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: CHRISTIE WINS DEM’S BACKING

Governor Chris Christie poses with Boondocks Fishery owner Kelly Ryan wearing lobster-claw headgear given out at the Red Bank restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Governor Chris Christie returned to Sea Bright Thursday to pick up an early re-election endorsement from Mayor Dina Long, who crossed party lines and called him a “hero to Sea Bright and all across the Jersey shore.”

Long  – a Democrat who once volunteered worked as a paid campaign staffer for governors Jim Florio and Jim McGreevey, presidential candidate Bill Bradley and then-Senator Jon Corzine – said her backing of the Republican incumbent had “nothing to do with” the qualifications, or gender, of presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Senator Barbara Buono.

“It’s about humanity,” she said.

Christie eagerly accepted the endorsement, calling it, “a powerful symbol of people crossing party lines and working together to get things fixed.”

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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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SECOND ‘MOUNTAIN’ PILES UP MEMORIES

A passerby eyes debris in the Anchorage Beach parking lot, above, while a mountain of it dominates the former Peninsula House lot, below. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Mount Sandy, meet Mount Refuse.

Though smaller in stature, the mountain of debris occupying in Sea Bright’s old Peninsula House parking lot on Ocean Avenue is just as scene-stealing and ominous as its sand counterpart, located just a stone’s throw away. This ever-growing pile, however, won’t have onlookers climbing it or posing for closeups anytime soon.

The refuse is the accumulated result of curbside trash pickups in this Hurricane Sandy-smashed town, where residents and business owners are early on in a restoration effort.

It stands, however briefly, as a jarring, visceral reminder of the storm’s reach over porches, through doors and windows, and into rooms and closets.

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SEA BRIGHT: AMID TEARS, GUARD ROLLS OUT

Sea Bright’s tent city was largely dismantled by Friday afternoon. Below, Governor Chris Christie speaking with National Guardsmen at the site on November 9. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After six weeks of assisting displaced residents and first responders with everything from hot meals to extra clothes, Sea Bright’s tent city – created by the US National Guard – is leaving town.

Following a final community meal on Thursday,  National Guardsmen made their move out of the municipal parking lot around 10:30 a.m. Friday, according to Onofrio Moscato, head chef at neighboring restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, Emotions were running high for the Guard as well as volunteers and residents, he said.

“The National Guard was escorted out by the Sea Bright firemen,” Moscato told redbankgreen. “They were hanging out of the windows and waving. It was a special send-off for them. Before they left, they all stood in line and made a final salute, kind of a sign that their mission here was over.”

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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: THE MORNING AFTER

Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood sent us these photos he took in Sea Bright at the first light Tuesday, just hours after Hurricane Sandy all but obliterated the town. From left: the demolished remnants of popular oceanfront bar Donovan’s Reef; Ocean Avenue looking north from downtown; and Ship Ahoy Beach Club. (Click to enlarge)

Town officials said Thursday that Sea Bright would be off-limits to residents and visitors for seven to ten days as crews work to halt natural gas leaks and inspect structures for safety. As for the 14-month-old Woody’s, the owner says the restaurant came through the storm and will be back.

WOODY’S SURFS OVER TO SNACK SHACK

Customers lined up on Memorial Day, below, at the new Woody’s Ocean Hut in Sea Bright.  (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Where others have tried and wiped out, Chris Wood is diving into the surf.

The owner of Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright last week opened a satellite business just yards away from his year-old restaurant, creating what he calls “a glorified snack bar” in a beachfront building that has seen a a lot of churn in recent years.

He thinks the pairing is the secret sauce to outlasting his predecessors at the well-hidden stand.

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