It may be mid-August, but summer is still going strong and there are plenty more weekends to head down the shore. While you’re out in the sun, you’re gonna need some sustenance, whether it’s a quick boardwalk bite or a sit-down meal at the end of the day. Here are our favorite places to fuel up from Long Branch all the way down to Cape May.
Start your day with breakfast or duck out of the sun for lunch at The Ocean View Bakery in Long Branch. A true local destination, the place is more of a no-frills deli than a bakery, with an authentic Italian mom-and-pop vibe. At 81, Giovanna Avagliano continues to run the family-owned establishment even after her husband, Ciro, passed away earlier this year. Try their classic chicken parm sandwich ($11.56). For breakfast try their bacon, egg and cheese ($5.50). 319 Morris Ave, Long Branch, Monday – Saturday 6 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sundays.
Johnny’s Pork-Roll and Coffee Truck in Asbury Park is the spot to grab a quick lunch to eat on the boardwalk or bring back down to the sand. Order The Sandwich ($6), a classic porkroll, egg and cheese, or try one of their signature takes on Jersey’s most beloved sandwich, like The Hawaiian ($7), with thickly sliced pork roll, swiss cheese, pineapple, barbeque and sriracha sauce or The Western ($8), with pork roll, provolone cheese, egg, and sauteed peppers and onions. 7th Ave. & the boardwalk, Asbury Park, North Eats food truck lot Sunday – Wednesday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday – Sunday until 10 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day.
On your way to Seaside, stop in for breakfast at Shut Up and Eat! in Toms River. It is unlike any other breakfast and lunch joint, with mismatching decor, waitstaff clad in pajamas and a never-ending menu including 71 waffle dishes, 20 grilled cheese variations and 18 hot dog combinations. Try the Elvis French Toast ($5.98) made with peanut butter, banana and bacon, or the grilled mac and cheese ($9.33), a grilled cheese with tomato, bacon, ham or pork roll. 804 Main St, Toms River, Monday-Saturdays 6:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Sundays until 3 p.m.
If you’re on LBI, a classic that must be visited is The Chicken or the Egg. Dubbed “Chegg” by the locals and tourists, the menu has something for everyone, from breakfast classics to 16 wing varieties to healthyish wraps and salads. Those craving adventure can try the Ludicrous Challenge, which dares wing eaters to eat 12 jumbo wings covered in their homemade ludicrous sauce ($12.99) in 15 minutes. If completed, customers receive a t-shirt and get their name on a plaque. If you’re not in the mood for your mouth to feel like it’s on fire for the next three days, but you still could eat, try the Fat Chegg ($9.59), which contains buffalo chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, and fries stuffed in a wrap and served with bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Beware, though: the wait to get in is also ludicrous, exceeding three hours on summer weekends. Download the NoWait app to put your party’s name in to speed up the process. 207 North Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, open Monday- Sunday, 24 hours during the summer months.
Tony Boloney’s, located in a semi-sketchy neighborhood away from the boardwalk and Atlantic City’s casinos, appears to be a regular pizzeria at first glance. Step inside and you’ll find a funky restaurant serving dozens of crazy specialty pizzas, like the Heart Attack ($17.50 for a small pie), topped with buffalo chicken mac and cheese, smoked bacon and buttermilk ranch. Their hand cut, triple-fried loaded fries, available as just the house variety with a side of lemon and garlic aioli ($3.50) or one of 16 quirky topping varieties ($7.75 – $14), are also to die for. A personal favorite are the Verde fries ($7.75) topped with salsa verde, roasted corn, crema, string cheese and cilantro with a slice of Mex-Corn Husker ($4.50), topped with jersey roasted corn, queso oaxaca, pickled jalapeño crema, cilantro, and chilies. 300 Oriental Ave, Atlantic City, NJ, Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Margate Dairy Bar & Burger is the perfect place to relax after a long beach day with burgers and ice cream. The ‘50s themed joint is well-established in the community and has been serving customers for over 60 years. Try the Grilled Cheese burger ($6.99), a signature cheeseburger stuffed in a grilled cheese, for dinner and a Belgian waffle topped with salted caramel pretzel with whipped cream for dessert ($7.99). Grab a treat for Fido too! They also sell dog desserts from Bubba Rose Biscuit Company, like the Tail Wagger ($3.99), a gourmet dog biscuit topped with vanilla soft serve and peanut butter sauce. 9510 Ventnor Ave, Margate City, Sunday – Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Cape May County
Boardwalk pizza: overpriced and usually overrated. If you’re looking for a good slice, head to Manco and Manco’s pizza in Ocean City. Since their first location opened in the summer of 1956, they’ve been making fresh pizza on the boardwalk, tossing pies and entertaining customers from their open kitchen facing the ocean. The pizzeria has developed a cult-like following, with local and tourists alike claiming they serve the best pizza around. Order a whole pie for the family, and try the bacon chicken ranch, topped with chicken breast marinated in ranch, bacon, and your choice of red or white sauce ($23). 8th St. & Boardwalk, 9th St. & Boardwalk, 12th St. & Boardwalk, Ocean City, Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
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Can’t forget seafood, a true Jersey Shore staple. Head to The Lobster House on Fisherman’s Wharf for some delectable seafood paired with stunning views of the Cape May Harbor. The upscale, family friendly restaurant has five dining rooms with a full bar, take out area with dockside seating, a raw bar, and the Schooner American, an outdoor cocktail lounge. Try the Flounder Francaise ($20.95), a filet of flounder sauteed with white wine, lemon and butter. 906 Schellengers Landing Rd, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cape May, Open 7 days a week, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.- 10 p.m.