Soup Hoppin’ Cruise Take Two

By Sharon Merkle Prudhomme

Holy cow! Subzero temps, “cyclone bomb”, icy conditions and lack of vitamin sunshine got ya’ down? We’ve got the sure cure coming right here on our “Soup Hoppin’ Cruise II”! Take a lil’ side step, warm up and have some indoor fun.

The Broadway Bar & Grill, 106 Randall Ave., Pt. Pleasant Beach happens to be one of my all-time haunts (I’ve been visiting for 45 years!) and our 1st stop on the “Soup Hoppin ’Cruise II”. Open seven days a week 11am-2am, the Broadway is tucked away opposite the charter boats on the right as you head into Pt. Beach with parking lot and side street parking available. The heavy nautical door, porthole & pilings sets the tone upon entering. Sandy took its toll and renovations opened her up and created some new seating with elimination of the old stage area. They still have live entertainment on weekends. Known for steaks, seafood, burgers, salads and of course wings, their menu is down home basic with something for everyone in a casual Jersey shore sports bar feel. This is a fun and lively local hangout with popcorn machine at the bar, and a great old Long Board AKA Shuffle Board along the back of the bar. Behind the bar on the back side is a tiny cooking area which serves the bar with a bartender/short order cook cranking out some excellent vittles! Wait staff and tables are served by the main kitchen. The burgers are hand patted and one of the best burgers around in my opinion! Nice to watch your food being prepared while you enjoy a beverage, great conversation and a long board challenge.
On this visit I chose the Crab Bisque and I’m glad I did! A thick & creamy crab which was absolutely perfect for coming in from the arctic winds prevailing outside! It had a rich tan color which rather than the typical white bisques proved to have been “built”. The Broadway Crab Bisque could stand well on its own however my personal tastes like a bit of a kick, so a couple of dashes of hot sauce jazzed it up a notch. If you are a raw or roasted clam lover, then all the reason to hit the Broadway up for excellent top necks on ice ready to shuck.
Hours of operation: Open 7 days a week 7am-2am

Manasquan Beach House, 390 E. Main St., Manasquan was #2 on the cruise. This HUGE historic home turned restaurant/hotel is located in a residential neighborhood with ample parking. We “rediscovered” the Beach House a couple of years ago and now try to make it a weekly must. Known for great vittles and atmosphere over the years by locals, it is a favorite Sunday spot for catching the football games. The two tenders, Steve and Shirley are Johnny on the spot for all of your requests. Never skipping a beat, these two are in constant motion, not only serving beverages & taking food orders, but running all food out from the kitchen as well as clearing dishes and taking orders from a couple of bar tables!
On this visit, Steve recommended the Black Bean Soup and I was glad he did. Rich, thick, creamy almost supporting the spoon, it was just the ticket on such a wickedly cold winter’s day. A 2 oz. soufflé cup of firm sour cream came along with the cup which melted into the inky black goodness. Of course it was fantastic on its own…but for me…you guessed it-just a wee bit of hot sauce steps it up. If you are into Black Bean, then pop in for a cup or bowl, you won’t be disappointed! Wings are available grilled, nice sized and served by the dozen which tends to be no longer the norm in many places. Judging by the assortment of apps & meals, being cranked out, this is THE go to for locals. The beautiful buildings’ exterior needs a bit of a “tune up”, but once inside one finds a huge bar, seasoned floor boards and welcoming fireplace. Dining areas offer both high top and standard seating with tableside service. Make a point to pay a visit and enjoy some local flavor!
Hours of operation: Open 7 days a week 12pm-2am

Jack’s Tavern, 703 10th Ave., Belmar is # 3 on the local cruise. Silly me! I had passed by this little local hangout for over 30 years before stopping in! Boy had I been missing some excellent tunes and tasty vittles! Definitely the place for local regulars as most seem to know each other. But newcomers are welcome and conversations come easy. The oval bar can get a bit tight when it becomes standing room only but there is a quaint dining room with fireplace for those opposed to dining at the bar.
On this trip in I enjoyed the Soup de Jour, a thick Clam Bisque. I enjoy the heartier, thicker bisques in the super cold weather and this surely hit the spot. Nice to find quite a bit of chopped clams rather than hunting with the spoon for a hint here & there as we’ve experienced elsewhere on occasion. And if you enjoy clams and oysters, there are some nice appetizers offered such as freshly fried oysters, stuffed clams and my personal favorite, Shark Bites. Known for steaks, chops, seafood, great salads and more since 1934. The Asbury Park Press said Best of the Best for 2010 & 2011! If you’re into a fresh squeezed screwdriver, this is the place for you as the oranges here are fresh squeezed at the bar with a press. Thinking of a different Sunday brunch idea? Head on over to Jack’s Tavern!  You have a choice of breakfast……ready…..and a Complimentary 16oz. Screwdriver or Bloody! How does that grab ya’? Some great sounds are found at Jack’s with live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Many of the entertainers will be featured in Jerseyshorescenes’ upcoming monthly column, “Local Sounds/Local Talent”.
Hours of operation: Mon-Sat 11am-2am   Sun-10:30-2am

Simply Southern, 817 Belmar Plaza, Belmar 4th on the Soup Hoppin’ Cruise is kind of off the beaten path, not visible from the main drag. This little BYOB is located in a small strip mall and does offer sodas and some delicious flavored sweet teas as well as unsweetened. Although not noticing soups on the menu, a complimentary bowl came with a meal order. Collard Green & Sweet Potato soup with White Beans-I must say, THIS was fantastic! So good in fact I’d suggest it be offered as a menu staple! We were told there was also a gumbo, but we opted for Fried Green Tomatoes, Hushpuppies and some Fried Catfish pieces for apps. Of course our eyes were bigger than the bellies, so a Chicken and Gravy entrée was ordered to go.
Hours of operation: Tues-Thurs 11am-9pm  Fri & Sat 11am-9pm   Sun- 10-8pm

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