By Collin Hall
AVALON – Shay Roddy has worked at the Whitebriar in Avalon for 14 years, nearly half his life. If you’ve stopped by one of the Whitebriar’s bars over the last decade, you might have seen his face, tan as mud in the summer and sometimes red as a beet from the sun.
“What can I say, I’m at the beach almost every day I have off work,” he told the Herald on a busy Friday afternoon, just before the DJ started playing and patrons swarmed the dancefloor.
Shay hails from Bucks County, PA, but has called Avalon home for the past five or so years. He visited the Whitebriar with his family for the occasional late-afternoon dinner and applied when he was 16 years old for a summer job.
“There’s something at the Whitebriar for everyone,” Shay said. The ‘Octopuses’ Garden’ area offers fancy outdoor seating with beautifully pruned greenery. The inside has an upscale dining room where folks can order a high-end dinner. And the nightclub area has a small dancefloor with live DJ most summer nights.
Shay is as experienced a bartender as anybody his age could possibly be. But his real passion lies in journalism. In the off-season, Shay works as an investigative reporter for the Cape May County Herald – he helped break many stories that would later make national headlines.
He was the first to report on the mayor of Wildwood pleading guilty to tax fraud in Federal Court and was the first to report on a now-closed state investigation into three Wildwood city officials.
Between his bartending job, which brings in a wide cast of characters including the occasional Eagles player, and his work as a journalist, Shay has formed a network of connections all around the county.
Though he now reports ‘hard news,’ an industry term for breaking news, Shay was once a sportswriter. He attended Arizona State to pursue a career in sports writing, and started his own sports news site, “Fanadelphia,” while he was still in high school.
But during the summers, Shay goes full bartending mode. He whipped up one of his favorite drinks for a hot summer day, the “cucumber cooler.” The drink, clear as water, is made of cucumber vodka, club soda, lime juice, simple syrup, and pieces of fresh cucumber and mint to garnish.
If you’re in Avalon, give Shay a visit at the Whitebriar. Tell him Do the Shore sent you!