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Serving Homemade Meals Inspired by “Nonna”, Pompeo’s Aims To Please


Rich Merlino always visited the shore with his family as a child. As a Philadelphia native with a large family in the food service industry, Merlino always had aspirations to bring his Nonna’s recipes to the beach. Now for the second season, Pompeo’s will open its doors at 17th and Boardwalk aiming to please families of the area with traditional recipes made well.


Their initial opening in 2020 was decreased due to the pandemic, making 2021 the official launch of Pompeo’s. Many changes have been made to the business from the previous owner including some decor upgrades, progressive menu items, and a brand new sign featuring a modern logo.


“I know the island had a need for good food and a place where families can enjoy homemade meals,” said Merlino. “My wife and I wanted to bring our experience in food service to the shore and Pompeo’s was the perfect place for us to do that. Everyone remembers Pompeo’s as a popular family stop during vacations back in the day. Now with our additions, guests will be able to enjoy a higher quality meal with the same family feeling”


Pompeo’s opened in 1978 by John and Rhonda Klug. For years the restaurant pleased guests on the boardwalk serving breakfast and dinner. Visitors of Wildwood remember dining at Pompeo’s in their childhood, including Merlino. In the 90’s the menu was reduced to breakfast only and by 2016 the restaurant was left vacant. In 2020, Rich and his wife Liz set out to bring back the iconic restaurant with an improved menu.


Everything at Pompeo’s is homemade, including their signature dish of pasta. Open daily starting Memorial Day, the restaurant will serve Italian American breakfast and dinner plates with some elevated dinner specials. Merlino knows quality is important.


In addition to updating the menu, Pompeo’s now also features a gourmet coffee bar called Cafe Mila. Named after Rich and Liz’s daughter, Cafe Mila will serve high quality Lavazza coffee products, healthy alternative meals like smoothies, yogurts, and juices, and refreshing ice cream snacks. Cafe Mila will be available to any guests coming off the boardwalk or dining in house.


Pompeo’s doesn’t just offer delicious food. Their priceless views of the ocean make for a fantastic dining experience with the family or as a date night for couples. Tables line the boardwalk in season making Pompeo’s the perfect place to watch the ocean, see the boardwalk traffic or ride up on a bicycle.


“We are a family here and we want to extend that home feeling to our customers,” said Merlino. “I really am thankful to have this restaurant and to show my daughter the meaning of hardwork. We want to live up to the saying ‘the best breakfast and dinner on the boards’ as the original owner did for decades.”

Pompeo’s is located on 17th and Boardwalk in North Wildwood. Current hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM-12 PM. Mother’s Day weekend will also feature dinner from 5 PM-9 PM. Starting Memorial Day, Pompeo’s will be open daily from 7:30 AM-1:30 PM and 5:30 PM-9 PM or later. For the most up to date information, follow Pompeo’s on social media @pompeosnww or visit their website pompeoswildwood.com


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