6 new restaurants at the Jersey Shore
Editor's note: This is the second in a monthly series on new and upcoming restaurants, publishing the first of each month. Read last month's story here.
Have you ever had a hot dog that's been dipped in waffle batter and deep fried?
How about crepes stuffed with cheesecake and strawberries?
(We know bathing suit season is coming; we're sorry.)
These are among the menu items planned at Tower Dogs in Asbury Park and Cé La Vie in Red Bank, which join a handful of new restaurants opening soon. Here is a look at what's coming.
Looking back:6 new restaurants at the Jersey Shore
Tower Dogs, Asbury Park boardwalk
Gourmet hot dogs? Yes, please! Find them at Tower Dogs, which in December closed in Lawrenceville, Mercer County, to prepare for a move to the Asbury Park boardwalk.
Tower Dogs got its start in an unlikely place: Princeton University's 117-year-old Tower Club, one of 11 eating clubs at the school. Chef Jim Forkel spent two decades there as head chef and manager, and in that time developed a menu of gourmet hot dogs. He opened the Lawrenceville restaurant in 2016, and the Asbury Park location is scheduled to open the week of April 21.
Tower Dogs serves all-beef, skinless hot dogs made from Forkel's own recipe, tucked into rolls that are toasted on the inside and piled with house-made toppings. The signature hot dog is wrapped in bacon and served with spicy brown mustard, cheese sauce, onions, and chopped waffle fries ($8.50); the Shorty’s Rib Dog is topped with barbecue short rib, fries, cheese sauce and frizzled onions ($11); the Asbury Dog has avocado, cucumber, carrot, tomato, greens, red onion, and green goddess dressing ($8.50); and the Unlawful Waffle Dog is dipped in waffle batter, deep fried, and served with honey maple mustard sauce ($7). Plain hot dogs, with ketchup, mustard or onion, cost $5.50.
The restaurant also offers chicken sandwiches, beef and veggie burgers, vegan hot dogs and Beyond Meat vegan sausage; fries and tater tots, nachos, and fried Oreos.
Go: 800 Ocean Ave.; tower-dogs.com
Ever since Meemom's opened in Wall six years ago, diners have been more than willing to wait in line for its over-the-top French toasts: The Tipsy Piggy has bourbon maple mascarpone, bacon and white chocolate chips; The Elvis is stuffed with peanut butter and topped with bacon and bananas; and the get-it-before-it's-gone banana bread version is made with freshly baked banana bread.
Owner Camryn Monteforte and his team brought their breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes to Middletown with the opening of a second restaurant in 2015, and this fall, Meemom's is coming to Brick Plaza.
In addition to nearly two dozen varieties of French toast, Meemom's also serves waffles, eggs, three kinds of macaroni and cheese and a variety of sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads.
Go: 56 Chambers Bridge Road; meemoms.com.
Bird and Betty's, Beach Haven
The Tide Table Group is no stranger to dining in Southern Ocean County: The restaurant groups owns local favorites Mud City Crab House and Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House, both in Stafford; Ship Bottom Shellfish; and Parker's Garage & Oyster Saloon and Black Whale Bar & Fish House, both in Beach Haven. And in mid-May, it will open its newest restaurant in a historic Long Beach Island building.
The group's purchase of the Dock Road property, which for more than 30 years housed The Ketch Restaurant & Bar, was finalized in February after two years of negotiations.
“We are all very excited about this new project, which will emphasize fun,” co-owner Melanie Magaziner said in a news release. “We want to create something everyone will love, focusing on the new deck and outdoor space, which will be built next winter. But we want to start setting the tone this summer by bringing great bands to the stage.”
The theme is the 1960s and '70s, with a focus on live music. The menu will include seafood dishes and other favorites from the Tide Table Group's family of restaurants, plus artisan pizza and cocktails. The kitchen will be led by Chef Kyle Baddorf of Parker's Garage.
Bird and Betty is named for Bird and Betty Clutter, who purchased the building – then the Acme Hotel – in the 1950s.
Go: 529 Dock Road in Beach Haven; tidetablegroup.com
Cé La Vi, Red Bank
Six years ago, Nick Napoletano and Erica Lieberman wandered into a Red Bank bakery named La Patisweet in search of dessert. A few months later, they owned the shop, which they renamed Whipped Creperie.
They served sweet and savory crepes at first, but after adding more dishes through the years, "we knew we needed a bigger space," Napoletano said.
Late last month, they closed the doors at 6 Monmouth St. In the next few weeks, the couple will open Cé La Vi a few doors down in the space last occupied by Lil' Cutie Pops. (For a short while last fall, they planned to call the new space The Crepe Place.) It is double the size, Napoletano said, can seat 50, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to Whipped Creperie's signature crepes. "It's a combination of what we are today – a late-night dessert place – and taking that breakfast, brunch, lunch concept but staying open all day," he said. "Also, the look of the place is different; we're going very French café, a French bistro look, everything black and white."
As for the old space, Napoletano and Lieberman are considering reopening as a salad-focused eatery.
Go: 16 Monmouth St.; 732-747-0076; www.whippedcreperie.com
Fast, healthy food isn't always easy to come by, but that's what fills the menu at Freshii, a quick-serve casual restaurant that opened in February.
The Toronto-based company has more than 300 locations worldwide, and Kevin O'Hear's Middletown restaurant is the second in New Jersey and the first in Monmouth County. He and his wife, Joan Wyndrum O’Hear, pursued a franchise after visiting Freshii in Washington, D.C., with their son, who has celiac disease. The food – bowls, burritos, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies and juices – is customizable, catering to meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free and dairy-free diners.
The menu includes the Pangoa Bowl, made with brown rice, avocado, cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, black beans, corn, cilantro and spicy barbecue sauce; a Cobb wrap; lemongrass soup; green and fruit smoothies; and frozen kefir yogurt, among other dishes. Freshii serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Go: 838 State Route 35, Middletown; 732-275-0100, www.freshii.com/us/en-us/middletown
Ice Cream Emergency, Monmouth and Middlesex counties
"Saving lives, one scoop at a time" is a new motto for Sue Dorfman, who last month became the first New Jersey owner of an Ice Cream Emergency! franchise.
The company, based in Connecticut, comprises a fleet of mobile ice cream parlors that cater events, parties and community events. Dorfman picked up her vehicle, a converted shuttle bus, in March and brought it home.
"I always wanted to do my own business, but I wanted to do something different," said Dorfman, who lives in Howell and will cater to Monmouth and Middlesex counties. "I took a long time making the decision to join because I wanted to make sure it was the right fit, and the right product."
In keeping with the emergency theme, employees don red scrubs and visitors can sign a doctor's chart as they board the climate-controlled bus, which serves dozens of ice cream flavors in cups, cones, floats and sundaes (packages range from $5 to $12 per person).
Dorfman first presented the ice cream truck last month in South Amboy's St. Patrick's Day parade, and on April 15 she will host a soft opening (in honor of Tax Day) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Litz Tax & Consulting, 21 Ernston Road in Parlin.
Go: 732-598-7125; www.icecreamemergency.com
And a new name...
Mariachi Tipico, Red Bank: This isn't a new restaurant, just a name change for longtime Red Bank Mexican restaurant Carlos O'Connor's. 31 Monmouth St.; 732-530-6663
Hello, foodies! I'm Sarah Griesemer, food writer for The Asbury Park Press. If you have a tip on a new restaurant or an idea for a story, please share it with me at email@example.com. And if you love reading about the Shore's dining scene, follow me @jersey.shore.eats and consider a subscription; learn more at https://offers.app.com/specialoffer.