Generally speaking, restaurants come and go like the tides. However, in the Atlantic City area, the Dougherty family has been serving fine quality food for over 120 years. “Consistent,” “friendly,” and “delicious” are only a few words that customers use to describe their restaurants. Whether Dock’s Oyster House (opened in 1897), Knife & Fork Inn, or the Linwood Country Club, the world-renown culinary brand has become an Atlantic City icon. Rather than rest on their impressive laurels, the family introduced their latest venture in 2021 – Dougherty’s Steakhouse.
A Culinary Journey
According to Maureen Shay, owner, the quest to open a steakhouse began about 15 years ago. While investigating options in town, Mack Latz, former owner of the Knife & Fork, approached the Dougherty’s with an unexpected offer. Shay explains, “The Knife & Fork Inn is such an iconic and beautiful building, we could not pass up the opportunity. Because Dock’s Oyster House had such a focus on seafood, the Knife & Fork became more of a steak & seafood restaurant when it opened in 2005.”
As a result, the steakhouse idea went on the back burner (pun intended). Since good things come to those who wait, the Dougherty’s eventually found a location for their next restaurant - in the Resorts Hotel and Casino. The classic building fits perfectly with their vision for fine dining in Atlantic City.
In addition, the location epitomizes Dougherty's deep roots in the community.
According to Shay, “The hotel itself is a beautiful representation of Atlantic City’s history, which we are doing our best to preserve and celebrate. And the Resorts team could not have been more supportive throughout the process.”
So, what can customers expect from Dougherty’s Steakhouse? The answer is easy - the same emphasis on quality ingredients and fresh preparations found in the other Dougherty restaurants. You also will find warm and friendly staff regardless of which venue you select. Shay and the rest of the Dougherty family want all guests “…to feel like a local the minute you walk in the door” – whether the door is at Dock’s, Knife & Fork, Linwood Country Club, and now The Steakhouse. All of their culinary team members are extremely knowledgeable, and they care – a trait that customers immediately experience at all of their restaurants.
Whether the new steakhouse or the tried-and-true locations, Shay wants her guests “…to be wowed by the food and the service. We want them to enjoy the ambiance, and feel comfortable and welcome the minute they arrive. We want them to leave feeling like they have made new friends and can’t wait to come back.”
Something for Everyone
Because of the unique layout of the room, the Steakhouse is almost like two restaurants in one. For example, if you are out for a casual evening, try the bright and airy experience at the Raw Bar. Open for lunch and through the evening, the 32-seat Raw Bar is a go-to place to pop in for lunch, happy hour, or dinner, or just grab a drink – all without reservations. Happy Hour is a draw offering a variety of half-priced appetizers and drink specials every day from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. And, you can watch your $1.25 oysters and $1.00 clams shucked right before your eyes at The Raw Bar! In addition, enjoy live music while you dine Thursday through Saturday nights.
If you are looking for a more intimate and sophisticated evening, the atmosphere at the Steakhouse suits your needs. The dining room offers more of a classic, steakhouse feel with dark woods and rich finishes that speak to the history of Resorts (formerly the classic Chalfonte-Haddon Hall). The menu is quite impressive from a variety of steaks to fish and seafood options. And, the answer to the burning question that many loyal customers have asked, Shay confirms, “Yes, we are bringing Joe’s Cheese Pie to Dougherty’s!”
On the Menu
To start your meal at Dougherty’s, try the Grande or Royale Seafood Tower appetizers - three tiers of freshly shucked oysters and clams, shrimp cocktail, whole Maine lobster, tuna tartare, king crab, colossal crab meat, and all the accompaniments. These towers showcase the raw bar aspect of the restaurant.
Without a doubt, the signature dish is the Bone-In Ribeye – an enormous, in size and flavor, 38-ounce Tomahawk style cut.
Very impressive in looks and taste.
Another Steakhouse entree, taken to the next level at Dougherty’s, is the Wagyu Carpaccio - raw Wagyu beef sliced paper-thin and paired with truffle pecorino, baby arugula, and charred piquillo pepper. For something shareable, Dougherty’s Charcuterie & Cheese Board is not only beautifully presented, but also delicious and satisfying. Guests rave about the combination of cheeses and meats along with the sweet and savory garnishments.
Not a meat-eater? No worries. The Wedge Salad, with crisp iceberg topped with (or without) bacon, chives, red onion, and bleu cheese dressing is a classic combination. The Tuna Poke Bowl is a popular choice - raw chunks of ahi grade tuna, garnished with edamame and radish, atop perfectly cooked black rice, and dressed with just the right amount of sesame aioli to allow the freshness of the tuna to shine. For something a little lighter, the salmon is a must - cooked perfectly with a slight crust while remaining tender and moist inside, along with the zucchini, corn, and orzo salad.
Harry “Dock” Dougherty, the founder, is hopefully smiling down on his great-grandchildren thinking how far the business has come from the neighborhood restaurant he created well over a century ago. For generations, the family has participated, first hand, in Atlantic City’s dining revolution.
What’s next for the culinary dynasty?
Shay sums up the family’s goals, “We will continue to be a foodie’s destination, with some fun gambling and entertainment to round it out. We are in the Atlantic City game for the long haul!”