Highlands, NJ Ribbon Cuttings
Feed & Seed, 154 Bay Avenue, Highlands, NJ
On Saturday, January 13th at 12:00pm, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new business, Feed & Seed, Pet Food, Supplies & General Store, located at 154 Bay Avenue, Highlands. Feed & Seed opened on December 16th, 2017. Proprietors, Carolyn Broullon, originally from California, and Donica Basinger, originally from Texas, reside in Highlands within minutes from their business. In addition to being animal lovers, both bring a wealth of knowledge to this unique neighborhood business. Donica’s background in retail along with Carolyn’s background in marketing and technology has helped them build this quaint store from the ground up. Using pictures of the 1930's A&P given to them by the Historical Society, they restored the original facade. “They purchased the abandoned building in 2016 and have transformed it to a business destination that we are proud of,” said Carla Cefalo, President of the Highlands Business Partnership. “The building renovations are a fine example of a National Main Street storefront,” she added. Feed & Seed is a general store with the accent on pet supplies. They also carry hardware, clothing, children’s toys and Highlands branded merchandise. They have an extensive variety of pet food, including food for dogs, cats, birds and even chickens. The store sells pet toys, leashes, litter, pet apparel and even life vests for the pet that venture out on the water with their owners. They have a growing hardware section stocked with items such as hammers, screwdrivers, nails, screws, paintbrushes and rollers, tape, and many other products you might need for a home project. “There is a tremendous amount of pet owners in Highlands, we thought this type of business as well as the general store would be a great fit for the town. Highlands reminds me of Sonoma, where I grew up. The general store was a place you could go and purchase a fishing pole, or a kite and always had an eclectic selection of items available,” said Carolyn Broullon. “We wanted to cater to adults, children, those who have pets as well as those who don't. Along with pet supplies and hardware we will carry Highlands apparel and caps, post cards, magnets and mementos for visitors, there will be something for everyone.” she added. Feed & Seed is open Wednesday - Friday, 1PM - 7PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 11AM – 4PM. Pets are welcome. For more information visit the website www.feedandseednj.com or call 732-275-5553. Please join us as we celebrate this Highlands milestone at Feed & Seed on Saturday, January 13th at noon.
On Saturday, September 9th, 2017 at 12:00pm, Mayor O’Neil and members of the Council and representatives of the Highlands Business Partnership will join SummerHouse to cut the ribbon at their new downtown business at 30 Jackson Street, Highlands, New Jersey.
SummerHouse is a modern take on summer seaside cottages. There are ten cottages surrounding a courtyard. Each cottage accommodates up to two guests and each features a porch, kitchenette, modern bath with open shower, queen size beds, air conditioning/heat a smart TV and hi speed Wi-Fi. The courtyard is perfect for sharing the open fire pit, grilling area, 20-person picnic table and a secure storage area for kite board gear, bikes and surfboards. One cottage is dog friendly with a private deck for man’s best friend while you are enjoying the beach. Other cottages feature extra outdoor showers, exposed vaulted ceilings and extra day beds. Everyone also has access to the main house with a gourmet kitchen, living room and porch perfect for socializing or relaxing.
Bill Iler and his two business partners restored the 1920-era cottages using a modern design but highlighting the vintage architectural elements. Bill is a local attorney, real estate agent and construction manager whose family has been in the Rumson and Middletown areas since the late 1800’s. Bill has invested in Highlands for more than 25 years. The vacation cottage project combined his passion for real estate and construction with his appreciation for the history of this area.
Bill says the cottage guests will benefit from the unique, excellent location of Highlands: “we are steps from NYC by ferry, making this one of the few waterfronts you can reach by foot from Manhattan in a luxury, 40 minute commute. I think Highlands offers a one of a kind location to all who come here: at the foot of the highest mountainside park on the east coast- perfect for hiking and biking, at the edge of miles of great public beaches- with some of the best surfing and fishing on the coast, and offering excellent dining options. There is no other town on the coast that has all these choices in one walkable location.”
SummerHouse is open from March to December, weather permitting. Rentals include daily, weekly and monthly options and next year will plan to offer full-season rentals for select cottages. Group events are welcomed and the courtyard offers a unique spot for art and music events, too. For more information or to make reservations visit the website njsummerhouse.com or call 732 245 7523. Please join us as we celebrate this Highlands milestone at SummerHouse on Saturday, September 9th at noon.
Joe Amiel’s Bay Pointe Inn
On Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 at 11:00 AM, Mayor O’Neil, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new downtown business, Joe Amiel’s Bay Pointe Inn, located at 1 Willow Street, Highlands, NJ.
Chef Joe Amiel, proprietor of Bay Pointe Inn, opened for business May 4th, 2017. Bay Pointe Inn is the newest edition to Highlands spectacular waterfront dining. The restaurant specializes in steak and seafood with a twist, creating regional dishes from all over the United States. They use only prime-aged steaks and sustainable seafood. Some of their signatures include hot popovers in lieu of bread service, a delectable raw bar, and their Fisherman’s Platter, coconut shrimp and crab cakes are popular items on the menu. Joe is working with nationally recognized nutritionist, Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, MS, RDN, FACSM, FAND, to develop gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options that will be featured on the menu.
Joseph Amiel, president/Managing Partner of Ocean Club Grille LLC, has a wealth of experience in restaurant development, operations and marketing. With over 50 years in the restaurant and catering business as an investor, managing partner, owner and consultant, Joe has been associated with some of the most celebrated and historical restaurants in the country. Joe began his career in New York City with family operations at Jack Dempsey's, Turf Restaurants, and Leo's Eateries. He went on to manage Charlie Brown's for restaurant associates and became the associate director of the Rainbow Room. Joe served on the newly formed Sidewalk Café Commission of New York City with Warner Leroy of Maxwell’s Plum and Tavern on the Green. Joe was also the Director of operations for Celebrity Hosts Inc. in Boston, which opened restaurants with major professional athletes. In New York, he owned the Symphony Café among others. In New Jersey, he owned and operated the Evelyn's Seafood chain and the Old Mill Inn in Spring Lake Heights.
After selling the last of his restaurant operations in 2001, Joe started Amiel Capital Group, which arranged financing for several start-up companies in restaurants, entertainment and transportation and provided management buyouts for restaurant chains. Presently, he consults for private equity firms interested in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. Joe is currently serving as Managing Partner for Sandy Hook Holdings LLC. He has received numerous awards for business development and community service.
A pioneer in using the internet for restaurant marketing, he developed programs that were copied and duplicated by many of America’s most successful restaurant companies.
When asked why he picked Highlands, Chef Amiel said, “Highlands picked me! And I couldn’t be happier”. He was approached by Jim Bollerman, owner of Sandy Hook Bay Marina in September of 2014 and asked if he would be interested in being a part of the new up and coming Marina project. Joe was very interested, and signed on in May of 2015. He loves the area, and has many friends in the restaurant business in the surrounding area.The Bay Pointe Inn has a beautiful dockside Captain’s Bar, with live music throughout the summer. The breathtaking views of Sandy Hook Bay and the Manhattan skyline are not to be missed. Joe Amiel’s Bay Pointe Inn is open all year round. Summer hours are Sunday - Thursday, 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM, and Friday & Saturday, 11:30AM – 10:30 PM. For more information, or to make reservations call 732-629-8000. Visit their website, at www.Joesbaypointeinn.com. Please join us as we celebrate this milestone with our friends at Bay Pointe Inn. Highlands is proud to welcome them to our business community.
Shore Side Veterinary Care
On Saturday, April 1st at 12:30pm, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new business, Shore Side Veterinary Care, which is located at 182 Bay Avenue.
Dr. Linda Morrone, proprietor of Shore Side Veterinary care has been practicing in the New York/New Jersey area for 17 years, and this is her first privately owned practice. She and Veterinary Technician, Tiffany DeRisi, offer full veterinary services, specializing in dogs and cats. Services include wellness exams, x-rays and imaging, dentistry, diagnostics and testing and general surgery, all onsite, in their state of the art office.
Dr. Morrone said, “Highlands is a wonderful town to open a business in, the Borough was great to work with in the opening of our office. With affordable property, and Highlands being a pet-friendly town, with two groomers, Highlands seemed to be the right choice”.
Shore Side Veterinary Care is open by appointment, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30am – 2pm, and Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30am – 8:00pm. Saturday appointments and house calls are available by request. You can make an appointment by calling 732-204-2318. Visit their website www.shoresideveterinary.com or on Facebook @ Shore Side Veterinary Care for more information. Please join us as we celebrate this milestone with our friends at Shore Side Veterinary Care. Highlands is proud to welcome them to our business community.
On Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM, Mayor O’Neil, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new downtown business, Il Lago, located at 122 Bay Avenue.
Chef Michael D’Angelo, proprietor of Il Lago, opened for business in November 2016. Il Lago is a BYOB bistro that features authentic classic Italian cuisine. Chef D’Angelo, who is originally from Palermo, Sicily, is a resident of Brielle, and has been in the restaurant business for 37 years. He began his career as a bus boy in the 80’s, and is now a famous restaurateur, owning 5 over the years.
“Michael decided Highlands was the perfect home for Il Lago.” “I loved the look of Bay Avenue and knew it would be an up and coming walkable hot spot,” he added. You'll love Il Lago the minute you set foot inside their feel-good cozy dining room,” said Carla Cefalo-Braswell, President of the Highlands Business Partnership. “Chef D’Angelo creates authentic Italian dishes using the freshest ingredients and there are lots of enticing options to choose from,” she added.
Il Lago’s winter hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 5:00 - 9:30 PM, and summer hours will be Monday – Saturday, 4:30 – 10:00 PM. For more information, call 732- 204-2646. Please join us as we celebrate this milestone with our friends at Il Lago. Highlands is proud to welcome them to our business community.
Barks on Bay
On Sunday, July 24th at 12:00 PM, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new business, Barks on Bay, which is located at 126 Bay Avenue.
Diana Koerner, proprietor of Barks on Bay, opened for business May 1st, 2016. She and friends, Doris Fisher and Samantha Griffin had worked together grooming dogs for two years, when Diana decided to open her own business in Highlands, which now keeps them all very busy 6 days a week.
Diana is a resident of Port Monmouth, but she grew up in Highlands and her parents and many family members still reside here. She decided that Highlands was a perfect place to start her business. Diana said, “There aren’t many dog groomers servicing the immediate surrounding towns and we have been fortunate that people are willing to travel for great service”.
Barks on Bay is a full-service doggie spa. Services include baths, cuts, nail trimming and teeth brushing. Her clients include therapy dogs, Hudson, from Henry Hudson Regional School, and Violet from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. No dog is too big or too small.
Barks on Bay is open Monday – Saturday, 9am till they run out of dogs! You can make an appointment by calling 732-540-1330. Visit their website www.barksonbay.com or on Facebook @ Barks on Bay for more information.
Please join us as we celebrate this milestone with our friends at Barks on Bay. Highlands is proud to welcome them to our business community.
Sandy Hook Bay Marina
On Sunday, June 26th at 11:30 AM, Mayor Nolan and members of the Highlands Borough Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand reopening of the Sandy Hook Bay Marina, a Bollerman Project, located at One Willow Street in Highlands, NJ. This redevelopment project represents one of the largest private investment reconstruction projects post Super Storm Sandy and qualified for a grant under the National Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.
The Sandy Hook Bay Marina, an $8.5 million dollar project designed to become a significant visitor destination, boasts 130 new floating dock slips, 15 of which will be reserved for transient boaters, and will accommodate vessels from 25 to 70 feet in length. “We realized the critical importance of the marina’s location as a safe harbor and the value of the location as a major departure point, particularly for transient boaters” stated James Bollerman, President and CEO of Sandy Hook Developers, LLC; “The marina will not only offer boaters a state-of-the art marina with an abundance of amenities, but will also have a significant economic impact on the Borough of Highlands and the surrounding community, he added”.
The marina was part of a master plan for re-development of an 11-acre water front parcel of which approximately 5 ½ acres was sold to Pulte Homes for the construction of 49 luxury townhomes. “Mr. Bollerman has been a dedicated partner in our borough for decades, we are so proud to have this investment in our community, said Mayor Frank Nolan.” “The post Sandy re-launch of this site is another sign of Highland's recovery.”
In addition to the many local area attractions that the Historic Highlands has to offer, onsite amenities available to marina members and guests include a swimming pool, private veranda, ships store, grill area, restrooms w/ showers, laundry, bicycles, and an outdoor Captains Bar featuring live entertainment and creative libations. An onsite restaurant, Joe Amiel’s Bay Pointe Inn will complete the property’s amenities schedules to open late summer.
“This is an achievement that we can point to with great pride,” said Carla Cefalo- Braswell, President of the Highlands Business Partnership. “We are grateful to Bollerman Developers for inspiring this vision. We remain confident that this important new addition to the Borough’s amenities will spark prosperity and economic development throughout our town.”
The bustling marina is officially open for business. For more information call 732- 872-1511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, June 4th at 12:00 PM, members of the Borough Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership cut the ribbon for another new business, Younique Yoga, which is located at 165 Bay Avenue.
Younique Yoga features hot vinyasa yoga, which is a flowing form of yoga and is performed in a heated room (85-90 degrees) because of the benefits it offers the body. The heat allows for muscles to ease through their full range of motion, and improves circulation and metabolism and strengthens the cardiovascular system. Sweating aids in detoxifying the body and rejuvenates the skin.
Younique Yoga is opened everyday, and offers both, walk-in, or multiple day packages that can be purchased at the studio or online at www.youniqueyoganj.com. You can call the studio for information on classes at 732-708-0018.
On Saturday, August 8th at Noon, Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, members of the Council, and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership will cut the ribbon for another new business, Porcini, located at 168 Bay Avenue. Come join proprietors Alexandria Mahon and Christopher Atamian, and welcome them to Highlands.
Porcini is a Modern American Italian bistro and is BYOB. Their menu consists of amazing dishes such as Crab Cake with Asian Slaw, and chili-garlic aioli, Mushroom Fettuccini with bacon and a Marsala cream sauce, Pork Osso Bucco with sweet potato hash, to name a few. They will initially be open for dinner only, and will start serving lunch sometime in August.
Alexandria and Christopher, residents of Ocean Twp., met 7 years ago when they worked together at the Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands where Alexandria was a server and Christopher was a line chef. Chris is a graduate of the Culinary Education Center of Brookdale College, Asbury Park. He had aspirations of becoming a chef from a very early age. Chris honed his culinary skills at Nicholas, in Red Bank. They discovered they had a passion for the restaurant business and dreamed of owning their own restaurant. They had been looking at different locations to open for the past 2 years, and were thrilled when 168 Bay became available, they both love Highlands, Alexandria was once a resident.
Alexandria said “this is truly a dream come true for us, we want to invite everyone to come experience the welcoming atmosphere of Porcini.” “We want you to feel at home, like family, when you come to dine.” she added.
Porcini is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM, Friday & Saturday, 5:00 – 10:00 PM and Sunday, 4:00 – 9:00 PM.
Please join us as we celebrate this milestone with our friends at Porcini. Highlands is proud to welcome them to our business community.
Steve Solop Custom Shirts
On Friday, May 15th at 6:30 PM, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership cut the ribbon for another new business, Steve Solop Custom Shirts which is located at 205 Bay Avenue.
Steve Solop, proprietor of Steve Solop Custom Shirts, is a new resident of Highlands. He and his wife Patty are currently making the transition to Highlands from Central NJ, where he has a design studio as well. They discovered Highlands when visiting their son, who lives in Leonardo. Steve and Patty fell in love with the cozy, hamlet-like feeling they found in Highlands.
Steve Solop Custom Shirts, designs, sews and sells men and women’s custom dress shirts. Steve also offers custom suits and ties. His services are one on one, and each garment is designed with the customer’s specifications, from the type of collar, to the cuffs, buttons and fabric.
Steve started making his own shirts in high school in the early 70’s, as a 6’8” star basketball player, it was a challenge to find shirts that fit him. He was the first male in NJ to be allowed to participate in a high school sewing class. His sewing teacher, Judy Condor was instrumental in putting him on the path to his career. His teammates in high school initially gave him a hard time about sewing but eventually they all wanted him to make shirts for them. He attended the Cybick School of Design and Manufacturing in NYC, where he learned to develop patterns and construct garments. He has worked at Brook Brothers and major fashion houses, such as Tom Ford, Perry Ellis, Liz Claiborne and Marc Jacobs.
Steve’s Highlands studio has state of the art equipment, including a button-sewer and cutting machine, that enable him to make several shirts in a short period of time.
Steve Solop Custom Shirts is open by appointment only.
LogoWear Pros Custom Apparel
On Thursday, April 30th at 6:00 PM, Highlands members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership welcomed another new business, LogoWear Pros Custom Apparel, located at 1 Bay Avenue.
Tess Elkins and husband Brian Wioncek, proprietors of LogoWear Pros Custom Apparel, have been residents of Highlands for 6 years. LogoWear Pros specialized in custom embroidery, screen printing, digital garment printing and sports lettering. They customize everything from corporate branding to school, team, and work uniforms.
Tess and Brian, originally from South Jersey moved to Monmouth County in 2000. Tess, a board member of the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, was formerly a project manager on Wall Street. In 2010, she decided to follow her passion for marketing and open her own business. Tess and Brian opened a store in Oakhurst and then moved the business to their home in Highlands. They had outgrown the space at home and needed a much larger space for new equipment, one being a new nine-foot, 4 head embroidery machine. LogoWear Pros Custom Apparel has designed and donated t-shirts for several fundraising events in Highlands.
LogoWear Pros Custom Apparel is open Monday through Thursday from 9AM-5PM, Friday, 9AM-7PM and Saturday, 10AM to 2PM.
Etal Fine Foods
On Sunday, November 16th, 2014, Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, members of the Council and representatives from the Highlands Business Partnership cut the ribbon for another great eatery, et al Fine Foods & Events, which is located at 71 Waterwitch Avenue.
Kimberly Ramin, proprietor of et al, has been a resident of Highlands for 12 years. Et al is a full service caterer, with two takeaway retail shops that focus on seasonal, local and sustainable foods. They serve New American food based in classical recipes. Kim does many ethnical dishes, from Moroccan to Indian, to Asian and Parisian foods. The name “et al” is from the Latin root “and all, and others”. The et al team brings a fresh and personal approach any special event, from corporate dinners to cocktail parties to backyard barbecues, they do it all with quality, creativity and style. “We are delighted to add et al to our wonderful array of dining establishments,” said Mayor Frank Nolan. “It is so convenient to stop for home-cooked delicious meals without the hassle,” said Council President Rebecca Kane.
Et al is open Monday through Friday from 8AM-8PM, Saturday, 8AM to 4PM and Sunday, 8AM to 2PM.
On December 14, 2014, the Highlands Business Partnership, along with Mayor Frank Nolan and members of the Council, welcomed the new CVS/Pharmacy, located at 470 State Highway 36. The new CVS/Pharmacy features a drive thru pharmacy window service, free pharmacy delivery, delivery; a wide range of high quality health, beauty and personal care products; exclusive private label products that come with a 100% money back guarantee; a digital photo café that provides customers with a dedicated, comfortable area to customize and print their digital pictures and order fun photo gifts; and the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Program, the nation’s largest rewards program that provides customers with special savings, ExtraBucks, and offers that are earned by shopping in-store or at www.cvs.com.
CVS/pharmacy opened its doors on December 4 and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Pharmacy hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Andy Shore Bar
At 93 years old Andy Shore’s owner Helen Soyka might be the oldest and most active female entrepreneur in the state (She still does the bookkeeping). She certainly has seen a lot happen in Highlands over the course of the 53 years Andy’s has been open. Helen followed her husband Andy’s dream of opening a bar when he suddenly decided to quit his stable job working for the Singer Sewing company. First they opened a bar in Linden with relatives but he wanted his own place so in 1960 they moved to Highlands to start the new business together. Their happy beginning was short lived when just a month after they opened hurricane Donna hit Highlands. Donna was just the beginning of storms they would weather over the years but none of the storms came close to the destruction of Sandy.
Helen still lives above the bar and until recently she continued to bartend. Her daughter MaryAnn (who runs Andy’s now) pointed to where the water level came for Irene which was roughly 42 inches. She then pointed to Sandy which was 7 feet high. Andy’s was closed for 7 months because of Sandy which was the longest in their history. MaryAnn and her siblings would have closed the place for good but Helen insisted on reopening. So with the help of friends and family, a grant from the Highlands Business Partnership, the muscle from the local fire department, a school teacher from Boston and Helen’s fortitude, Andy’s dream was realized once again. Helen Soyka at 93 years old is Stronger than the Storm.
Anne’s Hair Razor
After Anne Osborn experienced 2 ½ feet of water after Irene and was closed for 14 days she decided to be prepared and make sure she was up to code. But nothing could prepare her or anybody for Sandy. When Sandy produced over 5 feet of water it destroyed all of her equipment but not her spirit. It took her 4 months to reopen but based on the barking going on in the background her pet grooming business has been doing well. Like so many other business owners Ann has put her life savings into rebuilding her business. Anne epitomizes the “Stronger than the Storm” tag line. She’s back and they are barking louder then ever.
Bahrs Landing and Moby’s Restaurant
There is none tougher then 96-year-old restaurant Bahrs Landing which has weathered many a storm over that time. Bahr’s was the first business to reopen after the storm but the first thing owner Jay Cosgrove did is make sure that their iconic lobster sign at the top of the building was lit up. This stood as a symbol that Highlands will be back. Jay’s great granddad, a dock builder, built the business which originated as just a boat dock with a boat house that served food. A few days after they opened a nor’easter hit Highlands destroying his boats and the dock. They served chowder to help raise money until they could build back up and that was the beginning of what was to become of one of Jersey’s great restaurants. After the Donna hurricane his great grandfather and his great uncle literally lifted the building themselves using two hand jacks which are still in the basement of the building today. It took them an entire summer to do it but all these years later it helped them recover quickly from Sandy.
They still had 5 ½ feet of water in the basement during Sandy but with the help of 25 employees they were only closed for 15 days. As a business leader in the town Jay and his family helped out neighboring businesses and residents during and after the storm and provided a tremendous amount of food to food banks. Bahrs sister restaurant just across the parking lot is one of the favorite after beach outdoor restaurants in town; from lobster to hamburgers Moby’s has something for everyone. Nothing is better than sitting out on their deck and eating fried shrimp and a cold one at Moby’s. The incredible fresh fish and history has made Bahrs a favorite for generations of politicians and celebrities including President Eisenhower. So it was fitting that Governor Christie came to Bahrs to announce the block grant money for the businesses and residents of NJ to rebuild. Bahrs new motto: Bahrs Landing…We’re Still Standing.
Bay Avenue Bakery
Let me start off by saying that if you never had Bay Ave Bakery brownies then you are missing out on one of life’s great pleasures. Their pastries are some of the best in the universe and they are also a wonderful Jersey style breakfast and lunch place. But this small little bakery and luncheonette had some of the worst damage of all with over 7 feet of water. Despite moving everything that wasn’t nailed down out, they still lost most of their kitchen equipment and food. They were closed for 6 months and one of the owners Giesela Smith lost her home. “Things looked bleak and we had doubts about whether or not we would ever open again” said Mike Woodbury the other co-owner. They lost over $130,000 including equipment and lost revenues. This came off of loses they incurred after Irene when they were closed for 90 days. The insurance they had didn’t cover the water damage and it was looking like they couldn’t recover in time for summer and most importantly they questioned how many residents would be back in town.
But then everything changed and there was no way they were going to give up. According to Mike they barrowed money from family and friends, they got help from the remaining towns people, HBP and in particular Diane Keaveny was a huge help, the borough was helpful and because of all that they opened in time for Memorial Day weekend. Business has been getting better each week and they will tell you they have seen some new faces. So despite the doubts and uncertainty the Bay Ave Bakery is back and better then ever. And those brownies are just as good as always.
Chilangos started as a small take out place in Long Branch and grew into a Highlands institution just a few years later. The restaurant is frequented by celebrities like Bruce Springsteen and customers come from as far away as Spain to taste their incredible food. Not only does Chilangos have great food but it also has the world’s largest variety of Tequila. Most importantly, Chilangos also has the most charismatic owner in the restaurant biz in Leo Cervantes. Leo is an inspiration to many because of where he came from and where he is today. Despite Irene and the 6 ½ feet of water and over $300,000 worth of damage from Sandy, Leo and his friends and family battled back.
Leo lost about $400,000 worth of sales during the 7 months he was closed. By borrowing money from friends (Even those customers from Spain sent him money), SBA, and his life savings, Chilangos was able to open a few weeks ago. The way the business community rallied around Leo was amazing. Other restaurants in town that were able to open sooner lent their kitchens and turned their restaurants over to Leo so that he and his staff can make a little money during the time they were closed. Danny Shields from restaurant Windansea, Chubby Pickle owner Craig Andrews and even his former employer from Shadowbrook Restaurant Robert Sweben all did Chilangos nights in their restaurants for Leo. Again HBP gave grant money and other items to help in the rebuilding process. Even paint company Sherwin Williams chipped in paint and had staff stay until 3:00 in the morning one night so Chilangos could open. Chilangos is back and better than ever!
The Chubby Pickle
Like many of the other Highlands businesses that were less affected by Sandy Chubby Pickle owner Craig Andrews went into the mode of helping others in the community that needed help before worrying about his place. Craig describes his restaurant as English/Irish with a twist. Their Frickles (fried pickles) and craft beers are the best in the land but what makes Craig special is his willingness to help others. With concrete floors and only 8 inches of water he was able to weather the storm rather quickly and turn his attention that those that needed the help. He cooked for the local police and sent food up to the fire house and shelter. He sent his canned goods to the food bank but he also helped out the other businesses throughout the extended time that they were out of business. Craig raised money for the local churches, they held can good drives, and he turned his restaurant over to other restaurant owners so they could make a little money. Craig is part of the reason that this town has bounced back like it has so quickly. So come down to the Pickle, listen to great live music, and grab a few Frickles.
For Giorgio Migliaccio dates matter and opening a small pizzeria in America was a dream comes true. He opened in March of 1984 and on that first day his store saw its first high tide flooding. Despite that, his pizza restaurant opened to rave reviews. He then decided to sell it because of health concerns on March 8th 2006. The new owner ran the business into the ground so he bought it back in February 2008 and fixed it back up and sold it again to new owners on March 8th 2008. The day after Sandy hit the new owners who rented from Giorgio left. They had no insurance and the restaurant had over $100,000 worth of damage. He lost everything and had to use his life savings and the help of many friends in the Highlands community in order to get the restaurant up and running again. But on (you guessed it) March 8th 2013 he reopened again running it himself. He breaks even on a daily basis but he’s happy to make payroll for employees who had been out of work. The pizza and his Italian dishes are as great as always. You have to admire a man that has been through so much but keeps on battling back. This is a man of true courage and a strong will to succeed. The pizza is great at Francesco’s regardless of the date.
Out of the tragedy of the storm came a glimmer of hope supplied by three sisters who simply wouldn’t give up. When you walk into the Girls Café you would think you walked onto the set of the Golden Girls. There you will find Vera, Cathy and Laura who are three energetic sisters who looked Sandy square in the face and said nothing will keep us down. There is Vera who would be played by Bea Arthur, Cathy who is our Betty White and then Laura who is Rue McClanahan only these ladies can flip a hell of a pancake. The minute you walk into the Girls Café you feel the love that only a these women can supply. It’s like going to mom’s house for a Sunday breakfast only in this case you have three Moms’. They all grew up in the Highlands, in fact, their family has been here since 1723. They all worked for Laura before Sandy in a place called Laura’s Pancake House until Sandy just totally destroyed her restaurant. It was a nightmare for Laura and her husband and they were all out of work for 7 months. The Girls Café is just a few blocks north of where Laura’s use to be and much smaller but with the same home cooked menu. Everyone in the family helped to get this place opened and even though they were just opened for 2 weeks business has been good. They way they look at it, if it wasn’t for the storm then the Girls Café would never exist. There are two dollars with messages written by customers on it. One says, “Sandy verses the Girls” and the other says “The Girls Stronger than the Storm.” The Girls Café…Great spirit, great food and great memories just golden.
The Inlet Cafe
3 Cornwall St.
In the Garden
In the Garden flower shop owner Nancy Burton’s children are 5th generation Highlanders so there was no way that Sandy could stop this family from opening in time for Valentines Day 2013 despite 5 feet of water. Complicating things was the 3 feet of water Nancy also had in her home. But as the famous football Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “When the going gets tough the Tough get going” and there is no one tougher than Nancy and her partners whom she brought into the business after the storm. Bringing in partners was a great move for Nancy and the move has paid off for all. Since the storm business is doing well with their focus on big parties like weddings which is the bulk of their business. Her family was a great help in getting the business back open. She also praised the work that Charron Construction did which was a tremendous help. Being short on funds she made a deal with Charron when she bartered flowers for their wedding for the construction work. For incredible floral arrangements and owners who are committed to hard work and excellence there is no one on the shore that will do it better.
208 Bay Ave.
Garrett Newcomb concept of opening a bicycle shop in Highlands was an excellent idea given the nearby parks and beaches with long and winding bike lanes down to the tip of Sandy Hook. All was good except for his timing which couldn’t be worse. He opened just two months before Irene hit and then reopened just a few months before Sandy dumped 5 1/2 feet of water in his small but impressive bike shop. Garrett lost 80% of his inventory and other tools and items essential to his business totaling about $50,000. He was closed for over 5 months and faced eviction in his home. But thanks to Bob Small and his Helping Highlands Survivors, HBP/Hope for Highlands, and the $6,500 he raised from Gofundme.com he was able to raise enough to get the repairs done and buy inventory. With the help of friends and customers business is pretty good and hopes to expand in the near future. The next time you are in Highlands stop by and see Garrett and we strongly recommend you rent a bike and ride down to Sandy Hook and experience the Jersey shore the way it should be…by bike.
Doug Douty has owned the Lusty Lobster seafood wholesaler/retailer since 1980 and in that time he's seen a lot of storms come through Highlands. None was more damaging then Sandy which produced 5 feet of water which surge blew down the back door and destroyed all off his delivery trucks except for two. Despite being a fish business the salt water from Sandy took its toll on his freezers and other supplies and equipment. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and electricity still out, Doug's sister (who lives in Pennsylvania) brought a generator in order to get the freezers going and essential part of Doug's operation. Every one of Doug's employees worked day and night to get Lusty operational and open in time even though many of them also lost their homes. They put in new floors, cleaned, painted, new cases for the retail store and within 10 days of the storm they were back doing limited wholesale business.
Doug was able to open in time for Thanksgiving and he points to the great job that the borough and police did and he is extremely proud of his workers. Doug lamented, "Everyone worked together and we were able to fully open in time for Christmas. It was truly amazing what every one accomplished in such a short period of time under such difficult circumstances".
New Life Church Highlands
Pastor Marti McGrail prides himself on bringing messages of hope to this town, and through his TV show, to the world. Pastor McGrail was raised in Highlands and has seen a lot of storms in his day. But when Sandy passed through his beloved church (which he bought 12 years earlier) it was nearly destroyed by 8 feet of water. He sustained at least $250,000 worth of damage which given the small congregation would almost certainly be the end of his dream church. Not this Pastor, who had endured a tour in Viet Nam and suffered through 2 ½ years of cancer, so there was no way to keep this man of God down for long. Miraculously, despite the water damage there was no mold and with the help of his friends and family he rebuilt the church with his friend David Miglis. As he has stated in many of his Sunday sermons, “Each of us brings his/her God-given talents and gifts and are encouraged to discover, use and blossom as God uses each of us in one spirit to touch His people in incredible ways.” Well Pastor McGrail has been touched so he can help others, and his church has blossomed and is back and more beautiful then ever.
321 Bay Avenue
Before coming to Highlands, Kranky's Cycles owner, Garrett Newcomb has worked in Monmouth County bicycle shops in Red Bank, Eatontown, Long Branch and Fair Haven. He has 20 years experience and is considered to be an industry expert. Kranky's Cycles has a customer following from Rumson, Fair Haven, Red Bank and the surrounding Monmouth County area.
Kranky's offers new and used bicycles, consignment sales and rentals. He also repairs, refurbishes and restores bicycles.
Garrett chose the name "Kranky" for his unique business because the previous bicycle shop owners he had worked for were "cranky" at times. He thought it would be a perfect name for his bustling business, with the "crank" being an integral part of a bicycle.
Garrett is in the process of forming a cycling club, for all ages. The Kranky's Cycling Club is something he would like to get the youth of Highlands and the surrounding towns involved in. For more information, email email@example.com
23 Bay Avenue
Born in the southwest of England, bartending for 18 years. Craig has opened bars in various countries around Europe and has trained numerous bartenders in mixology and flair. He came to the U.S seven years ago and worked in a bar in Hoboken before finally finding a bar in the Highlands to call his own.
Co-owner, Adam Slavin
Originally from Miami Beach, Fl., Adam brings to the business a law degree as well as over 15 years experience working in the business/marketing sector for such companies as American Express and A & P.
The Chubby Pickle is a sports bar and grill with an American/English pub theme. The food menu offers both unique bar food and traditional pub fare to satisfy any craving. On the weekends you will find a wide range of customers, beginning with the early morning soccer supporters, families looking to grab a nice lunch, those looking to hear live music as well as late night party goers. The ‘pickle’ has been incorporated in a number of unusual food items; frickles, pickletinis, pickle backs, and the margarickle, in addition to each entree being served with a “chubby” pickle.
214 Bay Avenue
Opened in 2010, China Sea is family owned and operated. Eat in or take out. Call for free fast delivery.
The Huang family are also proprietors to the King Star Chinese Restaurant in Monmouth Beach.