SEA BRIGHT: A MARTINI RIPE WITH SUMMER

beau keegan 072214Ama mixologist Beau Keegan adds a dash of grenadine to give his white peach martini the look of a peach. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ama peach martini 072214Kitchens and dining rooms aren’t the only areas of restaurants caught up in the growing interest in locally sourced artisanal food products.

At Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, the bar has become a place of labor-intensive cocktails prepared with carefully chosen fruits and flavorings, says Beau Keegan, who runs the beverage operation.

“A generation ago, it was all about liqueurs, but there’s been a revolution in the last 10 or 15 years of people making their own purees, syrups, bitters,” he says. Driven by customer interest, “everybody’s kind of pushing each other” to find new, and fresher, ingredients, he says.
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PIEHOLE: A WEEK-PLUS OF SHORE EATS

woody's 1 011812Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright is one of several restaurants on the Green participating in Jersey Shore Restaurant Week. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week kicks off this Friday, and runs through next Sunday, April 13. Participating restaurants will be offering fixed price menus at $20.14 (think about it…) and $30.14 (…but not too much).

To help you get out and explore the Green’s local eateries on the cheap, PieHole has assembled this handy list for you. Go make some reservations and try something new.

morsels medium

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SEA BRIGHT: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Two charities – Sea Bright Rising and Ama Ristorante’s Building Permit Relief Fund – with the common mission of helping Sea Bright victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their homes and businesses were the beneficiaries of festivities at Driftwood Cabana Club Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Daylong downpours halted, a rainbow appeared, and a pyrotechnics show billed as New Jersey’s largest this Independence Day week lit up the sky above the Atlantic Ocean and Sea Bright as thousands looked on. redbankgreen was at Driftwood to capture the spectacle. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click the embiggen symbolto enlarge)

 

HARD-HIT SEA BRIGHT FACES BRIDGE OUTAGE

News of the planned closure of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge had restaurateur Chris Wood lobbying elected officials for a modification Friday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Business owners in Hurricane Sandy-walloped Sea Bright were reeling Friday afternoon on word that Monmouth County plans to shut down the Rumson-Sea Bright (Route 520) bridge for up to a month starting as early as January 28.

“It’s cutting off our lifeline as we’re recovering from a massive heart attack,” said Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood, who just took delivery of $50,000 worth of liquor and food in preparation for a planned reopening in the desolate downtown next Wednesday.

“We’re just trying to get ourselves back open,” said Frank Bain,  owner of the recently reopened Bain’s Hardware, “and a very large portion of our customer base comes over that bridge.”

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SEA BRIGHT: HARRY’S CLAWS ITS WAY BACK

Lou Jacoubs in the restaurant’s dining room Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Another Sea Bright staple gets back in action when Harry’s Lobster House reopens Wednesday night, the first restaurant in the downtown district to do so since Hurricane Sandy.

Owner Lou Jacoubs took redbankgreen inside his newly restored and renovated restaurant, located in the heart the Ocean Avenue strip, for a sneak peek at what loyal customers and curious newcomers can expect from the “new and improved” Harry’s.

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HOT DOG CART AND CHIC EATERY BACK IN BIZ

Hot dog seller Frances Rooney poses for a photo with admirers, including Councilwoman Peggy Bills, at right above. Below, Pat Trama in his restored restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

One of Sea Bright’s oldest food businesses reopened this week, and one of its newest was scheduled to do so Friday night, two signs that the storm-battered town is cooking up a recovery.

Frances Rooney, affectionately known as “Grandma Hot Dog,”  fired up the gas on her cart this week and was soon attracting lines of hungry and loyal customers.

“My son was the one who really encouraged me to come back out here and start serving people again – sooner rather than later,” she told redbankgreen, “He thought it would be a comforting sight for everyone to see me back in business, up on my feet.”

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SEA BRIGHT: FEEDING THE LIFESAVERS

Local restaurateurs banded together on short notice Sunday to provide some gourmet chow to the firefighters, cops, first aiders, other volunteers and contractors who’ve been keeping Sea Bright safe and hustling to get it back in shape in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Contractors dig into considerable sirloin burgers at the borough firehouse, above. At right, Ama Ristorante owner Pat Trama enjoys a laugh with David Burke of David Burke Fromagerie. Below, Chis Wood of Woody’s Ocean Grille grills up some beef.

A relief tent has now been erected next to the firehouse to give the workers a place to eat in inclement weather, Wood reports. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: AMA TAKES IT TO THE BEACH


Chef Chuck Lesbirel (left) gets some assistance from Pat Trama prepping artichokes and baby beets for Friday night’s opening of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

Pat Trama wasn’t surprised to see one of his regulars, pregnant and craving his signature mussels, standing at the bottom of the stairs to his new, yet-to-open restaurant with a pan, begging him to get cooking.

He’s been getting a lot of demand since Ama Ristorante Tuscana closed its doors in Atlantic Highlands three months ago to relocate to a bigger, better version at the Driftwood Cabana Club in Sea Bright.

The new location will open for dinner Friday after a summerlong wait for loyal customers.

“There’s probably 90 of those people out there saying, ‘I’m dying for the mussels. I jonesing for it’,” said Trama, Ama’s chef and co-owner.

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‘RETIRED’ PARKER CLINIC DOC WINS HONOR

zavenDr. Zaven Ayanian is scheduled to receive a prestigious award for his volunteerism at the Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Dr. Zaven Ayanian has been around a long time. He started practicing as a physician in 1959, the same year Buddy Holly died and Alaska was granted statehood. In that time he’s seen a lot of patients and racked up a lot of awards.

Now, even though he’s retired, he’s getting another award.

Ayanian, 79, will spend the weekend in Washington D.C., where he’ll be feted for his volunteer efforts at the Parker Family Medical Center. During the three-day American Medical Association extravaganza, Ayanian, along with one other physician from Virginia, will receive the Jack B. McConnell, M.D. Award for Excellence In Volunteerism.

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