The fire-damaged eatery is undergoing renovations. By Maddy VitaleThe Northend Beach Grill, tucked in the powdery sands in the upscale Gardens section of Ocean City, will once again provide great company and good food for locals and visitors, the owners said.Owners Angelo DiBartolo and Jim Aller were forced to shut down the beloved eatery, nestled between mammoth houses and a nearby dune line, when a fire broke out July 20, 2018.“Our intention is to be open the weekend before Memorial Day. We are excited to be back,” DiBartolo said Wednesday. “It has been a long winter. My winter started July 20. It was exhausting and a sad end to the summer. We miss everybody and want to get back into our routine.”DiBartolo and Aller lease the building from the property’s owner, Vince Hubach. DiBartolo said the renovations appear to be going smoothly at the restaurant, located at 9 Beach Road. The plan is to offer good food and ambiance to residents and visitors who have loved the breakfast nook for years.The thought of dunes obstructing the breathtaking views, a major feature to the hut-like building, is a concern, though.Once the dunes are finished the eatery will lose its ocean views, but not its charm.Ocean City used its power of eminent domain to acquire an easement a few years ago for the area in front of the restaurant to build up its dune line. The dunes protect the neighborhood in that area of Beach Road, except for the portion in front of the Northend Beach Grill.But the city plans to extend the dune line to close the gap in front of the grill. The restaurant, in turn, will eventually lose its unobstructed view of the ocean.Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection are expected to visit the site in early April.“We’ll know more details about plans for beach renourishment and dune maintenance after that meeting,” Bergen noted. “The dunes, I believe, will come when we get sand from the Army Corps next winter.”DiBartolo, an Ocean City High School history teacher, said he and Aller completely understand the importance of the dunes.“I am all about preserving history,” DiBartolo said. “I’m a history teacher. I totally understand the importance of dunes. I want them. But I hope they will make it as aesthetically appealing for the customers and the overall ambience of the place as possible and still allow a walkway.”Should the dunes take away one of the unique aspects of the eatery, there will still be more reasons for customers to come and enjoy good food and great people, he said.“You are still on the beach,” DiBartolo said. “Ultimately, we serve good food and our staff is the friendliest, nicest staff. It isn’t fancy food. It is just a fun place to go.”He and Aller are also considering some games that they may add to the restaurant to keep people amused and entertained, minus the beach views.“We have some ideas to offset the dunes,” DiBartolo said. “Maybe we will put up a cornhole game or another game in the front of the grill. We will make it work no matter what.”People check out the Northend Beach Grill two days after the July 20, 2018, fire left it severely damaged.