The weather has been exceptionally kind to us so far this Autumn. We’ve experienced some excellent bonus summer-like days even into October. The Fall is our favorite season to travel and explore for many reasons, especially going to the shore in the off-season. It just hits differently!
We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Daddy O Hotel, Restaurant, and Bar on Long Beach Island a couple of weekends ago. We have fallen in love with the chic hotel in Brant Beach having stayed here a few times in the past. Owned by the Fearless Restaurant Group based out of Philadelphia, this year-round property sets the foundation for a lovely time down the shore during off-peak times. Believe it or not, LBI doesn’t completely shut down after summer!
It might seem like there is less to do on Long Beach Island after Labor Day, it’s still a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for a change of scenery or to recharge. Daddy O is a great place to accomplish both of those goals. The boutique hotel located just steps from the beach offers 22 plush rooms with luxury amenities, a stylish restaurant and bar inside, an outdoor patio, and a rooftop bar. Overnight stays are more affordable in the off-season, and fewer crowds make for a more enjoyable experience, in our opinion.
While the rooftop O bar was closed during our visit, the outdoor Garden Patio/Rum Bar was open. We were treated to fantastic weather as we enjoyed an afternoon filled with abundant sunshine, blue skies, and lots of drinking and eating! I will bank away these memories (and look at these photos below) during the cold winter days to come.
This place is the perfect spot for day drinking with friends! The drinks are so good; you’ll want to drink them all day. But that day-drinking will easily spill into night drinking because of the cozy firepit and festive strung lights overhead, setting the scene for an ultra-relaxing environment. The service is super efficient; you almost forget they are there, with all of your needs magically fulfilled.
As a fan of tiki drinks and tropical cocktails, the Rum Bar at Daddy O more than fits the bill using good spirits and fresh juices. While I was sad to see they no longer use the ceramic tiki mugs, the Tiki Punch is a cocktail I could drink all day! But I gave some equal time to the Caribbean Mule and Coco-Jito, which also go down remarkably well. 🥴
We highly recommend ordering the fried pickle spears. They come lightly fried to perfection with a perky sriracha aioli drizzle. We liked them so much; we ordered two plates of them for sharing! The spicy tuna tacos are also phenomenal, made with extraordinarily fresh sushi-grade tuna, wakame, mango, and sweet soy in a crispy gyoza shell. There’s just something about spicy seafood and fruit together that sets off pleasure bells in my head!
The blackened shrimp tacos were probably the best shrimp tacos I’ve ever had! The well-seasoned shrimp topped with pico de gallo, avocado crema, chipotle aioli, and pickled red onions was such a fantastic complementary blend of flavors.
That exceptional service and delicious food continue at the swanky restaurant inside. Soft mood lighting and super comfortable rounded banquettes help create the ultimate intimate fine dining experience at the shore.
In addition to traditional upscale American fare, Daddy O also features a creative sushi menu offering several deluxe specialty rolls. Naturally, I had to order one of them as an appetizer! The Mango Tango sushi roll was a no-brainer to keep those pleasure bells ringing—spicy tuna, mango, tempura crunch topped with ponzu sauce. As great a sushi roll as I’ve ever had at any Japanese restaurant. The roll was enjoyed along with a Watermelon Martini for even more fruity satisfaction.
While they were not official participants, the day’s soup was a luscious Manhattan clam chowder in honor of Chowderfest, which was going on throughout the island. I daresay they should have entered this soup for judging. While chowder fans often choose the creamy New England chowder, we prefer the tomato-based version.
We ventured into intensely rich and savory territory for our main entrees. My Short Rib Stroganoff was not only profoundly flavorsome from the perfectly slow-cooked short rib, but also packed with umami flavor from the wild mushrooms and so luxuriously creamy from the creme fraiche. His NY Strip Steak arrived at the perfect medium-rare temp along with an unctuous farro risotto with mushrooms. He also enjoyed the O Chopped salad because he adores bacon and blue cheese together on salads. A super comforting meal like a warm soulful hug.
We each enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with our meal; cabernet sauvignon for him and rose for me. It’s the best way to enjoy dinner while in such a classy restaurant at the shore!
We sure didn’t have room for dessert, but we made it happen anyway! Even with only four to choose from, it was a hard decision. We ultimately got the pecan bread pudding—because I find it very difficult not to order bread pudding when I see it on a menu — and the molten chocolate lava cake. The former was like a slice of pecan pie in pudding form on the plate with an eyes-roll-back-in-your-head sea salt caramel-pretzel ice cream. The latter being the best possible interpretation of a lava cake you could find. Talk about treating yourself! Lord, have mercy, did we indulge.
My stomach is rumbling, and I’m doing mental gymnastics in my mind reliving this meal, and overall experience, at Daddy O. A proper feast on our final night at the hotel. We went to sleep on a super soft bed and luxurious linens with happy, full bellies. This Jersey Shore destination ticks all of the boxes for us: superior accommodations, outstanding service, and some of the best food and drinks available on Long Beach Island. Our annual rejuvenating visit to the shore was a mission accomplished for all of our senses.
Since they are open year-round, you can enjoy this experience for yourself in the off-season. With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having lately, you can still enjoy time in the Garden Patio, though I do believe they keep it open until November with space heaters.
Honestly, while this terrific hospitality was a gift, we cannot recommend Daddy O Hotel, Restaurant, and Bar on Long Beach Island enough! We look forward to spending many more off-peak getaways at our happy place on Long Beach Island and encourage you to do so as well.
(Note: Apologies for the poor lighting on some of the dinner photos, I forgot my LED light to illuminate the photos better. I’m not a fan of photos using the flash settings on my phone, they never turn out great. I tried to brighten them up the best I could with a photo editor. The food is absolutely better than it looks in my photos! You must go to experience it for yourself!)
Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey. You can find more of her writing on Philly Grub and NewsBreak.