Shore Things: Food

Sun, beach and food. Those three things have been driving droves of visitors to the shore for years. Check out these staple eateries and unique spots to grab some grub.

Baker Boys in Ocean Grove.
Photo by Christopher Villano.


Long Branch
This spring, the accomplished beachfront brasserie in Pier Village got a new executive chef, Dominique Filoni, formerly of Savona in Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania, where Food & Wine named him one of America’s best new chefs of 2004. A native of St. Tropez, France, Filoni has a Mediterranean sensibility, in evidence on Avenue’s new summer menu. (23 Ocean Ave, 732-759-2900,

Backyard Restaurant
Stone Harbor
Some experienced Jersey diners consider this the most romantic restaurant in the Garden State. Appropriately, it’s all about the backyard garden, which includes a grape arbor, lush vegetation, beautiful hanging baskets, a gazebo, and a glassed-in garden room. The service is top-notch. Romantic? Yes. For the kids? No. (220 81st St, 609-368-2627)

Baker Boys
Ocean Grove
With cupcakes reminiscent of those created at Manhattan’s Magnolia Bakery, Baker Boys sells memorable morsels—from snickerdoodle cookies to slices of blueberry pie to sticky buns to Rice Krispie treats. The cheerful two-year-old shop also serves a selection of coffees, teas, and hot chocolate. A glass of ice-cold milk (you’ll want one) is $1. (69 Main Ave, Ocean Grove; Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park,

Clam Hut
The only thing missing is Jimmy Buffet. Now in it’s fourth season, the Clam Hut boasts amazing views of Sandy Hook and the harbor from outdoor seating over the water. You can arrive by land or sea. Clams are served in every imaginable style, including on the half-shell, steamers, fire-roasted, and drunken. Or you can challenge the chef with your own recipe. The Hut also serves New England style lobster rolls and Maryland crab cakes, as well as local fave shrimp tropicale (with mango, pineapple, oranges, onions, and peppers), and fettucini del mar (pasta with shrimp, scallops, clams, and crabmeat in a light Pernod cream sauce with wilted spinach). (1 Atlantic St, 732-291-CLAM,

Curley’s Fries
Since the 1970s, vacationers have stood in line to enjoy these chunky, robust crinkle-cut fries. Curley’s cooks farm-fresh, number-one Idaho potatoes in 100% peanut oil (no additives) to make them crispy and flavorful. The two Curley’s locations serve in three sizes: regular ($4.95), bucket ($5.95), and barrel ($7.95). Curley’s also features funnel cakes with apple or cherry toppings and signature drinks called Shake-Ups, which are made from fresh lemon or orange juice (squeezed while you watch), water, sugar, and ice. (Morey’s Surfside Pier, 25th and Boardwalk, North Wildwood; Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier, Schellenger & Boardwalk, Wildwood, 609- 522-3900)

Doris & Ed’s
The view of Sandy Hook Bay begins on the far side of a dreary parking lot, and the big, 100-year-old, white house, while well cared for, is a staid relic of a starchier time. (We could swear that the dining room floor sags ever so slightly toward the window side.) But there is no gainsaying the freshness of the seafood and other provisions or the kitchen’s deft touch, especially in preparing items from the engaging “Shore Today” side of the menu. All this and a choice of 315 different wines. (348 Shore Dr, 732-872-1565)

Hoffman’s Ice Cream
Point Pleasant Beach
Spring Lake Heights
This is not for the lactose intolerant. Or those on a diet. The portions at Hoffman’s are enormous: $2.85 will get you a double scoop of one of their signature flavors. Pick from creamsicle, caramel-nut cluster, espresso-mocha chunk, and dozens more. The wait is often long during the after-dinner rush, but well worth it. Friendly, fresh-faced scoopers keep the line moving. (800 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, 732-892-0270; 569 Church St, Spring Lake Heights, 732-974-2253)

Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties
Point Pleasant Beach
Sea Girt
A favorite with locals, Joe Leone’s has a huge selection of gourmet take-out (think veal scaloppini stuffed with sausage and black rice, or poached salmon with cucumber-dill cream) and fresh-baked Italian breads. Specials change daily; those in the know arrive early, before the afternoon dinner rush. (400 Rt 35 South, Point Pleasant Beach, 732-701-0001; 527 Washington Blvd, Sea Girt, 732-681-1036)

Kohr’s, the Original
Seaside Heights
For their debut on Coney Island in 1919, the Kohr brothers sold 18,000 cones at a nickel each. Now, Kohr’s Original, serving frozen custard, ice cream, orangeade, and milkshakes, is a Jersey Shore icon, with three locations on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. There are tons of flavors, including the signature orange cream swirl. (Seaside Heights Boardwalk, 732-793-1414,

Max’s Famous Hot Dogs
Long Branch
Although Long Branch has changed dramatically, one thing that has stayed the same for 81 years is the namesake dog served at Max’s Famous—an 80 percent beef, 20 percent pork, quarter-pound, foot-long Schickhaus frank. That was the dog Max Altman served on the Long Branch pier in 1928, and the dog Milford Maybaum stuck with after buying out Altman in 1950. And it is the crackly, griddled dog served today by the Maybaum family (including Maybaum’s widow, Celia, known as Mrs. Max) in the present 200-seat location. (25 Matilda Terrace at Ocean Blvd, 732-571-0248,

Midway Steak House
Seaside Heights
Oh, Midway, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee for thy better-than-Philly cheese steaks and thy sugar-covered funnel cakes. I love thee for thy rotating sign of yellow and green—a beacon on the boardwalk scene. Thy cheese fries, meatballs, Italian sausages, hot dogs, and burgers do delight; likewise thy bright, dazzling glow at night. Coke and fresh lemonade quench my thirst; for all these reasons Midway ranks first. (499 Boardwalk, 732-793-6617)

Mueller’s Bakery
Bay Head
It’s not unusual for Sunday-morning lines to spill onto the sidewalk. No worries, though. The talkative crowd—this is the place to catch up on weekend doings—gets served by friendly, patient workers who dish up a wide assortment of pastries, doughnuts, breads, and the ever-popular crumb cake. Come back après-beach for a gigantic character-faced cookie (Elmo is a favorite) or a fresh fruit pie. (80 Bridge Ave, 732-892-0442)

Patio Bar at Jack Baker’s Wharfside
Point Pleasant Beach
The Patio Bar at Jack Baker’s Wharfside is about as close as you’ll come to a tropical island on the Shore. Sip a frozen daiquiri and watch the fishing boats glide up the inlet surrounded by seagulls. Enjoy the raw bar or order from the reasonably priced menu—the fish burrito is a favorite. Nightly entertainment varies from a get-up-and-dance party band to a sit-back-and-watch-the-sunset soloist. It’s the perfect late afternoon setting, with or without kids. (101 Channel Dr, 732-892-9100)

Skipper Dipper
Peahala Park
You may have to stand in the infamous line that wraps around the outdoor wooden deck on hot summer nights, but you will soon see why this LBI establishment is worth the wait. It’s all about the ice cream—50 hard and soft flavors, to be exact. This summer you can check out the new turtle sundae and, for the first time, pay by credit card, says owner Dave Powitz, who began his scooping career at age 14 when Skipper Dipper opened in 1978. There is also a life-size cutout of the Skipper himself—perfect for a family vacation photo. (9305 Long Beach Island Blvd, Peahala Park, 609-492-9680,

Surf Taco
Point Pleasant Beach
With arguably the biggest burritos on the Jersey Shore, Surf Taco opened in Point Pleasant in 2001 and has expanded to seven other shore locations. Your first time? Try the Mavericks burrito, loaded with chicken, steak, or beef, with rice and beans, cheddar, lettuce, sour cream, and in-house Pico de Gallo salsa. And don’t miss the garlic shrimp. (1300 Richmond Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, 732-701-9000; other locations in Manasquan, Seaside Park, Belmar, Silverton, Jackson, Lacey, and Long Branch;

Union Landing Restaurant and Marina
This hidden treasure on the Manasquan River is just the spot for outdoor cocktails and seafood minus the crowds and noise of beachside tiki bars. The UL (for those in the know) is a seasonal staple for boaters, who arrive at the dock in the back and stroll up to the patio. The dining room opens at 4:30 pm, seven days a week; the patio opens at noon. (622 Green Ave, 732-528-6665)

When you do decide to head to the beach, consult our 2009 Summer Beach Guide for beach badge prices, parking information and exit numbers (if you don’t know them by heart). Click here to view the beach guide (PDF format)

Click on the links below to read the different categories of our 100 Shore Things Guide:

Family Fun



Great Outdoors


Atlantic City’s Shore Things

Asbury Park’s Shore Things

Click on the links below to read more in-depth articles about Shore destinations and developments:

Will Tough Times Yield Good Deals? A Gaming Resort Tries to Look Beyond the Recession

Touching All the Bases: Lakewood’s Minor League BlueClaws Have Become A Major Hit

Wave Master: Brian Wynn Is The Go-To Guy For Custom Surfboards on the Shore

Boardwalk Into Controvesy: Wildwood’s Apparent Use of Rain-Forest Wood Irks Environmentalists

Wrecking Crew: Seeking Sunken Treasures (Or Just a Few Fish) in Jersey’s Chilly Coastal Waters

Cape May’s Sparkling Stones: Cape May "Diamonds"?

Come As You Are Bars: Flip-Flops and a Bathing Suit Are Not Problem At These Hot Spots on the Beach

Greetings From Asbury Park (Again): Amid Economic Slowdown, A Legendary Shore Town Awaits the Fruits of Redevelopment

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