NJ Outdoor Dining Experiences

I figured that as outdoor only dining may be with us here in NJ for a while, we should share our experiences:

We lunched al fresco at Taka in AP yesterday. Table was great, overlooking Cookman Ave and it was a nice day. All the employees were masked and gloved. Front of house was quick to seat us. Menus were the “scan the code” sort and it worked fine.

Our waiter was very nice, even a little too talkative, but why not? When our food arrived, everything looked wonderful:

Then I bit into my supposedly medium rare burger and it all went to hell. The burger literally exploded as hot juice splattered everything. Even an amatuer like me knows you have to let the burger rest to redistribute the juices. Although they helped clean things up, there wasn’t even an apology, much less an offer to pay dry cleaning bills.

When I went back in for another bite I discovered that the burger was also cooked what my father calls, “black and blue” rare, as in raw in the middle.

Those who know me know that in the old days I’d have complained to the manager. Somehow I felt that there was just too many things that could go wrong so I just asked for a box to take it home.

I almost forgot to mention that I felt the experience was worth it. That moment when we had that beautiful looking food in front of us and we both looked out over AP and sighed almost made me feel like none of this had happened and we were just eating out.


Bummer because that top picture looks like a beautiful burger!

Glad you got out!


So when you are in the mood for sushi where do you go? Barnacle Bills, Pour House, Shake Shake? Seriously? What would motivate you to order a burger at a Japanese Sushi joint to begin with?

This reminds me of my mother…

“Mom where do you want go to dinner”…

“What’s that good Chinese restaurant in Little Silver”

“Little Szechuan,? Ok let’s go”

((at little szechuan))

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I was really in the mood for chicken parm”

“then what the hell did you ask me about Little Szechuan”

“I just asked about the restaurant, I never said I wanted to come here” :hot_face::hot_face::hot_face::hot_face:

So sir, sorry to say if you wanted a burger I can forgive Taka for not living up to your expectations or even flubbing it, because; “Who the hell goes to Taka for a burger”!?!?!?!


The happily married man whose wife wants sushi on her Monday off. :innocent:


Please post the video. Eating outdoors in Asbury there’s likely a surveillance video.


I have to admit that I thought the same thing, but I’ll say this…people legit RAVE about Taka’s meatloaf!! Of course if I’m at Taka, that’s not what I’m having, but go figure.


Smart man!


Roof top dining at Bell markets. Details here:



I didn’t eat there, I picked up takeout, but I took a walk around and liked what I saw at Boondocks in Red Bank. They have a nice spot for outdoor dining there.

We recently got takeout from Boondock’s as well. My husband said everything looked ship-shape except that the hostess, who has the most interaction (seating people and handling takeout orders), had her mask below her nose. He mentioned it to her–not confrontationally–quietly. A manager overheard, apologized profusely, and had the hostess fix her mask.


We went to Beach Tavern last night at 5:15 to beat the crowd. Tables were appropriately distanced. There is a section for diners and a section for having drinks only. Lots of shade from the palm trees and under umbrellas. Drinks were wonderful. Service was slow due to servers/runners having to go up and down stairs to go in and out. Staff used back door. Patrons used front door if they needed the loo. Fritto misto was outstanding appetizer. We had burgers and scallops over orzo. The scallops were a little sandy but tasty. Orzo was meh.

I didn’t observe any staff mishaps. The outdoor setup allows patrons to enter from the sides and several didn’t have masks on. I saw a young lady get up and hug a friend that she ran in to and then put her mask on to return to her table. A duo plays music at 7 p.m. and the place filled up quickly. The drinks-only tables were all taken by then and plenty were looking for a place to sit. We hightailed it out of there before we could see whether they’d enforce social distancing in the drinks-only section.


I wasn’t sure if it was better to post here or in the actual semolina thread. (Mods, feel free to move.)

We had a wonderful dinner at semolina in red bank on Friday. The staff was perfectly masked, gloved with obvious attention to sanitary detail (disinfectant in the bathroom, hand sanitizer at doorways if you have to use the bathroom and generous space between tables).

All the food was delicious. We had peas with bacon which were out least favorite but definitely not bad. Just needed more salt or bacon? Also had shishito peppers which were very nice. Both pasta mains were delicious. My husband’s pasta had peaches in it!! Zeppolis for dessert. Beautiful night and perfect weather.

Butttt. I was highly concerned with the number of mask less people roaming. the cops weren’t even wearing masks! Lots of people out but semolina is on a side street. We could see the traffic but not as much action on that street. Dublin was mobbed. Strange times. Stay safe.


Haven’t tamped down a hangover with an L.I.T. (L.I.I.T…?) and a couple of burgers at Barnacle Bill’s since March. Nice breeze off the Navesink kept the temps at bay, and the burgers have not lost a step.



It’s not too hot if you’re on the water. 2nd Jetty could be the best restaurant in Monmouth County. The cream rises to the top.


And for the main…


If the main was more bluefin than you like, there is this app (with avocado mousse, of course).


Driving past a large outdoor dining area with a roof and an unrolled plastic wall on two sides to block the rain, I found myself asking whether that was still outdoors. What if three plastic walls were in place? Presumably four walls down would definitely be verboten. But this is yet another way in which the outdoor dining situation is complicated.

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To the best of my knowledge the outdoor dining requires the dining area to be under a “soft” roof. Side panels or “walls” are not the deciding factor(s) but the construction materials of the roof are what dictates if it’s allowed for outside dining.

If this is true, it makes no sense. The whole point of allowing outdoor dining is that the air circulation will carry any particles away, not having a soft roof in case it collapses.