Welcome to Water Dog. Our name and logo pay our homage to “Betty” – the Portuguese Water Dog who spent 14 joyful years as companion to our founder, Steve Marchel. Portuguese Water Dogs are known as a resourceful, intelligent, and cunning breed – characteristics that Betty put to use in her quest for more – and tastier – snacks.
Steve had lived in NYC and its suburbs prior to returning to his hometown to raise his boys near their grandparents, along the Jersey Shore. Little did he know how much he would miss the incredible food-offerings available in NYC, and wanted to bring a funky combination of the best of those joints to the Downbeach community through Water Dog. He wanted to build a place that was welcoming and unlike any place in the area. He envisioned creative and cleanly prepared food, big portions and flavor profiles that would be welcomed by locals and seasonal customers, alike. There’d be fun music on the box and he hoped customers would enjoy sitting on picnic benches eating a memorable meal with their family, maybe after a day on the beach. Basically, he wanted to build a place his family and he would patronize if owned by someone else!
Water Dog was founded to fill a niche in the South Jersey food scene. As consumers, we longed for a place that featured house-smoked and roasted fish and meats and creative healthy choices without the use of preservatives, nitrites or added refined sugar. We were lucky to have some good sandwich and salad options in South Jersey, but not one great place which maybe offered the best Lobster Roll, a Poke Bar featuring great proteins, sandwiches, resembling those of iconic NYC deli’s, or freshly cut Yellowfin Tuna, otherwise only found at the white-linen joints and an array of high-quality smoked fish, smoked on our smokers, with the personal touch not available through the mass-produced Nova and Kippered Salmon, often full of nitrites and sugar, that are sold elsewhere. The idea of Water Dog had begun to take shape.
After much planning and execution of the vision, Water Dog opened in the Fall of 2019 and we’ve been going full-speed since then, thanks to the response and loyalty from our great community. Water Dog is committed to continue to innovate with new menu items, while staying true to our mission which is to offer an eclectic, high-quality and creative menu, all at a compelling value-proposition for our patrons. Our code is simple: Offer a craft-casual culinary experience that prides itself on delivering unique and creative choices featuring the freshest ingredients that speak to both modern and traditional tastes-and have a lot of fun in the process! There will never be a microwave in our kitchen! Swing on by and say hi—listen for some Dead or Reggae on the Box and look for some happy people—at that point, you’ll know you’ve found us.