Microbrews have seen a spike in popularity over the past few years, including here on the Shore. With brew pubs like Tall Tales, Shorebilly, EVO, and Burley Oak popping up across Delmarva, finding local craft brews is becoming easier and easier for area residents and visitors. Ocean City welcomed a new brew pub to the mix last Friday, as de Lazy Lizard celebrated the grand opening of their brew and gastro pub in downtown Ocean City. ShoreBread joined in the celebration, sitting down with the team behind the Lizard’s latest expansion, sampling a few of the menu specials, and of course, sneaking a few sips of the Lizard’s craft brews.
The Lizard’s second, and latest, location is just a stone’s throw from the original Lazy Lizard. In fact, one could hop from one bar to the next in just a matter of minutes. De Lazy Lizard Bar and Grille is situated on the water, at 1st Street and the bay. The brew pub sits at the top of the street, at 1st Street and Philadelphia Avenue, in the former Melvin’s Steakhouse location. It may seem odd to house two bars of the same name on the same block, but owners Wayne Odachowski and Todd Hays explained that the two bars were actually quite different. The original Lizard offers an outdoor, casual vibe, with an entirely different menu. The brew pub will function as a brewery, but will also be a full-service gastro pub.
“What makes this place unique is it’s a nice brew pub with upgraded pub food. We are trying to cater to folks that love good draft brews, but also to people that love good food,” said Brewer Rod Hillman, adding that the Lizard Brew Pub will serve downtown Ocean City year-round.
Hillman and fellow brewer Rich Lawrence are new to the brewing scene, and have been thoroughly enjoying each and every challenging step. “It was a lot of trial and error, but we had a massive amount of assistance from the guys at Burley Oak, as well as from EVO. Those two were unbelievable with helping us, basically get started,” said Hillman. Beers from EVO and Burley Oak are also available in the current line-up of 20 rotating draft beers and 40-plus bottled beers. From de Lazy Lizard brand, there are currently two brews available, the Lazy Lizard Copper and the Lazy Lizard Golden. “Eventually we will have 7 or 8 varieties, including an IPA, a stout, a porter, and some seasonal beers,” said Hillman.
Hays added that eventually, the Lizard beers would be available in other locations as well. “Once we get that approval, we’ll be ready to sell to anybody,” he said, with the long term goal to see Lizard beers on draft throughout Ocean City and on taps out of town as well.
It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing, however, as one would expect with a venture of this size. “Everything has been a challenge, but it’s been absolutely fun,” said Odachowski. Hays explained that the idea to transition from bar owners to brewpub owners came from their customers. “We sell a lot of beer at the Lizard, and we had lots of people asking for local craft beers. It was something we wanted to look into and we thought, you know what, we’ll give it a shot.”
The first two beers, the Lazy Lizard Copper and Golden, are just a preview of what’s to come. Hillman and Lawrence explained that they wanted to start with something light and fitting for the summer season. “It’s something easy,” Lawrence said of the Golden, “You know, a light drinking beer that still has those quality, craft ingredients. “ As for the Copper, Hillman explained that it possesses a lower carbonation than a typical English red ale, adding “it’s also got a bit more bitterness than your typical red ale.”
The beers also pair well with the gastro pub fare, explained Executive Chef David Micozzi. He went on to suggest the brats sausage sampler, the rosemary parmesan truffle fries, and the bangers and mash as pairings for the Lazy Lizard Golden. As for the Lazy Lizard Copper, “definitely the surf and turf or the burger.”
The menu is fairly limited right now, with plans to expand as the restaurant comes into full swing. “Right now we have one-third of what we’ll be offering. In two to three weeks, we’ll have that much more,” said Micozzi, explaining that they really wanted to get any kinks in the kitchen worked out before rolling out the full menu. Specials will also unfold as the weeks go on, with plans for football, Bike Week, and Oktoberfest specials in the works. “We want to try and make Ocean City happen downtown in the off-season,” added Hays.
Also on the horizon are pool tables and dart boards, as well as plenty of off-season and football specials. With numerous flat-screen televisions displayed throughout the restaurant, and ample seating, de Lazy Lizard Brew Pub is gearing up for a busy football season as well as a busy fall season chocked full with good beer and good food.