Two Mile Landing’s Rebirth – “A Grand and Beautiful Chaos”

Photos and story by Collin Hall

Meet the restaurateur is a feature series in Do the Shore that highlights important restaurants in Cape May County. We talk to the owners, learn their story, and share the history of some of the area’s most iconic eateries.

Lori Lane still remembers her first season at Two-Mile Landing, a massive restaurant that sits prominently on the Jarvis Sound between Wildwood Crest and Cape May. The sprawling property has been many things – an icehouse, a marina, a fishing pier, – but thanks to the hard work of the Hansen family, the iconic eatery hasn’t lost its luster in the 80 years since it was first built.  

A view of Diamond Beach and Wildwood Crest from the Two Mile Landing parking lot on a breezy April afternoon.  

There was a time when the future of Two Mile was uncertain. It sat empty for five years – between 2007 and 2012 – due to a failure of the restaurant’s concrete foundation. Lori said that at one time, there were plans to replace the old site with a condominium complex.  

The old owners, the DiAntonio family, were looking to sell, and the Hansen family had built a local name for themselves with the success of H&H Seafood Market in Cape May. The Hansens making the purchase would keep the restaurant local. Though they were deeply familiar with crabbing, this would be their first time as restaurateurs. 

You can’t miss the massive “Two Mile Landing” sign from Ocean Drive.  

“Restaurants are a tough business,” Lori said. Lori has worked alongside the Hansens since that grand reopening a decade ago and oversees the restaurant’s operations even today.  

“I’ll never forget that first season,” she said. “The public had a certain expectation of how Two Mile should look and how it should operate. It was a local institution and people were excited, but it was an all-new team, new managers who hadn’t worked together before, and owners we didn’t know very well. That first summer was a grand and beautiful chaos,” she told the Herald in her office, tucked away upstairs above the restaurant’s main dining area.  

The front building at Two Mile Landing as it waits for weekend guests to come flooding in.  

But just as that first season ended, Hurricane Sandy battered the New Jersey coast and washed away one of the large docks in the back of the property – it also damaged a back eating area where construction was finally taking place after a busy summer.  

Lori and her staff are no strangers to the perils of the ocean. Ashley Ziegler, a long-time manager, has many memories where she and the rest of the staff were stranded at Two-Mile because of tidal floods that swamp the property “just about every time we have a Nor’easter,” she said.  

One of these floods ruined their second-annual “crabs and crafts” fair, Lori said. “We were so excited about that event. We put so much effort and money into it. All of the staff arrived super early to set everything up, and we all got stuck here because the entrance was completely flooded.”  

The Two Mile Landing lot is massive – it’s hard to capture its breadth with a single photo.  

That entrance, a long gravel driveway that stretches hundreds of feet off Ocean Drive onto the wetlands, is part of what makes Two Mile an icon. A large statue of a blue-coated fisherman looks sternly at passers-by, and a large cutout of an orange crush mixed drink beckons onlookers to come have a sip.  

A 2022 article in Do the Shore called those orange crushes among the best in Cape May County. “That’s really true,” Ashely said. “We squeeze all of the orange juice fresh, all of the grapefruit fresh.”  

The watermelons used in the watermelon crushes are all grown at Horseshoe Crab Farm in Erma, also owned by the Hansen family. “All of the blackberries, asparagus, zucchini, squash, herbs, and many vegetables are grown locally by the Hansens,” Ashley said.  

Many of the meals at Two-Mile, including several of the lobster, black bass, and blue claw crab meals, use ingredients sourced in Cape May County. According to NOAA, Cape May County is the southernmost part of the American coast where lobsters can commonly be found. “All of the lobsters we serve are local,” Ashely said.   

Ashley remembered one summer when an ammonia leak from a nearby fishery forced guests to evacuate mid-meal. “People came out in hazmat suits, the fire brigade came, and everyone had to be carefully evacuated.” Ashely has seen many crazy things in her ten-year tenure. She has seen celebrities, including Phillies player Ryan Howard, Top Gun: Maverick star Miles Teller, and “Jersey Shore” star Sammy Sweetheart.  

“So many people come here that it can be overwhelming,” Lori said. Both Ashley and Lori stressed the absolute scale of Two-Mile’s operation. Lori, who has lived in Cape May County for decades, regrets that a ballooning housing market has made it ever more difficult to find the staff needed to run the place.  

The back portion of Two Mile Landing is a bustling fishing yard.  

“Our base pool of local employees is getting smaller and smaller because people can’t afford to live here anymore. A lot of us in my generation didn’t have money, but we squeezed together and made it work. I don’t really think that’s an option anymore,” she said. 

Still, Two-Mile Landing chugs along. It is a local icon, on a gorgeous piece of property so close to the Wetlands that it is hard to imagine it being built today. “The owners are salt of the earth, truly amazing people,” Lori said. “And every year, together, we all make it work.”  

Two Mile Landing is now open for the season. Visit the restaurant at 1 Fish Dock Rd. in Wildwood Crest. Give them a call at 609.522.1341, or visit them online at 

Gulls gather on the wetlands just next to Two Mile Landing.