SEA BRIGHT: DONOVAN’S REBUILD BEGINS

donovan's 052616donovan's 071015 3Obliterated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and revived last summer as an open-air bar (seen at right), Sea Bright’s Donovan’s Reef is finally on track to having a permanent home again, NJ.com reports. The oceanfront watering hole is two weeks into a construction project that’s estimated to take about 10 months, the news site reports.

“I’m looking forward to the return of a Donovan’s that, like the rest of the new Seas Bright, is built to last,” Mayor Dina Long told NJ.com. “Donovan’s is an integral piece of the Sea Bright fabric. Without Donovan’s in Sea Bright, it feels like something’s missing.” (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RUMSON: BUTLER’S IS BACK

060415butlers1The familiar pastel-colored Adirondack chairs are back at Butler’s Market in Rumson. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

060415butlers3Lifelong borough resident Paul Stout owned and operated Butler’s Deli in a strip mall on East River Road in Rumson for 15 years. Two and a half years ago, he was ready for a more leisurely life, he thought, and so he closed the business and gave retirement a try.

Locals Creative Fresh Takeout took over the space, and made a stab at the sandwich trade, but threw in the towel earlier this year.

Stout, realizing that “retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” decided to re-open Butler’s in the same space.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT PIZZA RETURNS

Sea Bright Pizza five days after the hurricane, above, and back in business, below. (Photo below by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

Going eight months without the best pizza in town was no easy task, said Sea Bright Pizza customer Wyatt Mulheren.

“I was miserable with out it,” he said.

With each passing month, the hurricane-walloped town of Sea Bright is getting its bite back, as businesses gradually continue to reopen.

Locals are now relishing in the return of their favorite slice of “grandma pie.”

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: LIBRARY TO BE RESTORED

Repairs to the Ocean Avenue facility were approved by borough officials Tuesday night. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After months of public outcry, Sea Bright’s public library is back on track toward reopening – and it may get an assist from the Lincroft library, which was shuttered due to budget cuts earlier this year.

The Sea Bright borough council gave the okay to Tuesday night to repair its Ocean Avenue facility, closed since it was battered by Hurricane Sandy.

The status of the library has been up in the air since the October 29 storm, and the borough even tossed around the idea of creating a new library, housed inside a new beach pavilion building. But Councilman Read Murphy confirmed the council had “unanimously” decided to repair the beach side community’s library.

 “As the rumor goes, and as I said the other night, we are going to repair the library,” Murphy told those in attendance at a meeting of the borough council. “We’re going to out for bid on the property. We have approximately $70,000 to work with here.”

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: ANOTHER RESTAURANT REOPENS

Yumi restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright is now back in business, adding to the growing list of stores coming back on line in the hurricane-battered borough. The eatery features sushi and “neo-Asian” cuisine. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: MAD HATTER FINALLY RE-HATTED

The opening-night crowd at the Mad Hatter last Friday night. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

For those with an eye for irony, it may have seemed fitting that the reopening of the hurricane-inundated the Mad Hatter was saluted by periodic of rain showers.

A beloved shore bar and restaurant located in the heart of downtown Sea Bright, the Hatter has faced its fair share of hurdles on the journey back to life after being blown out by Hurricane Sandy. But finally, after a delayed fire permit held it one step short of the finish line on Thursday – its originally scheduled grand reopening – the Mad Hatter’s improvised Tiki Hut and back bar officially opened for the 2013 summer season Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

 While the rain came in spurts, the Hatter’s loyal customer base seemed to show up in droves.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: PARTY OUT BACK

The Mad Hatter in better days, above. The owners plan to revive the tiki bar out back next week. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The people who run the Mad Hatter – a sports bar/restaurant that’s practically synonymous with downtown Sea Bright – knew they had to do something to get open.

With the borough’s first post-Sandy summer quickly approaching and their oceanside establishment still unusable, they knew that they couldn’t risk going an entire season without opening their doors for loyal locals and Shore visitors.

So they decided to improvise. Twice.

Now, after a stalled attempt to reopen under a tent on the municipal parking lot, owner Scott Kelly and his brother Michael have a plan they say will allow the Mad Hatter to come back in time for Memorial Day.

“What we’ve done is effectively turned the back of the building into the front, in a way,” Michael Kelly, the manager, told redbankgreen,

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: MAD HATTER TO REOPEN MAY 23

The Mad Hatter has given up on a proposal to operate out of a tent and plans to reopen a portion of its storm-damaged building. Below, beer bottles seen through the restaurant window last month.  (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Dropping a controversial proposal to operate out of a large tent for the summer, Sea Bright’s Mad Hatter plans to reopen this month in its original, storm-whacked location, according to an announcement Wednesday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, owners Scott and Amy Kelly said the popular sports bar is scheduled to reopen May 23, operating out of the Ocean Avenue structure’s back room and tiki bar, supplemented for the summer by a mobile kitchen.

The earlier proposal, made to borough officials just last month, called for a 400-person tent to be erected at the edge of the municipal parking two blocks away, and faced an array of red tape involving state and local agencies. Some other downtown merchants opposed the plan, which they said would eat up too much public parking.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: ANOTHER RESTAURANT REOPENS

Another Sea Bright business is back, six months after Sandy. Below, Amanda and Ming Zheng in their New Super Golden restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In the minds of Sea Brighters, each business that reopens in this storm-walloped town is another step toward their goal of getting the beach community back to normal in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Late last week another longstanding establishment was able to open its doors again.

“Everything about Sea Bright was great before, and hopefully the town remains that way now that we are all starting to come back,” said Amanda Zheng, who owns the 20-year old New Super Golden Chinese restaurant with her husband, Ming.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: SHAKING OFF SANDY

Six months after it was all but obliterated by Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright is gradually getting back on its feet, as evident in the extensive repair and rebuilding underway.

redbankgreen photographers Peter Lindner and John T. Ward teamed up to create this slideshow of images of the town before, during – Lindner gets the credit for all of those – and after the historic October 29, 2012, storm, with the final shot in each grouping taken over the weekend of April 27 and 28, 2013.

SANDY HOOK TO REOPEN MAY 1

All facilities are expected to be open after Memorial Day, the park service said in an announcement. (Click to enlarge)

Closed to the public since Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, Sandy Hook is expected to reopen next week, federal officials said Thursday.

And in a change from earlier post-Sandy recovery plans for the battered peninsula, visitors will have access to all six beaches after Memorial Day, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Read More »

BOONDOCKS LOBSTER SHACK WILL BE BACK

Hundreds of food lovers turned out at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank Thursday night for a fundraiser to help Kelly Ryan rebuild her Hurricane Sandy-damaged restaurant, Boondocks Fishery. The Navesink Business Group organized the event, with participation by restaurants under the Red Bank Flavour umbrella.

Ryan, who had already raised $8,000 toward her $30,000 goal on indiegogo, told redbankgreen that sheetrock went up in her lobster shack – located on the Navesink River adjacent to Marine Park –  earlier Thursday, and she’s shooting to reopen May 14.

The Oyster Point, too, was knocked out by the October 29 storm, returning to normal operations in February. (Click to enlarge)

BEACH CLUBS TARGET SUMMER REOPENINGS

Sands Beach Club, above, and Ship Ahoy, in the distance, were wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, but Sands will come back this summer, its owner said. Edgewater, below, is shooting to be fully operational by Memorial Day. (Photo below by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The seven beach clubs that run along Sea Bright’s Ocean Avenue – Driftwood, Edgewater, Chapel, Seabright, Sands, Surfrider and Ship Ahoy – not only own a large portion of the borough’s beachfront property, but also represent the backbone of its summer economy.

None were spared by Hurricane Sandy, which inflicted major damage to some and obliterated others.

But the owners and managers of three clubs redbankgreen spoke to this week are gearing up for the fast-approaching summer season, as well as making plans for the future.

Read More »

RED BANK: BAR’S OPEN AT THE OYSTER POINT

The Pearl Restaurant and Lounge reopened late last week for the first time since Hurricane Sandy knocked the hotel out of commission. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The last time redbankgreen visited Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel, a handwritten sign was taped to the front doors telling would-be visitors that the hotel and restaurant/bar would reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

Nearly three months later, the Oyster Point took a step forward in its rebuilding plan with the reopening of its posh Pearl Restaurant and Lounge – much to the delight of regulars and new customers alike.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

OCEANIC BRIDGE SAILS TO COMPLETION

After a seven-month shutdown, the Oceanic Bridge linking Rumson and Middletown was to open for vehicle traffic sometime around noon Friday, having been opened for pedestrians and bikers at mid-morning.

Fair Haven resident Ben Hamilton, right, noting that “there are more dignitaries here than audience,” said he knows business owners who have been “suffering in silence” over the duration of the closure and will be glad to have it back in service. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)