To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
Under the watchful eye of owners Jose Perez and Yolanda Pineda, Mariachi Restaurant's culinary team builds homemade Mexican, Spanish, and Latin American cuisine from a catalogue of authentic and fusion-based recipes. The hearty dishes run the gamut from grilled chicken breast resting atop homemade durango sauce to charcoal-broiled pork marinated with imported Mayan spices that singe the true date of the apocalypse into the meat. Barkeeps man the restaurant's two watering holes, keeping fine wines and spirits flowing as feasts unfold in a dining room ornamented with white linens and paintings on the wall. Mariachis amble through semiprivate dining rooms to enliven soirees, and on the second-floor outdoor patio, guest sup alfresco overlooking the beach and boardwalk below.
At Nage’s cozy dining room and wine bar, guests share small plates of truffle mac-n-cheese, mussels, and ricotta gnocchi paired with glasses of wine or specialty cocktails. The chefs use seasonal, local, and organic ingredients in their tapas and entrées, such as sirloin steak frites and Chesapeake crab cakes, making popular modern dishes with a tip of the hat to tradition. Exposed brick walls, low-hanging lights, and a chalkboard specials menu set the scene. Nage features live acoustic music every Friday night, as well as weekly wine tastings and ladies’ nights on Wednesdays.
Mr. P's Pizzeria's Italian wood-burning oven bakes more than 21 varieties of pizza and calzones in its 700-degree splendor. Noshers can sink mouth bones into the classic margherita ($7.75+) or Shrimp 'n' Pesto ($11.50+) sauce-and-cheese pies, or sample the Alla Puttanesca with Goat Cheese, packed with a bonanza of chunky home-style tomato sauce, whole-milk mozzarella, artichokes, capers, black olives, garlic, and goat cheese ($10.50+). The menu depicts 13 pasta specialties, including the mozzarella-slathered chicken parmesan ($12), and a team of broth and spinach that officiates over the vows of eternal love made between miniature meatballs and pasta balls in the popular Italian wedding soup ($3.75/cup, $4.25/bowl). Mr. P's Pizzeria also gives bored teeth something to do by whipping up subs, salads, and homemade cannoli and hosting smiling contests.
Created by restaurateur Matt Haley and staffed by talented chefs, Betty's Pure and Simple refines classic American comfort fare for the palate of the present. Start the meal with crab-stuffed mushrooms with lemon mayonnaise ($9) or a savory serving of bacon and cheddar tots ($6). Move forward with the braised beef short rib stroganoff ($18) or the buttermilk fried chicken on waffles with ham gravy, which captures taste buds in its vaguely belgian embrace ($16).