In the 1930s, women in skirted bathing suits and gents shaded under boater hats flocked to the beaches of the Jersey Shore. When they grew hungry or hot, they strolled the boardwalk looking for treats, often intrigued by the frosty cups of flavored ice sold by a young Italian immigrant. That man, Tony Strollo, crafted ices from old family recipes in his garage before shuttling them to the beach in a gasping, converted bus. Over the years, Tony’s frosty treats became staples for vacationing families and discerning hummingbirds. When Tony passed his sugar-stained recipes on to his son in the '70s, Ray faced the challenge of meeting the growing demand. He tinkered with the recipes to make them in bulk within the churning, swirling belly of a soft-serve machine.
Today, a third-generation Strollo keeps the summer tradition alive at Strollo's Lighthouse Italian Ice, which has expanded to four storefronts and earned a feature on the Food Network. Still homemade, the nectarous delights include rich ice cream as well as many flavors of Italian ice. Hot from the still-popular beaches or virtual summer camp, modern families clamor for flavors of root beer, pistachio, blue raspberry, coconut, and Oreo.
Befitting their Jersey Shore locale, the cooks at F-Cove Restaurant specialize in seafood. Using ingredients sourced from local farms and waters, the culinary team dabbles in some seafood mainstays, like peel-and-eat shrimp tossed in spicy seasonings for a fiery kick. Mostly, though, the F-Cove crew experiments with textures and flavors, sprinkling toasted almonds atop browned grouper and stirring mussels and bacon into garlic beer sauce. Those upscale tweaks dominate the BYOB restaurant’s remaining menu, which takes on steak-house classics like 14-ounce pork chops paired with bourbon apples and London-inspired burgers grilled in worcestershire sauce.
In the kitchen at Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe, artisan chocolatier Matt Magyar is hard at work sprinkling real sea salt over his handmade dark-chocolate caramels. As he describes to the Manasquan-Belmar Patch, “I had on-the-job training when I started making chocolate on the boardwalk in Seaside when I was 14.” Decades later, his training is evident in the vast array of tasty treats he crafts each day. Trays proudly showcase homemade treats such as chocolate nut clusters, caramel cranberry sea turtles, and rooster leggs.
Through a set of solid mahogany doors, the dining room at Remington’s teems with seasonal dishes inspired by the Jersey Shore. Executive Chef Dominick Rizzo gathers ingredients from farmers, fishmongers, and local cheese makers from the tri-state area, letting the harvest inform his constantly changing menu of upscale American cuisine. Recent dishes have included locally caught fluke sautéed with yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and served with lentils and a drizzle of chive oil. For libations, Remington’s sommeliers refer to a long list of wines from Europe, South America, and California. All this good cooking comes with good scenery to match—there’s a 5-foot freshwater aquarium decorating the dining room, alongside hand-painted murals of beaches, ocean scenes, and Moondoggie’s leash.
What started as a simple café is today an all-encompassing food emporium and market, all under the Juana Banana moniker. Within the crisp golden crust of the café’s classic empanadas, the chef seals in beef, potatoes, or spinach, forming just one of the traditional Colombian-inspired choices on the versatile eatery’s café menu. Whether guests stop in for lunch or to browse through Juana’s produce section, panini sandwiches make a popular treat with their fresh-baked bread and warm ham, chorizo, roasted pork, or vegetable fillings. As guests sip on Colombian coffee, they may catch notes of caramel and ripe berries, making the blend a complementary companion for the bakery’s sweet pandebonos—bread made with cheese and cassava starch. Customers may enjoy their meals at either table or lounge seating, using the free wireless Internet access to work or to pull up slideshows of palm trees to complete the tropical ambiance. Catering is also available to help customers bring Juana’s take on South American cuisine home.
Beginning with certified Angus and USDA Prime beef and a wood-burning grill and smoker, Prime 13?s Executive Chef Lou Smith forges hearty, foodie-friendly American comfort cuisine. Ranging from an 8-ounce filet to a 44-ounce porterhouse, the steaks can emerge from the kitchen topped with anything from decadent foie gras to a signature barbecue sauce made with maple, smoked tomato, and chipotle peppers. The protein-laden menu draws equally from the land and the sea, featuring house-cured bacon and char-grilled pork chops alongside wild-caught Brazilian lobster tails and a chef's selection of oysters that changes daily, much like the color of most Stop signs.
In the dining room, the chefs also serve as the entertainment. In addition to peeking into the open kitchen to check on their steaks, diners can watch the grill?s action on flat-screen televisions. Recessed lighting illuminates pastel walls, which hold rustic touches such as chalkboards and wrought-iron shutters.