New Shore Spots and Other Openings

Mr. Shrimp expands in Belmar, Cuatros Amigos cooks Mexican in Secaucus.

Staffers are training this week, a sign is up over the entryway, and hopes are high that the “coolest” opening of the season will happen…tomorrow, the start of Memorial Day Weekend, when Nicholas Creamery is expected to begin scooping its small-batch artisan ice cream at 84 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands.

“Hoping for Friday”—as in May 25—is the latest word from the team behind Nicholas Creamery, Melissa and Nicholas Harary, who also own and operate Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown.

Posted hours for June are Monday through Friday, 3 to 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 pm. Phone: 732-204-2340;


In other Shore restaurant-opening news:

* Proving Ground, the restaurant/bar taking hold of the old Windansea space at 56 Shrewsbury Avenue in Highlands, is booking entertainment for the summer—and locals are talking about an early June opening. “See you this summer”  the message states on Proving Ground’s phone; 732-872-2266.

* Mr. Shrimp, that dine-in/take-out/fish market stalwart of the Jersey Shore, has expanded and relocated—slightly. The original Mr. Shrimp, a shack on Route 35 in Wall, moved some 15 years ago to a new building on Route 71 in Belmar. As it outgrew its square footage, owner Vincent Petruzziello decided to take over more space at the complex at 1608 Route 71. The new addition includes a raw bar that seats 12, and a larger dining space that now accommodates more than 100. The fish market part of the operation has been shuffled to the rear of Mr. Shrimp, giving the dining room an open and airy look. There are hand-painted murals, a true vestibule where diners are welcomed, and more staff. Mr. Shrimp still has a traditional seafood-centric menu, is BYO and is open seven days a week. 732-681-7755;


Cuatros Amigos, 217 Route 3 East in Secaucus. Mexican. Lunch and dinner; bar. 201-552-2545.

In the works:

Apria Punjab Indian, 619 Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield. 973-337-5311. Lunch and dinner; BYO.

El Conuco, 455 Palisade Avenue in Cliffside Park. 201-945-9200.

Wingin’ It, 122 Ocean Avenue in Jersey City. Lunch and dinner. 862-241-7755.

Dona Eliza Deli, 297 Elm Street in Perth Amboy. Lunch and dinner. 732-709-8440.

Chit Chat Diner, 410 Eagle Rock Avenue in West Orange. Planned for the former Eagle Rock Diner space. Breakfast, lunch and dinner; bar. 201-820-4033;


A little more news:

Word on the street is that Altopiano, the highly anticipated Mediterranean/Italian restaurant from Humberto Campos, chef-owner of the beloved Lorena’s in Maplewood, now is slated to open late this year or early in 2019. Its address will be 5 Highland Place in Maplewood. Still planned are lunch and dinner service and a full bar.

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