Just in time for Memorial Day weekend kickoff, co-owners Dan Clark and Ed Hackett will reopen their popular BYOB, The Diving Horse, for its sixth season on Friday, May 22. They will also welcome new Executive Chef Paul Carrier, a Maryland native, who has cooked at their seafood-focused restaurant in summers past. The restaurant, featuring ample outdoor seating, a modern farmhouse interior with reclaimed fixtures and bright, oversized windows, serves dinner nightly beginning at 5 p.m. and will remain open through Labor Day.
“We’re thrilled to have Chef Carrier taking the reigns in the kitchen this summer,” says Clark, a South Jersey native, who has enjoyed many summers in Avalon. “This summer is going to be our best yet and our guests can expect the service and menu to be familiar and accessible and refined,” adds Clark’s business partner, Hackett. The pair also co-own three other successful restaurants: Pub & Kitchen, abar and restaurant combining the sophistication of contemporary European cuisine with the comfort of an authentic neighborhood spot as well as Fitler Dining Room, an inviting bistro serving a straightforward, progressive American menu (both located in Philadelphia); and PRIME, a fast-casual restaurant serving all-natural, free-range, grass-fed burgers, made fresh to order, located in the heart of Glassboro, NJ.
At The Diving Horse, an intimate 70-seat restaurant, Chef Carrier’s menu of new American fare highlights coastal ingredients, many sourced from nearby farms and Cape May County fisherman. Menu items, set to change almost daily based upon availability, may include: The Diving Horse Wedge Salad, with jumbo lump crap meat, prosciutto, red onion, tomato and fried herbs served with a Seven Mile Island dressing; Heirloom Tomato and Strawberry, with house made ricotta and basil; Calamari with pickled ramps and paprika; Barnegat Light Bay Scallops, with farro risotto, English peas and fennel pesto. Dishes range in price from $8 to $36.
“It’s important to me that our menu is accessible and celebrates the abundance of amazing ingredients produced by local farmers and growers,” explains Chef Carrier, who has traveled around the world and honed his skills working in acclaimed kitchens throughout the region, most recently at The Diving Horse’s sister restaurant, Fitler Dining Room, as well as Philadelphia’s a.kitchen and Bistrot La Minette.
Chef Carrier is also excited to continue Sunday Suppers, which debuted at The Diving Horse last summer and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a special, comforting seasonally inspired prix-fixe menu, served family-style. Additionally, plans are in the works for a variety of special events to be held throughout the season, including a week-long celebration leading up to the Fourth of July weekend and cooking classes on their outdoor patio.
The Diving Horse’s interior features natural elements, including a tasteful display of flowers by the entrance, and color tones as well as its views of Avalon’s quaint main street enhance its comfortable, airy ambiance. Reclaimed materials including tabletops, church pews, antique collapsing classroom chalkboards replaced by patina mirrors and center-cut yellow pine flooring from the 1850’s are incorporated throughout. An outdoor patio, surrounded by tall, lush landscaping, enclosing the space, holds three large picnic tables for communal seating and a private eight-seat round table, often used to host chef’s tasting dinners, all beneath strands of vintage Edison bulb string lights.
Since opening in summer 2010, The Diving Horse has taken its rightful place as one of the most highly regarded restaurants along the Jersey coast, last summer Philadelphia magazine named it one of the best restaurants in their annual “Summer Jersey Shore Guide,” writing: “This has been the go-to dinner spot for a few years, and it deserves all the love it gets.” Summer after summer, locals and guests from neighboring beach towns return to the charming spot that New Jersey Monthly named, “Easily Avalon’s best restaurant and one of the better specimens at the shore.” Its passionate, professional staff provides guests with exceptional service and its thoughtful menus and décor complete the experience.
For more information about The Diving Horse or to make a reservation, please call (609) 368-5000 or visit www.thedivinghorseavalon.com. Guest may also follow The Diving Horse on Twitter (@TheDivingHorse) and on Instagram (@TheDivingHorse).