NJ restaurants: From BBQ to pork roll, 16 new restaurants at the Jersey Shore

Sarah Griesemer
Asbury Park Press

It has been a whirlwind of a year for Chris Barlow.

In February, the longtime chef and pitmaster, who started cooking in his Hillside backyard as a teenager, took his food on the road with Big Barlow's BBQ, a bright orange food truck serving slow-smoked barbecue, scratch-made sauces, and all the fixin's. 

In September, he was handed the keys to a restaurant of his own, which he is renovating and plans to open by the end of October in Barnegat. 

"I went all in," Barlow said of these decisions, adding that he spent nearly two decades cooking in New York City and consulting on other people's restaurants before deciding to open one of his own. 

His brick and mortar, which will seat around 15 diners and provide take-out and delivery via Grub Hub, will serve Barlow's brisket – "Everybody knows me for that" – which is smoked for 15 hours, plus smoked chicken, pulled pork, wings, mac and cheese, and ribs ($6 to $22).

The food will be available until it's gone, Barlow said. "There's no freezer, no microwaves. Everything's made fresh every day. When I'm out, I'm out."

The restaurant will serve lunch at first, then Barlow plans to add breakfast dishes. But don't expect pork roll and pancakes. "Brisket, egg and cheese wraps; pulled pork, egg and cheese wraps," he said. "I want to do what I do."

Go: 21 S. Main St., Suite 6; 609-549-3640, bigbarlowsbbq.net. The food truck will be in attendance at the Lacey Elks Food Truck and Vendor Fair Oct. 5 and the Stafford Fall Harvest and Wine Festival Oct. 12 and 13.

Big Barlow's is one of many new Shore restaurants and food businesses that have opened recently or will do so soon. Here are two dozen more, and a few closings.

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Soul Sandwich, Red Bank

Soul Sandwich opened in September in the space previously occupied by That Hot Dog Place in Red Bank.

It is 9 a.m. on a weekday, and Steve DeAngelo is already hard at work making lunch.

With an hour to go until the doors open, the owner of Soul Sandwich in Red Bank, previously That Hot Dog Place, has three pots of soup and chicken cooking, noodles boiling, and more food in the oven.

DeAngelo's journey to owning this tiny restaurant – less than 200 square feet, with outdoor seating only, in an alleyway off busy Monmouth Street – began many months ago. 

"Gary (Gary Sable, who owned That Hot Dog Place for 25 years) and I started talking about this a year and a half ago," DeAngelo said, pots and pans clanging as he spoke. "I was a longtime customer, I used to bring him in stuff that I cooked at home."

When it came time for Sable to retire, "I got to be the guy," said DeAngelo, a 41-year-old Red Bank resident – the same age Sable, or "The Soupmeister" as he was known around town, was when he opened the restaurant. 

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From Soul Sandwich in Red Bank, 
 a sandwich of pork loin with Carolina-style slaw and barbecue mayo.

"I learned all Gary's recipes, spent two months in here with him," said DeAngelo, a former carpenter who also dabbled in catering and barbecue. "I am adding my soups and chilies and gumbos to the list and doing a lot of specials (chicken salads, a roast pork loin sandwich).

"I love the spot," he said. "It's very small, but I kind of like that."

Go: Open from 10 to approximately 3:30 p.m. at 30 Monmouth St. in Red Bank; 732-513-2119, soulsandwichrb.com.

Breakfast service at Papa Ganache, Matawan

"No Huevos Rancheros" bowls at Papa Ganache on Main Street in Matawan, which recently added breakfast service. The dish is made from hash browns, tofu scramble, black beans, corn, pico de gallo, avocado, lime and sour cream.

For nearly a decade, Papa Ganache has been a place to go for vegan and gluten-free treats: cupcakes, pies, muffins, cakes and cookies. 

But last month, the bakery began serving breakfast, too. Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, diners can order apple cinnamon bun French toast, breakfast pizza made on granola crust, chickpea vegetable frittata, and croissant breakfast sandwiches with rice paper bacon, tofu eggs and greens ($12 to $14).

Go: 106 Main St.; 732-217-1750, papaganache.com.

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Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County Bakery, Asbury Park: The culinary school's bakery, offering baked goods prepared by students in the pastry arts program, is now open to the public. The hours are from 9 to 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The center also serves lunch and dinner. reservations required. 101 Drury Lane; 732-988-3299, brookdaleccu.edu.

Chang Thai Kitchen, Toms River: Opened this summer at 1174 Fisher Blvd. in the space previously occupied by Siam Spice. 732-573-3456, changthainj.com.

Graze, Little Silver: Owner and chef Junior Chamon announced Sept. 24 that Sept. 29 would be the last night for his farm-to-table restaurant, which he transformed from Zoe Bistro in 2016. The chef said he hopes to reopen Graze elsewhere. In the meantime, Chamon has joined The Butcher's Block in Long Branch. 

Next Stop Elberon Deli, Long Branch: Previously Elberon Deli, the breakfast and lunch spot has new owners, a new look, and offers delivery. 732-522-1682, 1193 Lincoln Square.

Over Easy Kitchen, Fair Haven: The third location of this breakfast and lunch spot, which has restaurants in Holmdel and Marlboro, is under construction next to Nicholas Creamery on River Road. An opening date has not yet been announced. overeasykitchen.com.

An assortment of dishes at Over Easy Kitchen in Marlboro. There is a second location in Holmdel, and a third will open in Fair Haven.

Project Brunch, Manalapan: As of press time, an opening date had not yet been announced for the restaurant at 41 Route 9. Project Brunch also has locations in Staten Island, New York. projectbrunch.com.

Revolutionary Lounge & Cafe, Toms River: The coffee shop and restaurant moved this summer to 1256 Indian Head Road from its original location on Hooper Avenue. 732-608-7819, revlounge.com.

Riv's Toms River Hub: The family behind Rivoli's Grill & Chill in Howell and Rivoli's, an Italian restaurant in Toms River that closed in 2016, is returning to the township with a sports bar and grill. As of press time, the restaurant was close to obtaining its certificate of occupancy for the business, which will open in the space previously occupied by Toms River Ale House. A highlight includes a sensory dining room for families of children with autism, with its own entrance. 1850 Hooper Ave.; rivolisgrillandchill.

Tacoholics, Red Bank: This is the third location for Tacoholics, which began as a Brick-based food truck before owners Nick DeAngelo, Robert Bruno and Lou Raccuglia opened a restaurant there. Next came a beachfront location in Manasquan, and the Red Bank restaurant, 90 Broad St., opened Sept. 26 in the space previously occupied by Sempre Cannoli. 732-458-8226, tacoholicsnj.com. 

Tavolo Forno, Fair Haven: An extension of Tavolo Pronto at 610 River Ave., Tavolo Forno is a new baking facility that will produce the baked goods sold at Patti and Arturo Balderas' market and bistro across the street. Tavolo Forno is in the space previously occupied by Kind Burger. tavolopronto.com. 

The Edge, Jackson: As of press time, the restaurant and bar was scheduled to open Oct. 2. 109 North County Line Road; 732-408-3343, theedgeinjackson.com. 

An 18-inch square pie topped with butter poached lobster, roasted garlic and mozzarella at The Galley Pizza & Eatery in Asbury Park.

The Galley, Asbury Park: The newest addition to Asbury Park, Kris Black's restaurant opened Sept. 27. It serves pizza, house-smoked prime rib and pastrami, dry-rubbed wings, house-made mozzarella, fries and burgers ($5 to $29). 1313 Memorial Drive in Sunset Plaza; 732-775-7711, thegalleyasbury.com.

Toss'd, Red Bank: The owners of Cé La Vi, formerly Whipped Creperie, will open this make-your-own salad spot at 6 Monmouth St. The space is the previous home of Whipped Creperie, which owners Nick Napoletano and Erica Lieberman relocated and renamed this spring at 16 Monmouth St. They also own Mr. Pizza Slice, 10 Monmouth St.

Yumi, Red Bank: The second location of the popular Sea Bright restaurant, known for its modern takes on sushi, opened Sept. 23 in the space previously occupied by Catch 19 and Gotham. 9 Broad St.; 732-842-8868, yumirestaurant.com.

Other restaurant news

Fred's Beach Haven Diner, Beach Haven: The restaurant, 305 N. Bay Ave., is for sale. It closed for the season Sept. 29. fredsbeachhavendiner.com.

Philly's Famous Cheesesteaks, Atlantic Highlands: The 10-year-old cheese steak and Italian hot dog restaurant, 1 West Ave., closed Sept. 29.  

Plantation Restaurant & Bar, Harvey Cedars: The restaurant announced in late September that it will close Oct. 12. Black Eyed Susans, also in Harvey Cedars, will relocate to the space next year. 7908 Long Beach Blvd.; 609-494-8191, plantationlbi.com.

PJ Lee's Mongolian BBQ, Brick: The restaurant at 706 Route 70, known for grilled-to-order dishes, has closed.

Ruocco's on 9, Howell: The Italian restaurant, 4344 Route 9 in Roseland Plaza, has closed. A second location, 345 Route 9 in Manalapan, opened in July. 732-851-5359, ruoccoson9.com.

Skillets Fresh Grill, Brick: The lunch and dinner restaurant at 645 Mantoloking Road, known for its chicken spiedie sandwiches, has closed. 

Smokey's Bar-B-Q, Surf City: The 15-year-old restaurant, which closed for the season in late September, is for sale. 609-276-1700.

Tspoon, Red Bank: The bubble tea restaurant at 15 White St. has closed.

Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey more than 15 years ago and has held a variety of positions since, but the work she does now is her favorite: food writing. Her favorite stories to write are the ones that make a difference for the Shore’s mom and pop restaurants. Write to her at sgriesemer@gannettnj.com and follow @jersey.shore.eats.