The summer heat is on, especially in kitchens all around Monmouth County. There are many new faces who’ve just entered or are entering the menu of eateries to try and some of the summer’s biggest outdoor events and festivals to add to your calendar. Here’s the latest from our table to yours.
Ocean Township/Oakhurst is a hotbed of activity. Coming soon to the Orchard Plaza will be the new Coaches Restaurant, slated to open in early fall. There is also a new green grocer, farmers market store coming to the same plaza. The new Shopping Plaza on the north side of Route 35 on the Asbury Circle recently welcomed Pop’s Bagels, with a very New York assortment of flavored cream cheeses and a full sandwich menu. Just a little farther up the highway, Walter from Walt’s Delicatessen — home of some of the best salads, sandwiches and awesome chicken salad — welcomed a brand new baby boy, Sebastian, into his family on June third; Sebastian is a healthy Monmouth County resident at 20 inches, 7 pounds, 3 oz. Stop in and congratulate this hard-working daddy!
The former Mike & Nellie’s, which became M&N Steakhouse after a Chef Gordon Ramsey makeover, is set to re-open in August with a brand new name, chef/owner and style. Chef Umberto Turelli brings his Nuova Luna brand to this location. The BYOB restaurant will be a happening, with a freshly made menu of Italian comfort food with nothing on the menu over $20. He is also welcoming Joey B. Man of Many Voices as the house entertainment, along with cooking classes, catering and flaming tableside cooking, plus comedy, celebrity dinners, a fundraiser-dinner program and more. Several Grand Opening events are being planned. Check nuovaluna.com for more updates.
Just a little way up Route 35, on Industrial Way East, Grape Beginnings, the hands-on winery, just opened its doors, after completing a move from its former Freehold location. The new 6,000-square-foot winery will have winemaking and a brewery, plus a new olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottling along with open houses, wine tastings and party rooms.
The Cabana Club opened a few months earlier, just a couple blocks south of Pier Village. It offers sweeping ocean views, outdoor dining, entertainment and its own parking lot, plus this “club” with a “New York-on-vacation” feel is open for breakfast daily for beachgoers and lunch and dinner, daily and brunch on the weekends.
Doris and Ed’s, the Atlantic Highlands classic, appears to have closed for good. The restaurant had been closed for repair and now, a simple message on the answering machine says, “The restaurant has closed and will not re-open, thanks for your patronage.” No further information is available as of Currents press time.
Be on the lookout for the expansion of Red Bank’s popular Temple restaurant. This Chinese hotspot that serves authentic Chinese food is operated by the same family who owns the ever popular Peking Pavilion, on Route 33, Englishtown.
David Burke called in TV chef Anne Burrell and her new show, “Chef Wanted” to help him find a new executive chef for the Fromagerie in Rumson. The winner was Phil Deffina, a six-year veteran of David’s restaurants who used the show to prove himself to his boss and mentor, and to finally make the jump from sous chef to executive chef. “I knew coming into this that David has high expectations of me,” Phil said. Burke is pleased with his influence, saying, “Phil has a fresh insight into cuisine for this community of affluent and discerning tastes.”
The Italian Festival of Ocean Township returns to Joe Palaia Park, August 8 through 12. Over the years, this event has grown to massive proportions, with rides, music and food, food, food. Admission is free and you can get to it off West Park Avenue or Deal Road.
Belmar joins in the Italian spirit as it hosts the Feast of San Gennaro, September 7 & 8. “The original San Gennaro Festival started in Little Italy in 1926 when newly arrived immigrants from Naples honored Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of their home town,” explained Dr. Dan Di Cesare, owner of Nicchio Ristorante and the brainchild behind the event. The festival will feature plenty of Italian foods, wines, games and activities, starting with the traditional procession of the statue of San Gennaro, benefitting the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Information is available on feastofnj.com
That’s from our table to yours. If you know any restaurant scoop you’d like to share, please send it to editor Lori Draz at email@example.com.