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Arts Entertainment Dining Guide 2018
Jun 07, 2018

Arts, Entertainment, & Dining Guide 2018

By Lori Draz

Arts Entertainment Dining Guide 2018

Summer is here at the Jersey Shore. There is a reason this magnificent area is known all over the country as a recreation hotspot. Nobody does fun like we do. Dining, theater, thrills, relaxing, sports, surf, dancing, you name it, we do it – Jersey Shore style! We present our arts, entertainment, dining guide to give you a sample of the many wonderful ways to celebrate a summer day and night. Get out and enjoy!

26 West on the Navesink 

26 West Front St., Red Bank


Open Monday 4 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday noon to 10 p.m.; Thursday noon to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday noon to midnight; Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A taste of Nantucket on the Navesink awaits you at 26 West on the Navesink. With the gorgeous backdrop of the spectacular Navesink River, this gastropub offers coastal cuisine, two bars with a huge wine and beer selection and craft cocktails, along with a raw bar, Happy Hour specials and early week dining specials. The cool blue and white interior offers numerous dining and congregating areas, including a main dining room, cozy alcoves, two private party rooms, and a new rooftop dining room for an unparalleled view of Red Bank’s most breathtaking sights.

In addition to their regular menu, they have gluten and allergy sensitive menus. They also have daily specials, like a Monday through Friday Appy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. with a selection of appetizers and $5 alcoholic beverages. Every Monday is All You Can Eat Mussel Monday in your choice of a red, white wine and garlic, or a lemon grass saffron cream with one free glass of wine or beer. On Tuesday, it’s half off at the raw bar and specially priced rose wines. Wednesday is two for $20 burgers and half off drafts. Thursday is a wine and cheese pairing night, and $3 off Fat Tires on Fridays.

For the perfect spot to relax, celebrate, and breath in the beauty of the Navesink, go and enjoy 26 West on the Navesink.

Aqua Rentz Boat Rentals at Ocean Beach Marina

3245 Route 35 South, Lavallette

Aqua Rentz 732-597-1957 Ocean Beach Marina 732-793-7460, Ext. 34

Open seven days a week, beginning at 8 a.m.

If you’ve dreamed of being a boat owner, at least for a day or two, you can rent your choice of a great lineup of powerboats and pontoon boats at Aqua Rentz Boat Rentals in Lavallette. Spend the day fishing, get the greatest tan of the summer, or cruise and fish in the Barnegat Bay. Your powerboat options include bowriders, center consoles, and pontoon boats that can accommodate parties of up to 10 passengers. Aqua Rentz offer half-day, full-day, and multi-day rentals based on your preferences. No boater’s license required, but you must be at least 25 years old. Prohibited are drugs, alcohol and tow sports.

Celebrate, relax, or treat your out-of-town guests to a real slice of the Jersey Shore. You can even pick up breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Channel Marker Café, also at the Ocean Beach Marina. Be the captain of your ship at Aqua Rentz at Ocean Beach Marina.

Blu Grotto Beer Garden and Ristorante 

200 Port Au Peck Ave., Oceanport


Open Wednesday and Thursday noon to 9 p.m.; Friday noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday 5 to 10 p.m.; Sunday 4 to 9 p.m.

Check out the Beer Garden at Blu Grotto, Oceanport’s nighttime entertainment destination.

Located on the grounds of Monmouth Park Racetrack, the Beer Garden at Blu Grotto is open Thursday thru Sunday all summer long.  With nightly food and drink specials including house-made, authentic pizzas and other Italian specialties, the Beer Garden at Blu Grotto is the perfect summer spot for a relaxed night out.

Over 20 beers are on tap at the Beer Garden, and everything is served in a relaxed, yet sophisticated, environment. Nightly entertainment includes many local bands. Whether you’re looking for a spot to hang out after a day at the races, or a place to spend a relaxed Friday night, the Beer Garden at Blu Grotto has something for everyone.

For those looking for an elegant dinner, look no further than Blu Grotto Ristorante, located directly above the Beer Garden.  Blu Grotto serves modern and classic adaptations of regional Italian classics, hand-made and imported pastas, fresh seafood, and prime steaks Tuesdays through Sundays.

The state-of-the-art restaurant also features a deep and eclectic wine and cocktail list, served in an environment that has to be seen to be believed.

Dinner reservations are recommended. Call 732-571-7900 or via Open Table.

The Channel Marker Café 

3245 Route 35 South, Ocean Beach Marina in Lavallette


Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week

The real spirit of the Jersey Shore awaits you at the Channel Marker Café. The casual, friendly, and delicious locale is right on the channel, behind the Ocean Beach Marina. They made a lot of changes to bring you more of what you love. New Executive Chef Mark Longo promises many new and exciting menu surprises, in addition to all your favorites like the freshest fish in the area,  big beautiful salads, and the best fish and chips this side of Boston. There’s a refreshed décor and even a raw bar.

Channel Marker Café is open again for breakfast lunch, and dinner, seven days a week. Enjoy one of the most scenic locations and the most gorgeous sunsets in the area. Dine indoors, outdoors on the wrap-around deck, even on your boat. The Channel Marker has plenty of choices for kids, dock and dine, daily specials, and live entertainment every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

You can have a quick bite to go, savor a seafood lunch of dinner, try out their signature burgers (with a special blend of beef ground exclusively for them), share some tasty appetizers, and relax. The Channel Marker Café can even host your next party of up to 50 people, and your guests will never forget the easy, breezy waterfront fun.

You will love the food, the boats, the view, and lots more. You bring the bottle, they’ll supply the buckets along with plenty of smiles!

Community YMCA

At 166 Maple Ave., Red Bank, 732-741-2504

At 201 Broad St., Matawan, 732-566-9266

At 3911 Herbertsville Road, Wall, 732-836-9177

For general information, hours, camp information and more,

visit, email or call 732-671-5505

The best summer ever happens at YMCA Camp. The Community YMCA is offering kids their best summer ever through enriching camp activities and learning experiences to help them get more out of the summer break – more learning, more exploration and more achievement. From arts to archery, canoeing to cannonballs, at Y camp, kids make new friends, learn new skills, build confidence, and most of all, have fun!

Discover safe and unforgettable experiences for kids ages 2 ½ to 15 at YMCA summer camp locations across Monmouth County.

At the Child Achievement Center in Matawan kids learn, grow and thrive over the summer months at climate-controlled Summer Daze Camp for grades K through 6 and Preschool Summer Camp for kids ages 2 1/2 to 5.

In Red Bank kids ages 5 to 12 will explore teamwork and sportsmanship through a variety of recreational activities including sports themes, swimming, arts and crafts and trips to local parks. Aquatics specialty camps are also available.

At Camp Zehnder in Wall preschoolers to teens of all abilities enjoy outdoor adventures on 140 acres, with an outdoor aquatics complex, KaBoom! Playground, shade pavilions, biking trails, soccer fields, basketball court and fishing pond, plus a dose of social responsibility for teens.

Y camp adventures run June 18 through August 31! One week or the whole summer. Indoors or out. On their own or in a group. At YMCA summer day camps, kids enjoy enriching experiences in a safe, inclusive and nurturing environment.

 DeMarcos Catering & Gourmet Deli

1121 Route 34, Aberdeen


Open Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Family owned and operated since 1975, De Marco’s Catering has been trusted by thousands for fine Italian food and delicious catering.

Eugene DeMarco says, “We’re a family here. We love to see happy customers and to treat them like family.”

DeMarco’s wide variety of catering items include hot buffets, cold buffets, party platters, carving station, seafood, pizza, and a host of delicious salads and specialty breads. Those who enjoy a traditional Italian Easter will recognize the holiday delicacies like Pizza Rustica, Easter Bread, and Pizza Ghean, and a gift basket full of baked cookies will make you the hit of the party.

The deli features popular brands including Boar’s Head, Thumann’s, Deitz & Watson, and a variety of specialty salamis, meats and cheeses, including homemade mozzarella, made daily in the store.

Their soups and sauces are all made fresh, never frozen, and there’s a selection of over 25 different daily take-out entrees too.

DeMarco’s was voted Central Jersey’s Best Caterer by NJ Monthly magazine and they offer full off-premises catering, with waiter/waitress service, bartenders, and barbeque catering for those sizzlin’ summer affairs.


Monmouth County Music Lessons

Serving all of Monmouth County

732-872-4053 or email

If you’ve always wanted to learn an instrument, you can study in the comfort of your home, regardless of your age or skill level, thanks to Monmouth County Music Lessons. They offer private music instructions for dozens of instruments in your home. Monmouth County Music Lessons believes that music is a verb; it’s something you do, and you will not only learn a new instrument but unlock new levels of critical thinking.

Their team of highly qualified, degreed teachers bring their expertise and passion to your own home. There is no instrument they cannot teach. Every instrument has a unique voice and so does every student, so they customize instructions based on the individual’s specific needs.

Daniel Lotito, a professional musician and teacher, started Monmouth County Music Lessons in 2015 because of his love of helping people discover themselves through music. They teach all ages, skill levels and musical genres. Students then showcase their efforts in bi-annual recitals.

Dan earned a master’s degree in music education from Monmouth University. He is a certified and licensed music teacher for grades K-12 and has taught music in public and private schools. He has been the conductor of a 60-piece band, and has performed both locally and abroad. “It is a privilege to guide students through music and to witness the personal growth that music and my lessons creates,” he said.

Monmouth County Music Lessons offers the first lesson for free, so instructors and students can create a foundation to begin the rewarding journey into music. Fees are comparable to in-store lessons, with the convenience of staying in your home.

Patricia’s of Holmdel

2132 Route 35 in The Commons at Holmdel

732-275-0234 or email

Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

You’ll find Italian Cuisine, just like your Nonna used to make, at Patricia’s of Holmdel. All their dishes are made with the finest ingredients. The most popular dishes are pappardelle Bolognese, and short rib and Sunday sauce, but all their dishes get great reviews. There are specials each day with different seafood and meat selections that are always delicious.

Patricia’s of Holmdel is consistently top rated on Open Table, Yelp, TripAdvisor and diners guides.

Keep your eyes open for their gorgeous, brand-new, all-seasons private banquet room that will feature glass walls and ceiling. It’s scheduled to open sometime in early summer.

Patricia’s of Holmdel offers build-your-own family style menus for parties of eight or more.

They are happy to accommodate those with a variety of food allergies, and they even offer a wide variety of gluten-free options labeled (G) on the menus. They are happy to replace any pasta or pizza dish with gluten-free products as well.

The dedicated staff is amazing; most of them have been at Patricia’s since day one. Owner Frank Brusco thanks their loyal customers: “We wouldn’t be who we are today without the continuous support of our diners. We are so excited to see what the future brings us.”

Call Amanda for any party or general questions.

Phoenix Productions


59 Chestnut St., Red Bank 

Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Red Bank’s Phoenix Productions is proud to have mounted close to 150 full-scale productions at the Count Basie Theatre over its 30-year history. The company takes pride in fulfilling the part of its mission statement that reads “For our performers, designers and craftspeople, we aim to provide a nurturing, professional-quality environment in which they can polish and display their talents.”

That goal, according to Arts Education Director Jennifer Grasso, led to the development of the Rising Star Academy, a unique initiative and launching pad for young talent. Dozens of youngsters have advanced to mainstage productions at the Count Basie, with some moving on to professional careers.

Take Lily Grace Riddle. After paying her dues in Phoenix’s triple-threat Rising Star program, and appearing in several Phoenix shows at the Count Basie, she played roles in summer stock and will soon be seen with Emma Stone in a forthcoming television series.

“We are constantly astounded at the level of talent among area youngsters,” notes Grasso. “We are honored to help develop that talent, and overjoyed when our work bears fruit and they blossom.”

The Phoenix Rising Star Academy offers after-school classes in musical theatre, one-day master classes hosted by Broadway performers, and intensive sessions leading to the junior productions of hit Broadway shows. The summer camp offers two sessions of three-week full-day and half-day sessions beginning July 9.

Theatergoers, get your tickets for In The Heights at the Count Basie Theatre on June 22, 23 and 24, and the Camp Phoenix junior productions of Aladdin, and 13 the Musical, beginning July 9 at the Phoenix Performing Arts Center.

Pinot’s Palette Red Bank

12 Broad Street, on the first floor in Red Bank


Hours change daily – visit the website for current events and classes

Anyone can be a Picasso at Pinot’s Palette – the upscale paint and sip destination in Red Bank. You don’t need to have paintbrushes, art supplies or even any art experience to join in a fun night of painting, music and friends. In two or three hours, you can create a festive painting by following our artists’ directions at the front of class. You are also welcome to be bold and create your own masterpiece! It’s your art! Pinot’s Palette Red Bank has public group classes or you can book a private party for any occasion – bachelorette party, birthday parties for kids and adults, class trips, fundraisers, team building, corporate parties and more will all be masterpieces of fun.

Pinot’s Palette Red Bank also sells gift certificates online or in the studio. They make the perfect gift for anyone looking for a fun experience! Their mission is to bring art to the masses in a fun and entertaining way with extraordinary customer service! So come – Paint. Drink. Have Fun. Cheers!

Spring Lake Community House and Theatre

300 Madison Ave., Spring Lake

732-449-4530,, email

Box Office hours are Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Nestled in the center of the charming seaside village of Spring Lake, the 95-year-old Community House serves as the home of the Spring Lake Theatre Company. The company has been presenting Broadway quality shows for over forty years. Patrons know they will always be treated to consistently lavish sets, exquisite costuming and exceptionally talented casts at all of their productions. They never disappoint.

Additionally, for over 35 years The Spring Lake Community House and Theatre has also offered one of the best children’s theatre workshops and dance programs in the area. The Summer Programs provide a fun, safe, healthy and nurturing environment for children to express themselves. Each year, students return for the authentic theatrical experience of performing with their friends on the beautiful stage of this landmark theatre where the facilities are second to none.

They invite you by saying “Please visit soon- There is Always Something Wonderful Happening Here.”

The Spring Lake Community House is a nonprofit organization that depends on the success of its theatre productions, children’s programs and donations to maintain this historic building. Treat yourself to an upcoming show, you’ll be glad you did.

Taste of Italy

4060 Asbury Ave., The Shoppes at Tinton Falls, Tinton Falls (south)


1201 Sycamore Ave., Falls Village, Tinton Falls (north)


Open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Since 1996, Jimmy Pecci’s Taste of Italy has been bringing you the very best that Italy has to offer. Visit either of their Gourmet Market/ Delis/Caterers and you’ll see that maybe just a taste won’t do. You will taste that Italian pride in all their dishes. They treat their guests as though they were members of their family. Their mission is to serve the freshest and highest quality foods with a delicious personal touch.

Jimmy Pecci’s Taste of Italy has been recognized through the years and received many awards including the Best Market from Monmouth Health and Life, and Monmouth and Ocean County Best of the Best by the Asbury Park Press. Why cook when you can bring home some of their well-known homemade entrees that use family recipes? There’s fresh homemade mozzarella and sausage, the incredible Brooklyn bread and cookies, and for a fast lunch or dinner, choose one of their famous subs.

Let Jimmy Pecci’s Taste of Italy cater your next party, large or small. They do it all and even offer full-service wait staff, bartenders and servers. They come to you, or check out some of their beautiful venues.

They say, “From Our Family to Yours” so visit one of the markets and be a part of the family too.

Tuscany Specialty Foods and Catering

130 A South Main St., Marlboro


285 Gordon’s Corner Road, Manalapan


Open Monday to Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Authentic, superior, and proven best describe the reasons for Tuscany Specialty Foods and Catering tremendous success. Tuscany celebrates its 21st year of preparing its excellent delectable dishes and baked goods. Owners Vinny LaFranca and Sal Faenza have devoted their masterful culinary skills and penchant for detail to create the winning combination of flavor, freshness, and service to make Tuscany the high caliber emporium it is.

Summer means barbecue foods and outdoor entertaining. Tuscany has specialty barbecue foods and custom menus for every gathering. Graduation parties, birthdays, family reunions, Father’s Day, vacation get-togethers and easy backyard pool parties are seasonal times to enjoy.

Tuscany is ready with its fresh meats, poultry, and seafood that taste great on the grill. Combine this with Tuscany’s quality produce, imported cheeses, and melt-in-your-mouth savory summer salads. They offer full-service catering, providing sensational food and everything from grills, grillers, wait staff, bartenders, and linens. All you do is relax, eat, and enjoy your family and friends.

Tuscany’s fabulous bakery items include fresh bread baked daily, biscotti, heavenly pastries, pies and custom cakes created and baked on the premises by Tuscany’s accomplished baker from Italy. As always, Tuscany’s delectable eggplant dishes, myriad choices of pasta, brick oven pizza (Marlboro location only), outstanding homemade mozzarella and ricotta, dry sausage and soppressata are yours for the asking.

Gatherings small and large, at home or work, Tuscany is a crowd pleaser. Tuscany is built on love of people, love of food, quality, and careful attention to detail. Call or visit Tuscany today, and if you don’t see your favorite, just ask. They do everything, including gluten free.

Sunday, June 3 is Customer Appreciation Day at Tuscany (Marlboro location only). Visit from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy food samples and fun for the children.

Union Jacques

317 State Route 34 North, Colts Neck

732-414-6991 and Facebook UnionJacquesColtsneck

Open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Colts Neck’s newest eatery, Union Jacques Restaurant, offers diners a delicious merger of French and New England cuisines that is sure to delight. You’ll find steak, seafood and chicken with a French infusion, as well as the best New England style steak and seafood.

You’ll never be bored at Union Jacques. The creative culinary team pride itself on bringing the best of the daily market to your table, so the menu changes weekly to highlight whatever is the freshest and finest. Specials and weekly menu selections are updated by Thursday afternoons on

There are classics like French onion soup and chowders, plus featured dishes like Coq au Vin, Angus prime rib, and fondues. Union Jacques also offers a friendly brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, along with onsite and off-site catering for all your parties.

The chefs of Union Jacques are graduates of The French Culinary Institute and are dedicated to providing patrons with a pleasant atmosphere and unique takes on traditional cuisine. Additionally, they are very sensitive to those with food allergies. The chefs are trained in safe handling and have worked in the medical field and have training in Anaphylaxis shock /food allergies.