Tommy’s of Sea Bright has MB Flavor
It’s my new go-to spot for food and drink — Tommy’s Tap + Tavern in Sea Bright — I just love the place. And it’s all thanks to the vision and hard work of a Monmouth Beach resident and his family.
Long known for seashore hospitality, the borough of Sea Bright is having a superb renaissance after the disastrous impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. As a Sea Bright resident for the past two years, I’ve watched the revival. And one of the most classy and exciting displays of this rebirth is the culinary effort of the Bonfiglio family.
Named for owner Thomas J. Bonfiglio, the tavern opened in the Summer of 2015 and has been packing them in ever since. Bonfiglio, an attorney and accountant, runs the restaurant with his family. From the moment you walk in, it’s easy to tell that they did things right. I’ve never been disappointed — the locale, the service, the food, the drink, all are topnotch.
By meticulously restoring with lots of creativity and love a rundown 6,700-square-foot building, the family has made a fabulous investment in Sea Bright and their success is well-deserved. In an age when genuine hospitality is so hard to find, the Bonfiglios and their staff make it look easy.
On any given day (the doors are open 7 days a week starting at 11 am) you’ll find a very content group. All walks of life frequent the stylish establishment — young and old, singles and families, social and business, eaters and drinkers. The tavern’s atmosphere offers a fantastic blend of warmth and welcome, energy and elegance. Everyone looks to be having fun and enjoying the experience.
Tommy’s seats 295 patrons (there’s indoor and outdoor dining) and it seems to me that each time I go in the place, every spot is filled — although I do admit to having luck in finding a cozy seat at the large central bar whenever I stop in. Good food and fortune for me.
It’s not like Bonfiglio doesn’t know what he’s doing. The eatery entrepreneur has opened and run several quality area restaurants over the years, including the Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza chain. At the new tavern, Tommy’s classics — coal-fired wings and pizza — remain on the menu along with great sushi, a wide variety of delicious sandwiches and terrific burgers, an inviting line of salads and appetizers, and much more.
“Every restaurant needs to have a point of view.”
If you’re a beer lover, you’ll find suds paradise at Tommy’s. The tavern offers over 70 different varieties on a rotating basis. A separate whiskey bar has the Jersey Shore’s widest selection. Three different kitchens — for regular menu items, sushi, and pizza — keep busy serving customers.
And while Tommy’s offers a Happy Hour I’ve found that every moment there is “Happy.” They also have room upstairs for special events and catered affairs and it has won honors as Monmouth County’s #1 Sport’s Bar the past two years.
Tommy’s is located in one of the few historic buildings left in this coastal community. Found on the westside of Ocean Avenue near the Sea Bright-Rumson Bridge, it has traveled a long way to become Tommy’s. During the borough’s heyday as a resort community in the early 1900s, the location was part of the elegant Pannaci Hotel (then a hotel and restaurant, it was called “Delmonico of Sea Bright”). The structure has survived a couple of big fires and at one time or another it was a U.S. Post Office, the Oceanfront Bar, Chubby’s Pub, the Sea Bright Inn, and several apartments.
A lawyer and CPA with over 25 years’ experience, Bonfiglio mainly focuses on the restaurant business nowadays. His firm Bonfiglio & Asterita, LLC, with offices both in New York and New Jersey, focuses on Real Estate Law, Wills, Trusts, Estates, Business Law, Family Law and Lending Services. A 1987 graduate of Brooklyn Law School, he moved to Monmouth Beach in 2004 with his wife, Yvette, and two daughters, Andrea and Christina. All of them work at the tavern.
So for a delightful “taste” of the Jersey Shore, pay a visit to Tommy’s Tap + Tavern and try it out. It doesn’t get any better!
* * * * *
Tommy’s Tap + Tavern
1030 Ocean Avenue
Sea Bright, NJ 07760