Catch of the Day

The 22-room Daddy O brings hipster Manhattan style to the Jersey Shore.
The 22-room Daddy O brings hipster Manhattan style to the Jersey Shore. (Barry Halkin)

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

When you enter Daddy O, prepare to be shellshocked.

At the new boutique hotel and restaurant on Long Beach Island, you won't find mollusk prints on the comforters, scallop patterns on the shower curtains or conch-and-coral centerpieces adorning the tables. Shells and leather clash.

The fashionable property opened last August, much to the delight of visitors who can't sleep on linens without a sky-high thread count. Most accommodations on LBI look as though they've been decorated by high tide, with weathered interiors, ocean-detritus knickknacks and a faint seaweed scent.

The hotel and restaurant are owned by a Philadelphia restaurateur and some Jersey guys, including brothers Paul and Brian Sabarese (ages 27 and 33, respectively), who also run the Plantation restaurant and bar down the street. Before Daddy O moved in, the building housed Wida's, a seasonal motel and restaurant that did not wear its 85 years very well.

"We easily could have done another shore restaurant and hotel," said the older bro, who added that the rates are competitive (maybe in Manhattan). "But we wanted something a little more edgy and upscale."

Daddy O shuns the maritime style for a more urbane design: The guest-room walls shimmer gold, the beds are covered in faux-mink throws and pillows, and the reading chairs are upholstered in ivory leather that sticks to sunburned skin. Guests who'd rather not walk the few yards to the beach can catch rays on the rooftop sundeck and make every hour happy withfixings from the Daddy O To Go mini-mart downstairs. To be sure, a $78 bottle of Veuve Clicquot will hardly be out of place, especially if sipped out of plastic cups.

"This is the closest thing you are going to have to a New York City establishment," said Len, a New Jerseyite who owns a vacation home on LBI and was drinking cocktails at Daddy O's bar one recent Saturday night. "The island needed a place like this."

Indeed, visitors now have a reason to shower before dinner. The voluminous restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine with Asian accents -- example: pan-seared mahi-mahi with pineapple, coconut-lime rice, peanuts and Thai curry -- in a mod red-and-black dining room. And while most diners dress casually for dinner, you may want to touch up your pedicure before slipping on the flip-flops.

-- Andrea Sachs

· Daddy O is at 4401 Long Beach Blvd. in Brant Beach. Rooms from $195 double; entrees $13-$33. Rate includes breakfast and beach pass. Open year-round. Info: 609-361-5100 (hotel) or 609-494-1300 (restaurant), http://www.daddyohotel.com.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company


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