Ocean Grove Fire Destroys Dunes Boardwalk Cafe

On Saturday, a fire destroyed the North End Pavilion in Ocean Grove, which housed the Dunes Boardwalk Cafe food court.

Firefighters were still battling a fire at Dunes Boardwalk Café in Ocean Grove well into the evening. Photo by Shelby Vittek

On Saturday, April 13 at around 11:30 am, a five-alarm fire broke out beneath the North End Pavilion in Ocean Grove. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Firefighters from all over Monmouth and Ocean counties continued to battle the fire well into Sunday. Asbury Park firefighters sought measures to protect the Asbury Park Casino next door.

The building housed Dunes Boardwalk Cafe, a beachside food court that hadn’t yet opened for the season. It featured a variety of seasonal eateries: Playa Bowls, Summertime’s Salads & Subs, Burgers on the Boards, Day’s Ice Cream, the Crooked Snook, Bubbakoo’s Burritos, Eat Poke Bro, Luigi’s Pizza and America’s Cup Coffee & Tea Company. The food court was popular among families and beach goers during the summer season.

Only blackened timber bones remained after the fire, and several nearby shops were damaged as well. Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said the building is a total loss.

Smoky haze outside the Asbury Park Convention Center. Photo by Shelby Vittek

A heavy fog blanketed Asbury Park for most of Saturday, and smoke from the blaze was reportedly carried several miles north to other towns. The fire happened just a block away from a 2017 fire that damaged the La Pierre Condominiums and destroyed the former Warrington Hotel in Ocean Grove.

The landmark North End Pavilion, owned by the Gannon family, was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and it took the owners nearly three years to rebuild it.

“Dunes Boardwalk Cafe is a community that has grown over the past 4 years. It was a place for our beach community, that was built for families,” said Michele Gannon in a statement on Facebook. “We are devastated at the complete loss of the livelihood for hundreds of people. We are thankful for all those who worked for hours to keep our community safe.”

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