Photo-essay on city restaurants and bars through the years …
Long Branch has always had its share of good dining spots — places to relax and be waited on. To enjoy family, see friends, talk business, celebrate occasions, dine elaborately or just grab a quick bite. The city offers a wide variety of fare too. Here’s a pictorial retrospective on some of the city’s favorite eating places (and bars) — past and present. (And please return, as I’ll add to the collection):
Turning Point Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch
Menu for Success — Turning Point Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch in Pier Village opened in 2005. Monmouth Beach resident Kirk Ruoff started his restaurant chain business in 1998 with a modest 30-seat establishment in Little Silver. Today, he and his wife Pam successfully operate two dozen TP eateries in three states (15 in NJ). Another is coming to Ocean Twp. soon. — MORE INFO.
Farewell to a city institution — Tuzzio’s Italian Cuisine restaurant on Westwood Avenue, 2022. After more than 55 years of family-ownership, the popular eatery closed forever in December 2022. Whatever comes next at the location — there’s no replacing the warmth and style of Tuzzio’s.
Tuzzio’s restaurant, 2010s. Joseph and Margaret Tuzzio bought the place in 1965 when it was the “Silver Dollar Bar” (started by Tony and Angelina Grande in 1940). It became Tuzzio’s in 1975. A city native and US Air Force veteran, Joe, Sr. died in November 1992.
Joseph Tuzzio, Jr. behind his bar, 2021. Joe ran the classic-style Italian restaurant since his parents retired in 1985. The LBHS graduate became part-owner on his 18th birthday. In 2022, the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce offered a fitting and final tribute to Joe and his staff — recognizing them with the Louis G. Libutti Community Service Award. (APP Photo) MORE INFO.
Greater Long Branch Tavern Owners Association
Greater Long Branch Tavern Owners Association ad, Long Branch Daily Record, December 1956. Organized in February 1946, Nicholas Cittadino was the first president.
Chicken Delight on Broadway, 1960s. The Long Branch store was opened in 1967 by Jack Chayt.
Ristorante Bellavista on Ocean Avenue, 1990s. Luigi Maglione opened the Italian restaurant in North End with his parents (Francesco and Vincenza) in 1983. It became “Louie’s” in 1997 and “The Reef Club” in 2000.
The Continental Restaurant
The Continental Restaurant on Brighton Avenue, 1960s. Opened only 14 weeks during the summer season, this West End eatery sat 130 people and offered the finest in French and Italian cuisine (jackets for gents were required). Beginning before 1950, Frank Graziani would run the fancy eatery for 42 years. Born in Italy, he came to the city in 1922 and later served in the US Army during WW II. He died in May 1996. The old Victorian housing the restaurant was badly damaged in a 1989 fire.
Huhn’s Red Top Bar and Lunch
Huhn’s Red Top Bar and Lunch at Ocean Avenue and Laird Street, 1940s. Gladys and Edwin Huhn ran the business oppose the city pier for 26 years until 1950. The specialty was “hamburgers and frankfurters” served “behind shaded windows.” Both were city natives; Gladys died in January 1982; Ed in June 1975.
Harry’s Luncheonette on Brighton Avenue, 1960s. Long Branch native Henry M. Cioffi owned the business for 25 years; he died in March 1990. He son, Henry R., served three terms as city mayor (1970-1982). Vincent Mazzeo bought the popular West End eatery in 1967. He retired in 1988 and passed away in December 2002.
Linda’s Cliff House Restaurant-Motel
Many Identities — Linda’s Cliff House Restaurant-Motel at Brighton and Second Avenues, 1963. The West End location has hosted scores of other businesses through the years. Brothers William and Joseph Moore ran a tavern and boarding house here for over 25 years. A NYC native and 1909 city fire chief, William died in May 1955 and Joe passed in March 1958. Other names at the location include: “Ishkabibble’s”, “The Roost”, “The Sports Page”, and “Mary’s Husband’s Pub.”
Cold Grill — A rare photo of the WindMill under construction in West End, 1964. Opened in 1965 as a drive-in, “the Dutch windmill design” cost $12,000 to construct, according to the Long Branch Daily Record. Italian-native Frank Crisanto was the proprietor (Photo from Monmouth County Through Time, 2014; by Robert Gilinsky).
The Windmill in West End aerial image, May 2023.
The WindMill on Ocean Avenue in West End, 2022 — MORE INFO.
The WindMill in West End, 2000s.
The WindMill, 1970s. Leo and Ed Levine took control of the popular “comfort food” chain in 1976.
The WindMill, 2009. The Levine family sold the business to Ralph Epstein (he owns and operates the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune) in November 2022 — he pledged “only good things to come.”
Windmill of West End, 1970s.
The Windmill sketch, 1990s.
The Windmill, 2022. The wheel used to rotate at one time.
Classic WIndmill on Ocean Avenue.
“Happy 30th to Monmouth College” from The Windmill, 1960s. Late-night visits from nearby Monmouth U students has been a Windmill staple through the years.
In all kinds of weather — The WindMill, 2010s.
The Windmill in West End, 2021. The Windmill now has five area locations: Two in Long Branch (West End and North End), Asbury Park, Belmar and Red Bank.
“Windmill Hot Dogs, Long Branch, NJ” 2014 (Jimmy Leslie Image).
Celtic Cottage Pub & Patio Bar on Second Avenue, 2021. Kevin and Maureen Martin acquired the West End eatery in April 1995. The place was the “Happy Pickle” purchased by Bill and “Dottie” Becker in September 1968. Other names for the establishment were Moran’s Tavern, Max’s and Gulliver’s. MORE INFO.
J.J. Newberry, Co. luncheonette counter, Long Branch Daily Record, 1944. The Broadway nickel-and-dime store opened in July 1939 and closed in 2002. The counter could seat 70.
Nunzio’s Pizzeria on Westwood Avenue, 2000s. Nunzio and Thelma Chiafullo opened their Italian restaurant in April 1953 and the family still runs the popular eatery today. “A Long Branch landmark, retaining nostalgic charm in an ever-changing world” — MORE INFO.
Ron’s West End Pub
“Last Call” — Ron’s West End Pub, 2022. The popular bar and eatery (with plenty of good music too) — started in 1982 by Ron Heinzman and later run his son Randy — closed forever in April 2022. A Newark native and former school teacher, Ron died in January 2010. The West End Avenue spot had been Paddy Murray’s Inn from 1953.
Ron Heinzman behind his West End Pub bar. Asbury Park Press, December 1988. He told the APP, the house was built in 1853. Ron had also owned Melody Corner in Sea Bright.
Val’s Bar on Broadway, 2007. Owners for 35 years before retiring in 1987 were: Robert Oviladotti, a city native and US Army vet, who died in November 1993. And Valentine Bruno also a Long Branch native and a WW II vet, who died in January 1992. Eugene and Mary Kohloffer owned the Broadway bar prior to 1952.
Nick’s Bar on Broadway, 1947.
Surf Lounge on Ocean Avenue, 1964. The notorious West End restaurant was owned (from 1963-65) by local mobster Anthony “Little Pussy” Russo. It burned in March 1982 and Max’s now operates there. Frances McKee, a Surf waitress from 1962 to 1976, authored “Mobsters I Have Known and Loved” (Wasteland Press, 2009) about her time in Long Branch. A US Marine, teacher, mother, and singing-waitress, she died in April 2017.
Surf Lounge on fire, March 1982. The Ocean Avenue spot was known for its fine dining and Mafia connections. The business had been owed by local gangster, Anthony “Little Pussy” Russo who sold in 1965 and was murdered down the road in 1979.
Rockafellers Station restaurant and bar on Morris Avenue, 2010s. MORE INFO. For years the location was “Tony’s Tomato Pies” started by Anthony Chiafullo, Sr. in 1930 then run by his son “Chubby” from 1963 until his death in April 2012. Tony’s closed in June 2015.
Anthony “Chubby” Chiafullo, Jr. of “Tony’s Tomato Pies” making a pizza, mid-1990s.
Rockafellers Station interior, 2020.
MJ’s Restaurant Bar and Grill
The new MJ’s Restaurant Bar and Grill on Myrtle Avenue in Long Branch. The location has proved popular and successful in the past (as the RBI and the Sitting Duck), it reopened anew around Christmastime 2021. Starting out in 2009, MJ’s now has eight locations throughout the state. Good luck to new owners Angelo DiCapua and Rob Webster. MORE INFO.
Running Brook Inn “Grand Opening.” Long Branch Daily Record, October 1956. The “RBI” was on Myrtle Avenue near the WLB boarder. Anthony Tomaino ran the place for some 30 years beginning in 1956. Born in Italy and a WW II US Army vet, he died in October 1988. Robert Horseman opened the “Sitting Duck” at the spot in 1986. Gary Schoelkopf bought the restaurant (along with the Pour House, Main Street. USA, and Grist Mill restaurant chain) in 1992 and finally sold out in 2021.
O’Connor’s Diner at Broadway and 7th Street, 1940s. Little Silver native Joseph O’Connor took over the business in 1956; he died in March 1969. Previously, it had been the Broadway Diner owned by Chicago native Bill Krzan who died in August 1951 having just celebrated 25 years in business.
Broadway Diner ad. Long Branch Daily Record, February 1933.
Rex Restaurant & Pizzeria
Rex Restaurant & Pizzeria on Lower Broadway, APP, April 1976. Newark natives Fred and Fannie Tarantolo started their restaurant-pizzeria in 1940 — “Real Italian Food” was their pledge. The business closed in 1976. Fred died in December 1980; Fannie passed in June 1996.
Lower South Broadway, 1948. From left: Freddie’s Tavern & Package Goods and Rex Restaurant-Pizzeria. The city blighted the area in the mid-1970s and the buildings were razed.
The names of Nicholas and Peter Cammarano (sometimes Joseph Catalano) fill the local newspaper archives as to ownership and activity about a Broadway bar, tavern or grill — going back to 1937. The record is confusing. In later years, Marie and Michael Cammarano were the proprietors; she died in 2011 and he died in 1973. (Note: In 1954, according to the LB Daily Record, the Cammarano family was operating three city bars — on Broadway, Joline Avenue and Kensington Avenue. They also ran the Sportsmen’s Bar at Long Branch Stadium along the oceanfront). By 2000, the Broadway bar had closed and was replaced by Uptown Restaurant.
Mario’s Restaurant at 574 Broadway, 1960s. Opened in 1930, the pizza was considered among “the city’s best.” The eatery closed in 1969.
Scala’s Pizzeria on Brighton Avenue in West End, 2010s. MORE INFO. Owners since 2007 are John “Fazz” Zambrano and Will Johnson.
Freddie’s Pizzeria sign comes down, October 2019. Italian native Fred Scialla started the restaurant in 1944 and moved to its familiar location on Broadway in 1952. In February 1995, Mark Brockreide, a cousin, acquired the “thin-crust pizza” landmark and ran it ably for some 25 years. Today, the spot is Lezama’s Restaurant and Pizzeria (Jack Flaherty Photo).
Grand Opening of Freddie’s Restaurant & Pizzeria on Broadway, 1944. In 1952, the eatery moved across the street into the old Jackson’s Market building. Freddie’s closed in 2019.
Freddie’s Restaurant & Pizzeria — another grand opening, 1952.
John Scialla outside his Freddie’s Pizzeria on Broadway, 1988. He died in 2011. For a long time, Freddie’s thin-crust pizza had no peer.
Freddie’s Pizzeria: A classic special — Sausage & Peppers, 2013 (Jack Flaherty Photo).
The Bull Pen
Bull Pen restaurant at Second and Montgomery Avenues, 1970. Stephen Giddio (l) opened the West End eatery in 1967. By 1977, the spot became an oriental restaurant owned by Richard and Minnie Aamot. The NYC native and Monmouth College grad died in December 2014.
The Sea Loft
The Sea Loft along the ocean, 1980s. Stephen Giddio opened the $750,000 restaurant at Ocean and Cooper Avenues in 1981. Part of the development deal was a $250,000 DOE solar-energy grant — making it the first sun-powered eatery in NJ.
The Sea Loft, 1986. After closing in 1988, Gayle and Jack Rooney opened the “Ocean Crab House” at the location in 1995. Darrell Wordelmann now owns the restaurant.
Mac’s Embers Restaurant
Mac’s Embers Restaurant at Ocean and Brighton Avenues, 1964. George and Blanche Edwards started the popular West End eatery in 1956. Known as “the meating place of the Shore,” It operated under different owners until the mid-1970s.
Paddock Lounge on Chelsea Avenue, 1963. Newark-native Attilio “Artie” Agnellino opened the restaurant and bar in 1946 and made big additions in 1949 and 1955. In 1971, Agnellino went to jail for receiving stolen property. In 1972, the spot became The Embassy; in 1975, it was Jack Page’s; and in 1977, the Tideaway Lounge.
Tideaway Lounge on Chelsea Avenue ad, 1980s.
Tideaway Manor & Lounge bar on Chelsea Avenue, 1980s.
Nip-n-Tuck Bar & Grill
Nip-n-Tuck Bar & Grill on Norwood Avenue, 2019. Co-owners Bob Burtchaell and Jaime Healy run the place today. Julius “Ju-Ju” Tomaini, a former city councilman and WW II US Army vet, was the popular owner there from 1964 to 1990. He died in 2006.
Ocean View Bakery
Ocean View Bakery on Morris Avenue, 2019. Born in Italy, Giovanna and Ciro Avagliano started their city bakery in 1954. Customers came from near and far for the “best home-cooking.”
Ocean View Bakery at Morris and 7th Avenues, 1960s. After 65 years in business the city landramrk finally closed during Covid.
Ocean View Bakery inside, 2000s. Admired for her hard work, friendly-nature and touch with food, “Joanne” died in December 2021. Ciro passed away in Feb. 2017.
Branch Coach Diner
Branch Coach Diner on Third Avenue, 1974. This city eatery had many identities: it was also the Station Diner and Golden Coach Diner. It fact, that very building had housed the old Rockwell Diner which was moved by Dom Russomano, placed near the train station, and re-opened in May 1969. When the popular late-night eatery closed in December 1985 the owners were Tom Nicos and Nick Kassianos.
Long Branch Poultry Farm
Long Branch Poultry Farm on Branchport Avenue, 2022. German immigrants Hermann and Ann Reimann opened the city “chicken farm” in 1938. “Freshly Killed Poultry — Right From the Farrm!” was a 1950s ad pitch. (Sign by Ronald Perna).
Long Branch Poultry Farm on Branchport Avenue, 1958. By 1951, the city “chicken farm” was selling 30,000 chicken a year. Kyle Rymer, a third-generation family member, still successfully operates the business today.
Carvel Ice Cream Stand
Carvel Ice Cream Stand at Ocean and Brighton Avenues in West End, 1960s. Italian-born, LBHS-graduate Silvino DeSieno was the developer in 1961. He also was responsible for the Windmill and Beach Plum eateries. He died in June 2011.
Carvel in West End, 1960s. Today, the location is a Dunkin’ Donuts. DeSieno’s parents owned the nearby Quality Market of West End.
Strollo’s Lighthouse, 2021. The owner since 1987, city native Jimmy Callano and his team serve the best Italian Ice around — and has for a while now. MORE INFO.
New Strollo’s Lighthouse sketch proposal. Asbury Park Press, July 2008. Jay Measley was the project architect — an 815-square-foot building with 40-foot lighthouse.
Lighthouse night-time snack, 2020. Jim Callano “fulfilled his dream of building the ultimate Lighthouse” relocating in 2010. The place has been a hit from Day 1.
Strollo’s Lighthouse on Old Ocean Avenue in North End, 2017. Offering some two dozen different flavors of homemade Italian ice.
Old Strollo’s Lighthouse in North End, 2000. Early times — Ray Strollo opened the first Lighthouse in 1976 opposite Seven Presidents Park. His immigrant father started selling Italian Ice along the Long Branch beachfront in the 1930s.
Schneider’s Tap Room
Schneider’s Famous Tap Room on Broadway, 1940s. Isidor “Izzy” Schneider opened the Lower Broadway restaurant in 1933 — starting with just a bar and five tables. It proved very popular and expanded. The Lithuanian-born Schneider sold the business in 1966 and he died in July 1983. Abe Wolotsky and Harold Sawyer took over the business in 1966. Jack Murphy bought it for $150,000 in 1978. It was “Hunter’s Run” — a nude go-go bar serving fruit juice run by John Evichin in May 1988. The building was wrecked by a fire in July 1992.
Blue Crystal Restaurant
Blue Crystal Restaurant at 553 Broadway. Opened in September 1964 — “Charcoal Broiled” was the specialty at the popular eatery. Owner Lewis Travlos (r) ran the business with his wife Diana until retiring in 1985. Born in Greece, he served in the US Army in WW II; he died in 2005. Diana passed in 2003.
Yvonne’s “Rhapsody in Blue” Restaurant
Yvonne’s Rhapsody in Blue & Rendezvous Lounge, early 1970s. Opened in 1962, it was a popular dining and dancing night club in its day. Back then German-born hostess Yvonne Morel performed two shows a night, singing in English, French, and Spanish. The music stopped in 1987. The house was once the summer cottage of Anthony Drexel, the financier and Philadelphia college namesake.
Yvonne’s “Rhapsody in Blue” Restaurant ad. Long Branch Daily Record, 1969.
San Remo By-the-Sea Restaurant in West End, 1940s. Gene Folci established the club in 1925 in the old Drexel-Biddle family mansion on Ocean Avenue and owned it until the late 1940s.
Gene Folci’s Club San Remo on Ocean Avenue in West End, 1930s.
Club San Remo on Ocean Avenue in West End, 1950s.
Brighton Bar on Brighton Avenue in West End, 2018. Known popularly as the “home of live original music,” current owner Greg Macolino says the establishment dates to 1915 when started by the Beatty family. The bar closed its doors in 2021.
Brighton Bar ad. Long Branch Daily Record, May 1947. The bar closed for good in March 2021 — another victim of the pandemic.
Old Johnny’s Luncheonette on Atlantic Avenue, 1970s.
Johnny’s Luncheonette on Atlantic Avenue, 1960s. John Warren started the business in the 1950s. A true serviceman — Korean War US Army vet, LB city fireman, and clerk for the Monmouth Beach Post Office, John died in 1998.
Johnny’s Luncheonette, 1980s. The shop was moved here in 1981. Edwin A. Nilson, Sr. owned it for 20 years beginning in 1970. Born in Brooklyn, Ed was a LBHS football player, World War II US Navy vet, LB fire chief, and milkman. Ed died in 1990 (Dan Hennessey Photo).
Amy’s Omelette House
Amy’s Omelette House in Ursula Plaza on Ocean Bvld, 2021. It’s named for the boss, Amy Kopsaftis, who along with her family, has run the eatery since March 2003. There you can choose from over 200 omelets!
Long Branch Inn at Third and Morris Avenues, 1963. It later became Casey Jones Restaurant — a railroad themed eatery with real Conrail boxcars and a caboose added in 1979.
Long Branch Inn, 1973. The small attached building to the left was Nick’s Barber Shop.
Casey Jones at Third and Morris Avenues. Long Branch Daily Record, February 1973. Previous owners were Daniel Mack, Fred Walton, Peter Sacco and Robert Hulit (from 1960 to 1971).
Casey Jones, 1980s.
Casey Jones Restaurant, 1980s. Brothers-owners Marvin and Ed Moses sold the once very successful business in May 2003. After a failed diner effort at the location, the building was torn down in 2019.
Casey Jones Restaurant at Third and Morris Avenue gets its rail car, 1978. Previously the spot was the Long Branch Inn (1935), Ten Eyck (1912), and P. McEilany Hotel (1889).
Casey Jones Restaurant, 2000s. The caboose has been in place since 1979.
For a while, after the old Casey Jones restaurant closed the spot was a diner, 2017.
Ilvento’s West End Manor
Charlie (r) and Joe Ilvento (l) at their West End Manor, 1981. The family restaurant opened on Ocean Avenue in May 1950. The business was sold in 1987.
Ilvento’s West End Manor, 1987. The restaurant got a major upgrade in 1965.
West End Manor interior postcard, 1960s.
West End Manor postcard, 1970s. The manor’s fanquet facilities could accommodate up to 225.
Sirianni’s Friendly Café
Sirianni’s Friendly Café family, 1988. Italian-born Sam Sirianni opened a restaurant (then just Sam’s Bar) on Brighton Avenue in January 1938. By 1959, his son Anthony “Tut” Sirianni was in charge and he and his sons would make upgrades and run the popular West End eatery until 1991.
Anniversary celebration at Sam Sirianni’s Bar (later to be Sirianni’s Friendly Cafe), 1949. Father and son owners Sam and Tut Sirianni are behind the bar. Both Italian-born, Sam died in November 1970 and Tut died in July 2007.
Ralph DeFazio and Sam Sirianni at the start of their new business, January 1938.
Jack’s Goal Line Stand on Brighton Avenue, 2020. The now popular West End sports bar formerly housed Sirianni’s. MORE INFO. Jack Teehan opened Jack’s Rib and Ale House here in 1994.
Inkwell Coffee House
Old Inkwell Coffee House in West End just prior to its demolition, 2023.
Inkwell Coffee House, 2020. The legendary West End eatery ceased operations in May 2022.
Inkwell Coffee House, 1973. When Joe Distasio opened the business in 1965, it was on the corner of Brighton & Second Avenues in West End.
Original Inkwell Coffee House, 1969.
Inkwell in West End, 2010s. The eatery moved a couple of blocks south in 1979. The Esposito family acquired the business in 2001.
Inkwell coffeehouse entrance, 1970s.
Old Inkwell prior to demolition, April 2023 (Link New Photo).
Arcadia Grill on the boardwalk ad (it later became Maher’s Restaurant). Long Branch Daily Record, June 1930.
Maher’s Restaurant on the boardwalk interior, 1950s. Cost to build the 250-seat restaurant was $50,000.
Maher’s Restaurant on the LB Boardwalk, 1954. Owner Daniel J. Maher was a former LB city mayor (1956-60). The business suffered major fires in 1960 and 1963.
New Arcadia Grill on the boardwalk. Long Branch Daily Record, August 1930. Called “the last word in modernism”– the restaurant cost $50,000 to built and could seat 250. The color scheme was tan & green. The owner was Daniel J. Maher, a future city mayor (1956-1960) who owned much of the surrounding pier/boardwalk area.By Summer 1936, it was called Maher’s. The spot was hit by several fires in the 1960s and rebuilt; it was finally wrecked in a April 1969 blaze. Maher sold his boardwalk properties including the eatery in 1964 to Jay Jay Realty.
Maher’s on the LB boardwalk, 1940s.
Maher’s Sea Food Restaurant on the boardwalk, 1962.
Jimmy’s Jetty on the Boardwalk, August 1975. In 1968 Jui Yung “Jimmy” Liu acquired a large section of the boardwalk — making Jimmy’s Jetty with The Cafe Bar, Jimmy’s Famous Hot Dogs and a Chinese-Seafood Restaurant. He also owned the Exxon station on Broadway and many city rental properties. According to a July 1977 Long Branch Daily Record profile, “hard work” and “wheeling and dealing,” were the keys to his success. Born in Shanghai, China in 1929, Jimmy launched nearly 40 US restaurants before his death in September 2002.
Pier Pub on fire, 1987. Edward Cross and Robert Sussman acquired an old fisherman’s sandwich shop at the end of the pier in 1977 and rebuilt as a nautical-motif restaurant-nightclub with spectacular ocean views. In 1981, Francis Marincola acquired the business. It all burned in June 1987.
Pier Pub on fire, June 1987.
Num’s Bar-Cafe on the Boardwalk, 1970s. Francis Marincola was an owner.
Num’s on the Boardwalk, 1980. Steven Grulich opened Num’s. He also opened Ichabod’s in Sea Bright in December 1979.
Num’s menu, 1970s.
Cafe Bar on the boardwalk after fire, September 1984. Nick Manetti was an owner.
Peter’s Pavilion on the boardwalk, 1950s. Over the years it was candy maker, luncheonette and restaurant. Before 1918, Peter Karunos and Samuel Arvanitis were operating Peter’s Candy Kitchen on the boardwalk.
Peter’s Pavilion inside, 1950s. Born in Sparta, Greece, Peter ran the business until his death in September 1954. Arvanitis passed away in October 1952.
Peter’s Salt Water Taffy — early days on the boardwalk, 1920s (Long Branch Public Library Photo).
Peter’s Pavilion on the Boardwalk, 1950s.
Peter’s Pavilion on the Boardwalk, 1934.
George’s Bar & Grill
George’s Bar & Grill was on the Long Branch Recreation Pier, 1950s.
TV news reporters at LB pier fire conduct interviews outside Pistol Pete’s restaurant, June 1987.
Pistol Pete’s Saloon ad, 1970s. Beginning in 1972, William Tsarouhis was a longtime owner.
Pistol Pete’s corner at Ocean Blvd and Chelsea Avenue, 1970s. On peak summer days, the eatery had 30 employees waiting on 3,500+ customers.
Junior’s on the LB boardwalk, 1979 (Dan Hennessey Photo).
Junior’s Restaurant on the LB Pier 1960s. George Cafantaris was the owner/operator for 39 years — growing it from a small ice cream stand to a full-service restaurant on the boardwalk. Everything was lost in the June 1987 pier fire. A WW II vet, he lived in Spring Lake for 50 years. Known as “a living institution on the pier,” the Massachusetts native died in April 2009.
Big Al’s on the boardwalk, 1980s.
Big Al’s on the boardwalk, 1980s.
Big Al’s goes up in smoke during the pier fire, June 1987.
Gaskin’s Fish Market
“Gaskin’s Smokery” stores — side-by-side in the 1950s. About 60-feet separated brothers Conover and George and their fish markets. MORE INFO.
Gaskins Fish Market & Restaurant on New Ocean Avenue, 1979. Son and mother owners, George and Helen Gaskin, opened the 170-seat eatery in June 1978. It went bankrupt in 1981. At the time of the filing, E.O. Peterson, Inc. of Monmouth Beach was the top creditor, owed nearly $47,000. It reopened only to close again 1984.
Adventurer Motel & Restaurant
Adventurer Motel on Ocean and North Bath Avenues opened in 1959. The 78-room complex included a pool, coffee shop, cocktail lounge, 200-seat restaurant and TV in every room. Frank Montemurro built and ran the $400,000 motel. It was torn down in 1974.
Long Branch McDonald’s
Long Branch McDonald’s undergoing a remodeling, 2021. The Broadway fast-food franchise was first opened in August 1983 by Ernie George, a former music teacher and professor in NYC. The New Orleans native died in May 1997. The renovated shop reopened in April 2021.
China Inn, 1964. The Broadway restaurant was opened in 1959 and moved across the road in 1965. Jui Yung “Jimmy” Liu was the owner. The China native came to America in 1949.
China Inn on Broadway, 1970s,
Tory’s Restaurant, 1920s. Located at South Broadway and Ocean Avenue, the building was previously the Casino Annex and was owned by the city. Prior to Tory’s, the spot was the Ocean Club run by Robert J. Slater for many years.
Tory’s Restaurant ad. APP, July 1927. Tory Kawamoto, a Japanese native who came to America in 1904, leased it for $1,500/year and ran a very popular eatery starting in 1925. It burned in a suspicious April 1929 fire. He operated another Tory’s Restaurant on Monmouth Road in WLB since 1924. Worried about his business and the WW II conflict, Tory committed suicide outside Hazard Hospital in October 1942.
Long Branch Saloon
Long Branch Saloon on Lower Broadway, early 1980s. In the late 1970s, the place was a go-go bar known as the “Bottom-of-the-Barrel.” The city “blighted” the area in 1984.
Cheers Food & Drink
Cheers Food & Drink on Broadway, 1980s. George Beckett opened the place in 1983.
The Piano Bar
“The Piano Bar” on Third Avenue between Broadway and Belmont Avenue. Opened December 1951 — offering “choice cuisine and fine music every night” — Nancy and Pasquale “Pat” Simonetti were owners. Her father was Vito Genovese, one of the most powerful Mob bosses of his day. The business closed in 1962.
Charley’s Ocean Bar & Grill
Charley’s Ocean Bar & Grill on Avenel Blvd, 2019. Charles “Chuck” Barondess opened the restaurant in April 1985. He and his wife Joann also started the Hook, Line and Sinker in Rumson in 1972 and Ichabod’s Bar & Grill in Sea Bright in 1979. Ted Pappayliou bought “Charley’s” in 2005.
“Che Chee’s” Red Barn & Cocktail Lounge on Avenel Blvd., 1980s. In 1965, Frank and Marguerite Gimbrone acquired the business. He died in 1978; she in 2017.
Charley’s Ocean Grill “Grand Opening” ad, April 1985.
Cappy’s Arrow Inn at North Long Branch ad, May 1958. Casper J. Anselmi acquired the business in November 1954. A former NYPD rackets squad detective, he was beaten to death while working as a security guard at the Pierre Hotel in NYC in 1965. The business is now Charley’s.
The Beach Plum restaurant on old Ocean Avenue, 1980s. The place opened in June 1978. Silvino DiSieno ran the business.
Vinnie’s Italian Hot Dogs
Vinnie’s Italian Hot Dogs on old Ocean Avenue, 1980s. Vincent Limongelli, who started out selling hot dogs by push-cart, opened the business in 1972. A former US Marine, he died in July 2003
I’ve got to find a photo of my parents’ restaurant on Cottage Place in West End — The Carriage House. Opened in 1950 or thereabouts.
This is a fascinating piece by Mike and Greg. Brings back a ton of memories. I always felt that it was at The Reservation that Winslow Homer painted his famous “On the Bluffs at Long Branch.” So good to learn all the history of The Reservation.
Nice going Mike!
How about a piece on Long Branch bowling alleys? Coast Lanes, Perry’s, the one uptown. There might have been more?