Blogs

Chatterbox Restaurant, Ocean City’s Pink-Hued Icon, Celebrates 80th Anniversary

first_imgOwners Maria and Bob Boyer, who bought the Chatterbox in 2014, stand in front of a historic mural that serves as a centerpiece in the dining room. By Donald WittkowskiCustomers strolling through the doors of the Chatterbox Restaurant might think they have passed through a time portal transporting them back to the 1950s.The Platters croon their 1955 hit “The Great Pretender” over the loudspeaker, old 45 rpm records tacked on the walls serve as old-school decorations and a neon Pepsi Cola sign behind the counter is faintly reminiscent of the Eisenhower era.Yo, all we need are Richie and Fonzie from “Happy Days” to stop by to make this nostalgic atmosphere complete.Although the reproduction retro-chic look may be trendy in some modern restaurants, the Chatterbox is an authentic throwback to the 1950s. Actually, it traces its roots to 1937, when the original owner, Jean Campbell, opened the family-style eatery in downtown Ocean City.The current owners, Bob and Maria Boyer, will celebrate the restaurant’s 80th anniversary on Friday with a cake-cutting gala open to the public. Slated to get underway at 11 a.m., the celebration will last as long as the free cake holds out, the Boyers said.Maria Boyer points to an old black-and-white photo of the Chatterbox’s original owner, Jean Campbell, who opened the restaurant in 1937.Jean Campbell will also be there to greet customers, sort of. She has been immortalized in an old black-and-white photo from 1941 that shows her standing in front of a delivery truck. The picture frame containing Campbell’s photo also includes an old Chatterbox menu from the 1930s. Campbell’s photo peers out over the main dining room, ensuring that she will be a permanent fixture at the restaurant.Beginning with Campbell’s ownership, the Chatterbox has been touted in its advertising slogan as the place “where the town meets.” Impossible to miss, the iconic, pink-hued, Spanish Mission Revival-style building occupies a prominent downtown location at the corner of Ninth Street and Central Avenue.The Boyers, who bought the restaurant in 2014 from the previous longtime owners, the Repici family, have kept the historic “where the town meets” slogan, but have also added their own: “Family, Food, Fun.”“We wanted to provide families with great food and a good time,” Maria Boyer said, explaining how the Chatterbox brands itself. “Family, food and fun, that’s what the restaurant is all about.”The landmark building, bathed in a distinctive pink color scheme, occupies the corner of Ninth Street and Central Avenue.The Boyers decided to preserve the restaurant’s 1950s-era décor when they took over. While that aspect of the restaurant is clearly rooted in the old days, other parts of the Chatterbox have evolved to keep pace with modern tastes.A new chef was brought in by the Boyers in 2014 to make changes with the menu that reflect the trend for healthier eating. An emphasis is placed on serving fresh fruits and vegetables bought from local farmers. Gluten-free meals are available. The Chatterbox also roasts its own meats.To keep meals affordable for families, the restaurant offers a $5.99 daily lunch special. There are other quaint, family-style touches, such as serving children’s meals in paper containers that look like vintage cars. The children can take the cars home.Dan and Lauren Jordon, of Cinnaminson, along with their daughter, Ella, 6, and son, Max, 4, had lunch in the family-friendly restaurant.For people who want to bring their family dog along, the restaurant’s outdoor dining section is pet-friendly. Inside, though, only service dogs are allowed.Individual booths and tables offer comfy seating for customers, but the Chatterbox can also accommodate large groups, the Boyers said. Altogether, the restaurant has 175 seats, including the outdoor patio area.The Boyers, who have been married for 35 years, were no strangers to Ocean City’s restaurant scene when they bought the Chatterbox. Previously, they had owned Tory’s Ice Cream Parlor, a now-gone eatery formerly located at 33rd Street and Asbury Avenue.After they sold the Tory’s property, they began scouting around for a family restaurant they could buy. The Boyers noted it took them three years of searching before they finally settled on the Chatterbox as “the right place.”As rumors swirled a few years ago that the Chatterbox might be demolished and redeveloped, they were partly motivated by their desire to save the restaurant.“We wanted to preserve the legacy of the Chatterbox,” Bob Boyer said. “It’s an iconic part of the city.”Employees enjoy a relaxing moment at the Chatterbox counter.Renowned architect Vivian Smith, an Ocean City native, designed the Chatterbox, according to the restaurant website. Smith also designed other Ocean City landmarks, including City Hall, the Music Pier on the Boardwalk and the historic Flanders Hotel.On Oct. 29, 2012, the Chatterbox suffered what may have been its biggest blow. Hurricane Sandy badly damaged the restaurant, along with other countless buildings on the island. A water line inside the restaurant shows just how deep the flooding had surged.The restaurant was gutted and remodeled. After the renovations were completed, it reopened in May 2014.Among the items saved from the floodwaters was the Chatterbox’s historic mural, which whimsically depicts a nostalgic scene inside the restaurant, right down to bobby-soxers dancing to the tunes from a Wurlitzer jukebox and a soda jerk serving up a sundae. The mural is the centerpiece of the Chatterbox’s – What else? – 1950s décor.Old 45 rpm records attached to the walls add to the nostalgic atmosphere.last_img read more

Student success

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaWith getting children ready for school, feeding them a healthy breakfast, making sure they get home safely and taking them to practices, today’s parents have a lot on their plates.Actual schoolwork can get lost in the rush. A key to children’s success is paying attention to what goes on during the eight hours they spend at school.“I came across a recent survey in one state that said fewer than 20 percent of parents are in regular contact with their child’s school and teacher,” said Don Bower, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist. “Nobody is happy with that.”As teachers and schools search for ways to engage their students, sometimes the one missing element is parental involvement. Eighth-grade teacher Julie Crow said the best way a parent can connect with a child’s teachers is to show up at parent-teacher conferences.“We make a lot of appointments, and I bet about 60 percent of them don’t show up,” she said.Crow teaches mathematics at East Jackson Middle School in Commerce, Ga. Parents there can also meet with teachers when they pick up their child’s report card.“It seems like a lot of parents come when their child is in sixth grade,” she said. “But by the time they get to eighth grade, not as many parents come.”When students reach middle school, Bower said, many parents tend to believe their student is more independent and responsible. In fact, parents may need to be in closer contact with their child’s teacher during these challenging years, he said.“In middle school and high school, students have issues of bigger crowds and less one-to-one contact,” he said. “Typically at the middle school level, many parents are overwhelmed with trying to meet all the teachers and keep up with what’s going on in all those classes.”Bower said a solution to the teacher overload would be for a parent to find someone at the school who knows the child and to talk to that person regularly.“The most effective systems are where both the school and the parent understand the learning goals of the student and work together to achieve those goals,” he said. “That’s done in an environment where responsibility and power are shared between the school and the parents.”Sometimes, parents doubt the necessity of parent-teacher conferences, he said.“For some, it informs them of a situation to begin with,” Crow said. “So many parents don’t know what’s happening in their kids’ lives. For some parents, the conference doesn’t do anything. For others, it goes home and lights a fire.”Bower and Crow offer these tips on what parents can do to communicate with their child’s teachers.1. Use the Web. “More than 95 percent of schools now have their own Web sites,” Bower said. “Using the Web also makes it much easier, especially for parents gone during traditional hours.” Web use could include something as common as e-mail. However, many schools now post a student’s password-protected grades and homework online.2. Call. “The old standby is telephone contact between the parent and teacher,” Bower said. “Make sure to call during the teacher’s free period if the teacher has one. Parents need to understand when it’s a good time to reach the teacher.” Teachers generally only have about an hour and a half per day to call a parent back as well as complete other projects, Crow said.3. Ask the child about homework assignments, tests and notes from the teacher. Talk to your student. “I think parents need to do more than just meet with their student’s teachers at conferences,” Crow said, “even if it’s not necessarily to talk to me more, but talking to their kids more.”last_img read more

Column: Andretti digs deep to honor family at Indianapolis

first_img Associated Press Television News SUBSCRIBE TO US COMMENT LIVE TV First Published: 18th August, 2020 10:17 IST FOLLOW UScenter_img Last Updated: 18th August, 2020 10:17 IST Column: Andretti Digs Deep To Honor Family At Indianapolis Fresh off one of the biggest moments of his career, Marco Andretti headed to St. Elmo’s Steakhouse for a small celebration with friends and teammates WATCH US LIVE Fresh off one of the biggest moments of his career, Marco Andretti headed to St. Elmo’s Steakhouse for a small celebration with friends and teammates.Another diner at the Indianapolis landmark said, “Go get ‘em Marco” as he passed by their table. His guests raised a glass to Andretti for “laying down a fat one” in a tribute to the late Dan Wheldon, who used that expression to describe big qualifying laps.Andretti did just that, seizing the first Indianapolis 500 pole in 33 years for motorsports’ most famous family . His grandfather, Mario, won the last Andretti pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Marco was just two months old.Earning the right to lead the field to green in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” is a worthy resume highlight in itself. But what Andretti did will forever be a defining moment for a beleaguered driver.Three of his Andretti Autosport teammates had failed to show the speed the team knows is in the cars and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon had just topped the leaderboard. Andretti was the final driver to qualify. It was hot and a slight wind swirled around the empty speedway, conditions that should have slowed his effort.With a confidence he has struggled to show in recent years, Andretti ripped four laps around the 2.5-mile oval — wide-open on the gas, fast and fearless in pursuit of his own moment of glory at Indy.“On the last lap, I knew it was either all or nothing,” Andretti told The Associated Press on Monday at the speedway in the shadow of its famed Pagoda. “I was either not going to finish or the run was going to be very good. I had to dig deep for that, reach for the next level.”His run was wildly celebrated by his fellow competitors — even Dixon said he was rooting for Andretti — as well as his celebrity friends. He counts comedian Kevin Hart and entertainers Ludacris and Ice-T as close friends; he took a congratulatory call from “Ice while we were on the way to dinner.”“He’s such a great guy and a good friend,” Dixon said. “To see him get a pole position at Indianapolis — I know what that means to him and especially his family.”Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the Andretti family playground. Mario Andretti won the Indy 500 only once, in 1969, and five Andrettis are a combined 1-for-74 when it comes to winning the most important race on the IndyCar calendar every year. It’s earned the family the notorious “Andretti Curse,” which Marco insists they don’t believe is real.“We don’t believe in it as a family,” he told AP. “We’ve been really blessed around here and we are unscathed as far as being in race cars. This is a dangerous thing we do and we are all healthy. It’s hard to say we’re cursed. This place can bury your confidence and it can also make you.”Now 33, Marco has been at Indy his whole life and his favorite memories, he said, were days spent at the old Speedway Motel turning laps on the balcony on a toy car as his grandfather, father, uncle and cousin fine-tuned their race cars.He wants nothing more than to break that so-called curse, which began for him as a rookie in 2006 when Sam Hornish Jr. passed him right before the finish line. Marco finished second, his father Michael finished third and it was the first of 14 consecutive years of Indy 500 heartbreak for Marco.He is not over that loss, bitterly noting that 15 years later he is still defending why he was so angry in defeat. The race that hurts the most was actually last year when he ran a tribute 50th anniversary paint scheme of his grandfather’s win, a time-consuming effort that his sister tirelessly put together. Radical changes made to his car were a disaster and Andretti plummeted to the back of the field at the start of the race. He finished 26th, his worst finish in 10 years.“I mean it was just, it was a nightmare. It was totally embarrassing,” Andretti said. “It’s one of those times where I was wanted to crawl under a rock.”Andretti recognizes that his statistics — two wins in 240 starts over 15 seasons, his last victory way back in 2011 — open him to criticism. Fans have mocked his lack of success, accused him of keeping his job only because his dad owns the team and suggested he’s not worthy of a seat in IndyCar.It used to bother him. But Andretti has grown up in this series; he was just 19 his rookie year and teammates with series greats Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta, who now calls his races. He has learned to stop worrying about the chatter.Now he’s a favorite to win the race that means everything to his family, an enormous amount of pressure that could potentially mentally drain Andretti before Sunday’s race. To clear his head, he planned to head to a family cabin in the Pocono mountains before he’s returns to the track Friday.“It’s just about being chill and trying to not stress,” Andretti said. “I can do that there because it’s an all-wood log cabin and you get there and it’s like everything’s cool, everything is going to be alright.”Image credits: AP Written Bylast_img read more