Restaurants DOING IT RIGHT in the pandemic

Taking my own suggestion but keeping it all positive… let’s get a thread going of places that are doing things RIGHT based on your experiences! Here are some of mine:

Nicholas Creamery (Fair Haven)
Hoffman’s (Spring Lake)
Cookman Creamery (AP)
Sweet Dani B (AP)
Cat’s Luck Vegan (AP-based online vegan bakery)
(Sensing a trend yet? :rofl: :rofl:)

Buttered Biscuit (Bradley Beach), where I had my first meal AT (outside) a restaurant since March
Cardinal Provisions (AP)

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Porta in Asbury had a nice layout in “Porta National Park” . All staff and most guests were masked. We were there for lunch. I have no idea how things are at night.

Nettie’s House of Spaghetti is using their large parking lot to its advantage. Staff was 100% masked as were most guests.

(There appears no cure for the young unmasked. I hate the smell of entitlement in the morning.)

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I wouldn’t put it all on the young.

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I’ve posted about this before but I’ll repeat here. Semolina (red bank) and Esposito’s (Matawan) are recent standouts!

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Glad to hear about Espositos. I had planned on ordering from the Manasquan location a while back - maybe early April? When I called to ask about curbside pickup, which was noted on their website, they had no idea what I was even talking about. The music was blaring and there was way too much giggling going on so I declined to place an order. Haven’t called since then but will definitely will try again. We like their pies and the Sicilian calamari.

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I love their sesame crust. I’ve tried several times to recreate it but I have really only succeeded in coating my kitchen with seeds!

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Me too, especially the one with roasted pork loin and broccoli rabe. Yum.

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Most definitely not. My travels in Manhattan and Ulster County, NY indicate that stupid afflicts ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages.

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I see the same here on the AP Boardwalk and all around town. SIGH…

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Every restaurant I’ve been to since March. Boondocks, Red Bank. Surf, Rumson. Val’s Tavern, Rumson. Woody’s, Sea Bright. Eventide, Sea Bright. Drifthouse, Sea Bright. 2nd Jetty, Sea Bright. Anjelica’s, Sea Bright. Alice’s Kitchen, Sea Bright. Yolk’s on You, Sea Bright. Beach Tavern, Monmouth Beach. Bahr’s, The Highlands. One Willow, The Highlands. Christine’s, Atlantic Highlands. Barnacle Bills, Rumson. Fernandes, Newark. The Seafarer, The Highlands. Donovan’s, Sea Bright. Tommy’s Tap House, Sea Bright. They are all doing it right. Apologies if I forgot a few. Like Undici and Victory Park. All good…come on out, Phil ain’t worried, why should you be?

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I would posit that most people out and about in AP and the AP boardwalk are … not from around here. And I’ll stop right there.

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Had a positive experience at Sitting Duck, Long Branch, last night. Employees masked, hand sanitizer as you walk in and on each table. Specials are in plastic stand on each table, with a code to scan on one’s smart phone to view their entire menu.

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Agree with keeping it positive… I’m sure we’re going to have varying experiences. If one HO posts a positive experience about a place where another HO has had a poor one, do we keep quiet?

Spots I’ve been lately that deserve kudos for working to provide a safe experience:

Patrizias
Bagel Masters (has been on top of it and a much more pleasant experience)
Barnacle Bills
Nicholas Creamery
D’Jeet

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I wouldn’t… that’s where I do think it’s important to know what’s happening/where!

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The below restaurants all offered curbside contactless pickup where you just sit in your car and a masked person came out and put the food in your passenger seat or trunk. I haven’t dined at any of these restaurants as it is too hot to eat in 90 degree weather in a parking lot (which is zero ambience) :slightly_smiling_face: I have left generous tips to all of the restaurants that I takeout food from.

Drew’s (Keyport)
Ammata Thai (River Vale)
Ariane Kitchen & Bar (Verona)
Bloom (Verona)
Bistro D’Azur (South Orange)
St. Eve’s (Ho Ho Kus)

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Wow…so difficult to recall all the good ones, mostly because you tend to remember bad experiences more than better. I can rattle off the # of places I will never return to, but who were the best? Here are a few that come to mind:

MJ’s (TF Location which is probably my top choice for surprisingly better food than I had ever experienced there in person)
Pour House (Shrewsbury)
Texas Roadhouse (Holmdel)
Drew’s (Keyport)
The Galley (Asbury Park, but I did have a bad experience there which wasn’t directly their fault, but some subsequent social media posts by them have caused me to second guess my support of the brand)
Fernandes III (South Amboy)

Honorable mention though not a restaurant;
Delicious Orchards with their daily grab bag complete with placement in your trunk and payment via credit card machine taped to a 2X4X6 to ensure -0- contact delivery and payment. lol

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I left Texas RH off my list prior- they had a great process down when we went- and a great deal of value as well, if it wasn’t so far away I would have done that one again.
Glad to see Fernandes on the list- I keep trying to get wife to agree to the trip back and forth for paella…

Also- the Cutler produce guys do a GREAT job- I hope they keep that service up going fwd. It seems like it’s died down a bit now that you can get next day orders rather than a week out, but I find the produce to be same price or better than stores, excluding any loss leaders, and the quality plus selection much much better.

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Yolk’s on You, Sea Bright, offered to seat us inside.
This photo is from Beach Tavern. We had to walk through this gauntlet to exit. As I took this photo, someone yelled at me to “Go home!”

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WTH??? How is this okay?

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold