie’s Pizzeria Kitchen cuisine, and I’m only slightly afraid to admit publicly it is THE best pizza in New Jersey ((as a group of people in the back row gasp and bite their knuckles)). There’s nothing more to say. We’ll just leave it at that. Check out Cuzzie’s updates at https://www.facebook.com/CuzziesPizzeriaKitchen.
And lastly, we stopped off at Bar 32 where we literally broke on through to the chocolate side. And let me tell, when Annie Lennox wrote about her sweet dreams and what they’re made of, she was actually talking about Bar 32… before it even existed. Which means Annie Lennox is a psychic ((insert mind explosion emoji here)). What I love about Bar 32 is the fact that you don’t just go there for the “drinks”. You go to immerse yourself in the experience. You don’t just taste their hand-crafted cocktails, you feel them. Bar 32 combines hand-crafted chocolates made in-house and tailored cocktails with a cool vibe creating the ultimate after-dinner destination. You’ll understand if you go one of these days. And very soon, I hope. Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/Bar32Chocolate.
I can’t wait to explore of what Atlantic County has to offer, and next week we’ll talking about the biggest buzz in Atlantic City right now, Lucky Snake Arcade in Showboat. So stayed tuned!
Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!