New Restaurants to Check Out Down the Shore This Summer

Newcomers in Long Branch, Asbury Park, Ship Bottom and more.

Photo courtesy of Dune 18

—Marc and Virginia Zanone had planned on having two restaurants going in the space that’s now occupied by Dune 18. But diners seem happy to have the new spot (formerly occupied by DaVinci’s and Gregory’s). And why shouldn’t they: they’re doing dinner five days a week, 5–9:30pm, with a classic Shore-meets-cosmopolitan flair menu (you’re dining outside, but it’ll feel like a night out in more ways than one). Think dishes like Maine Lobster Flatbread with Sauteed Onions and Gouda, Thai Pineapple Pork Chops with a Red Curry Mash, and Mediterranean Swordfish with Kalamata Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Fried Capers. In case you’re concerned about what outdoor dining looks like, the space is ample (though reservations are recommended. Dune 18, 1916 Long Beach Boulevard in Ship Bottom; 609-494-3354

—If you can get “waterfront” into your outdoor dining, consider yourself lucky—and go do it. Here’s another option to add to the roster of no doubt-packed places: The Waterfront in Forked River is sort of a conglomeration of a few different vibes, including a courtyard on the lower level, a 60-seat outdoor bar, and a rooftop deck “Luminary Lounge” bringing some panache to your view of the Forked River. Beyond the view itself, you can look at any number of musical acts (they’re booked through July and likely into August). More of a “going out” spot than a fine dining type of night, but lots of fun with gasropub-meets-Shore dishes like Street Corn Quesadilla, Fish Tacos with Mango Chutney and Jicama Slaw, and baskets of things like Atlantic Cod Fish & Chips or Deep Fried Local Sea Scallops. Open from 11am to 9pm daily (the bar stays open until 10pm). The Waterfront, 361 East Lacey Road, Forked River; 609-888-6063

—So far it’s a summer thing (not a permanent “opening”) for Eric Morris of Local 130, but we’re hoping his pop-up at The Butcher Block in Long Branch is so successful he’ll pop up again come fall. The sustainable seafood purveyor is still doing home delivery as well as retail out of their Asbury Park store, but if you’re looking for fresh local seafood right now, you’ll have to check out Morris’s pop-up restaurant. You can order from a changing roster of Local 130 fresh catch (Lobster Rolls will likely be a mainstay) or order from The Butcher Block’s own self-styled outdoor “Parlor” menu itself, with seating available Thursday through Sunday, 4pm to 10pm. The Butcher Block, 235 West Avenue, Long Branch; 732-795-3903; Local 130 Seafood (retail), 1305 Memorial Drive in Asbury Park; 732-455-3951

—Also in Long Branch, Offshore Coffee Roasters was able to open in mid-June, pandemic or no. The brainchild of three java-loving friends with a roaster in one of their parents’ basements (Jason Fernandez, Jack Campbell and Ross Mackay), the brick-and-mortar space began with a goal to do house-roasted coffee right and ended up with a small café menu doing locally-sourced breakfast and lunch, too. The food menu is simple and fresh (think overnight oats, avocado toast) and the coffee/drinks menu is obsessed-over and on point (iced lattes, of course, iced matcha, nitro cold brew, traditional cold brew, not to mention specially-roasted coffees available for purchase by the pound). Fun fact: the space used to be Turntable Record Shop, frequented by an adorably scruffy young Boss. Offshore Coffee Roasters, 57 Brighton Avenue, Long Branch; 732-908-3105

Boca Loca Vegan Food wants to make sure you know you can still have fun (and eat healthy) this summer down the Shore. The Asbury Park restaurant opened its doors with an unabashed positive attitude and a funky menu of Latin vegan food (try the Picarones or Peruvian donuts). The funny thing about the restaurant is it’s “remote,” meaning they don’t have a brick and mortar just yet but work out of a professional kitchen and deliver your food right to you. You can still order from 6–10pm, Thursday through Sunday, for pick-up—meaning your weekend could be overflowing with La Luna Arepa Sandwich, with guacamole, refried beans, and cashew chipotle aioli or the Ultimate Chimichanga, with seasoned tofu, fajita veggies, guacamole, beans, and cashew queso. Order online or call with questions. Boca Loca Vegan, Asbury Park; 732-984-9698

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