Shore destination: Avalon, N.J.
Facts: Madden met his wife, Celeste, 12 years ago on 15th Street beach.
Eating out: “There’s nothing like the smell of pancakes, scrapple and the ocean at Fishing Pier Grille (32nd Street and the Boardwalk, Avalon, 609-967-8144). I love the feel of everyone sitting on top of each other—like you’re one big family. For lunch, a favorite is Giovanni’s Deli (4309 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City, 609-263-7684). I worked there for three summers in college. They have amazing hoagies, meatball and sausage sandwiches, and imported cheeses. The Ciro family treated me like a member of their family. “I like everything about the Diving Horse (2109 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-368-5000, thedivinghorseavalon.com). Owner Dan Clark also runs Pub & Kitchen in Philly, and he really knows what it takes to provide a great exper-ience. Not an easy reservation, but they deserve the crowds. Café Loren (2288 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-8228, cafeloren.com) is an amazingly consistent restaurant, where great food meets great service, delivered by a familiar, highly professional staff.”
Traditions: “Hanging on 15th Street beach with my wife, son Gavin, daughter Bianca and the very large Madden family. I’m one of six, and there’s no shortage of kids among us. There’s nothing like being there after the lifeguards are gone. I’ll whip up some Monkeyman Punch and enjoy the golden hour as the sun sets. Nice break for surfing, also.”
Eating in: “Busch’s (8700 Landis Ave., Sea Isle City, 609-263-8626, buschsseafood.com), hands down—especially on Sundays, one of only two days a week they make their famous she-crab soup. I’ll go there with my dad, brothers and brothers-in-law, and have an ice-cold Bud at a bar that’s so old-school Jersey Shore, you expect Sinatra to walk in at some point and light up.”
Kids’ stuff: “I love taking them to Maryanne Pastry Shoppe (108 44th St., Sea Isle City, 609-263-3814). Driving over the bridge, blasting music and, on the way back, stopping at Townsends Inlet beach. Another favorite is Gillian’s Funland (304 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Sea Isle City, 609-263-1363).”
Rainy-day distraction: “Going to the Concord Cafe (7800 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-368- 5505, concordcafe.net). Phillies games are always on, and their burgers are fantastic.”
Place to grab a drink: “My family’s deck on 15th Street, whether after the beach or late at night. Thoughts of the Madden deck are what get me through the winter. We’ve been there since 1980, so friends know they can stop by and have a cocktail in their hands in no time.”
Shopping: “Surfers Supplies (3101 Asbury Ave., Ocean City, 609-399-8399, surferssupplies.com) is the best surf shop around, whether you’re a rookie or a pro. The vibe is always relaxed. I also like Hassis (2809 Dune Drive, Avalon, 609-967-3234, hassismensshop.com), especially their infamous end-of-summer sale. My dad is a pro at navigating among the deal-seekers.