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1250 Hooper Avenue, Toms River
Hours: Sun—Thurs, 11:30 am–10 pm; Fri and Sat, 11:30 am–11 pm. (Extended hours in summer months.) Pub until 2 am.
Style: This is the kind of place where three generations gather over heaping plates of traditional Italian food.
Don’t Miss: The something-for-everyone menu is heavy on pasta and chicken dishes. The family-style items include choice of salad, plus appetizer, pasta and entrée for $22.99 per person, served in generous portions, with the opportunity to go back for more. Start with the calamari tossed with fried hot peppers and tomatoes ($9.99). For entrées, house specialties include osso buco, a hearty braised pork shank served over polenta ($17.50); Italian mac and cheese, featuring rigatoni blended with provolone, reggiano, ricotta and mozzarella ($13.99). Lighter fare includes paninis, salads and a selection of oven-grilled pizzas.
Heads Up: There’s a large, U-shaped bar, and a four-season porch with comfy sofas and a mesmerizing gas fireplace—a cozy spot for a glass of wine from the extensive selection.
The Scoop: Located directly across the street from the Ocean County Mall, Tuscan House is a far better alternative to the food court, and kids eat free until 6 pm on Saturdays.