Food and Wine Magazine : Ocean City is Top Dessert Town in America

first_imgBy TIM KELLYDon’t forget to leave room for dessert.Apparently Ocean City has no issues with that age old admonition of moms, bakers and restaurant servers .A Dallas-based data research company named Infogroup has named Ocean City as the nation’s “number one dessert town” in an article published recently by Food and Wine Magazine.The company analyzed its database of what it said were more than 15 million business records to determine the towns and cities with the greatest concentration of dessert shops nationwide. OC came out on top by a wide margin.The survey revealed the per-capita number of places to buy desserts in Ocean City was twice that of its closest competitor, the town of Barnstable, Massachusetts.“I think it’s just great,” Jody Levchuk, proprietor of Jilly’s Candy Factory, 1040 Boardwalk said. “I’m really not that surprised.  WeThe “candy wall” at Jilly’s Candy Factory is a go-to Boardwalk destination. Photo Credit: JASM ConsultingInfogroup defined “dessert-based” shops as businesses selling one or more of the following: ice cream, donuts, candy and bakery products. It said Ocean City boasts 12 such businesses per 10,000 people, to the Massacusetts town’s six.“I’m a Philly girl so I love Ocean City,” said Zohray Brennan, Infogroup’s director of content marketing. “It’s Boardwalk is magical.”Apparently the ability to buy dessert products there as well as along the Asbury Avenue business corridor is a big part of the magic.Levchuk said competition exists among the various categories of dessert shops, which helps each business to raise its game. “I have direct competitors who are more like friends,” he said.  “We talk about things like the seagulls or the crowds.  But we take note of what is working for each other and I think it makes us all better.”Rauhauser’s candy store has been a fixture on Asbury Avenue since 1965.“It’s not just candy or donuts or other deserts. It’s pizza, it’s fries.  I laugh sometimes when people ask me where’s the best place for breakfast.  I could rattle off a half dozen and each one is great in its own right.  That’s a big reason why everyone keeps coming back to visit and why (businesses) stay here. These days even many of the seasonal businesses are staying open right through October.”Already named the top beach town in America, New Jersey’s best beach and America’s happiest beachside town in separate independent surveys, Ocean City can now lay claim to the top prize for lovers of after-dinner and between-meal treats.The numbers don’t lie. “Data is data,” Brennan said. “It’s how we look at the data” that determines such rankings, she stated.In taking the crown as top dessert town, Ocean City also beat out some regional contenders. The database defines its towns as “metropolitan statistical areas” or MSA’s which in some cases includes more than one municipality.The remainder of the top 10 were tied with four shops per 10,000 residents. They include Norwich-New London, Conn., Longview, Texas; Salisbury, Md. and surrounding areas of Delaware; Portland and South Portland, Maine; Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island; Tyler, Texas; Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Conn., and Texarkana Texas and nearby parts of Arkansas.“The nearest ranking New Jersey town or MSA is Atlantic City, which ranked 25th,” Brennan said, and added “New Jersey is number one” in the state rankings.Shriver’s Salt Water Candy has been on the boardwalk in Ocean City since 1898.Lest anyone think Ocean City’s top spot was skewed by using its year-round population of approximately 12,000, that was not the case, Brennan said. The study was based on a population sample size of 92,560, much closer to the number of people living in town during the tourism season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.Brennan said Infogroup identified 69,462 shops as dessert-based, amid a database of nearly 8 million businesses overall.When the numbers were crunched, the results were clear: Ocean City has earned yet another national bragging right.“The best dessert town in the whole country,” Levchuk said. “I like the sound of that.”Ocean City locals even have an annual “Tour de Donut” event each summer to rank the best donuts in town. Carl Wanek and Christine Fassman are shown leading the way, as the judges bike through town. Ice cream cones are a Boardwalk staple and only one of the many choices that earned Ocean City the title of America’s top dessert town, according to a new study published in Food and Wine Magazine. Photo Credit: JASM Consultinglast_img read more