BY MADDY VITALE
For those who miss their favorite breakfast place — the Ocean City Municipal Airport Diner — city officials say the plan is to renovate it and reopen better than before.
“The city is still seeking outside funding for a renovated airport terminal and multi-use transportation center that would include an updated diner,” city spokesman Doug Bergen said Wednesday.
But in the meantime, the airport will have a food truck from Arlene’s Restaurant, a well-known eatery that was formerly on Asbury Avenue in Ocean City. The food truck will take the diner’s place temporarily.
“The food truck contract is an interim measure – because the old Airport Diner has been closed for a couple years,” Bergen said.
City Council, at its July 21 meeting, awarded Arlene’s Restaurant a contract to lease the city space — specifically six airport parking lot spaces — for $6,600 in a year-long agreement until June 2023.
In addition to the food truck, there will be up to five tables and umbrellas for patrons to enjoy outdoor meals. Summer hours of operation are daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and winter hours will be scaled back to 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Paul Stryker, owner of Arlene’s Restaurant in Ocean City, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
In 2020, City Council awarded a $30,000 contract to Toms River, N.J., architect Henry Hengchua to develop conceptual plans for a “multiuse transportation building” to replace the airport’s tiny operations building that also doubles as a diner.
“Part of our objective is to make this airport as attractive as possible,” City Business Administrator George Savastano said in an interview at the time.
The airport’s tiny building doubles as the operations center and the now-closed diner.
Exactly how much the airport’s proposed makeover would cost and when it would be done are unknown at this time, but the hope is that the city can secure grants to help pay for construction.