Home Latest Stories Popular Ocean City Pizzeria Reopens Under New Ownership

Popular Ocean City Pizzeria Reopens Under New Ownership

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Express Pizza and Subs is a mainstay for residents in the north end of Ocean City. (Photo courtesy of TJ Heist)

By MADDY VITALE

When Ocean City resident and businessman Chris Monihan learned that his favorite local pizza place, Express Pizza and Subs, was closing its doors, he made a call.

“It was late spring, April. We had heard that there was a deal with someone to buy it, but the deal fell through,” Monihan said in an interview. “It’s a north end staple. Our family and our friends all eat here. There’s nothing really else in the Gardens or in the north end of Ocean City.”

That’s when he enlisted his good friend and fellow businessman, Ocean City resident and entrepreneur TJ Heist.

“I asked him if he wanted to take it on,” Monihan explained.

Heist said absolutely.

Like Monihan, Heist called Express Pizza and Subs a “staple.”

“This restaurant has been around for more than 20 years,” Heist said. “It is a staple of Ocean City and a staple of the north end of Ocean City that everybody loves.”

Chef Mike Fitzick slices the signature Express Pizza pie.

Monihan and Heist worked together on how to reopen the restaurant, which was closed since October of 2022.

“It was up in the air if it would get open this year,” Heist recalled. “We were glad we could come in and get it open for the season.”

They made it happen.

“It’s been fun seeing all the locals come back in and get the pizzas and cheesesteaks that they love so much,” Heist said.

The restaurant reopened to what Monihan and Heist called a “soft opening” at the end of June. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Customers can dine in, pick up or have their food delivered. They can also order online.

What the business partners found was that the best way to run a new business is to look to the former business owners’ successful business model and follow it.

The former management had also remodeled the restaurant inside and out a couple of years ago and it looked so good that it was left untouched, they said.

Customers stop by to order. (Photo courtesy of TJ Heist)

They kept the menu, all the same ingredients, and the staff. They even brought back the former chef under the old owners, Mike Fitzick, who worked there 12 years ago.

“I just deliver what they ask for and I put my own spin on some stuff,” Fitzick, who worked as a chef in a Linwood eatery and in Philadelphia prior to returning to Express Pizza and Subs.

Among the favorite selections for customers are the pizzas, the burgers, and the Philly cheesesteaks. Fitzick has also incorporated some of his specialty pies, including a deep-dish delight.

The team is also made up of local high schoolers and young people who summer in the resort.

While there are not any openings currently, they are always looking for “good pizza makers,” and anyone interested should apply.

Ava Ruh, an Ocean City High School student, left, and Sarah Zamrowski, a summer resident, work at the counter.

The hope is for the momentum to keep growing for the neighborhood eatery.

“The goal is to keep it open year-round,” Heist said.

“Weekends get crazy busy in here,” Monihan said. “We are lucky to have good managers and employees in place who have been here for a while.”

And it looks like the community is pleased at the return of Express Pizza and Subs.

Joan Jablonoski, head of catering for the eatery, said she sees it firsthand.

“It is nice that they keep it all local,” she said of Heist and Monihan. “I am glad to be a part of it. The community seems really happy about it, too.”

Express Pizza and Subs is located at 719 Battersea Road in Ocean City. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (609) 398-3322 or to check out the menu and order online visit expresspizzaocnj.com.

There is an array of entrees to choose from. (Photo courtesy of TJ Heist)