Happily Ever After

Bayside Ambience, Simple Elegance, Great Food Make Parker’s Garage a Perfect Option

Feb 23, 2018
Courtesy of: leannatheresa.com Jason Hazelton (right) and husband Andrew were the first couple to have their wedding at Parker's Garage and Oyster Saloon in Beach Haven.

Prior to settling on Parker’s Garage and Oyster Saloon as the location for their wedding, Jason Hazelton and his fiancé, Andrew, were having a difficult time figuring out where to have their special day.

“Andrew and I were all over the map,” Hazelton said. “We had been to St. Maarten the year before, and we thought about having our wedding there with just a small group of family and friends. Andrew is from D.C., so we thought about maybe having it down there. We were having a tough time figuring it all out.”

But last February, local business owner and friend Melanie Magaziner told Jason about the new restaurant she and her business partners – her husband, Eric, Bob and Ginna Nugent, and Bill and Linda Burris – had acquired and their plans for accommodating weddings at certain times of the year.

“I had been there when it was The Boat House, and it was a great place to eat,” Hazelton said. “But just before Memorial Day, Andrew and I went to Parker’s for dinner, and we got such a right vibe from being there. Knowing what Melanie and her partners have done with other local restaurants in the area, I knew everything at Parker’s would have quality. I knew it would be classy and elegant, but not over the top. I knew it would be the right size for what we wanted.

“And what we wanted was amazing food and drinks, and a welcoming and simply elegant venue to go with it. Parker’s had everything we wanted.”

Parker’s Garage opened last May, and Hazelton’s wedding was on Nov. 11 – the first at the venue, with the ceremony on the grounds outside the restaurant followed by the reception inside.

“When we bought the property, we were a little bit on the fence about having weddings,” Magaziner said. “But weddings are booming here on LBI, and the natural scenery around Parker’s, along with that beach vibe, provided us with the right set of elements to give weddings a shot.”

Hazleton was glad they did.

“The overall atmosphere is great,” said Hazelton, who grew up in Stafford Township and works for the township’s recreation department. “The sunsets near that section of the bay are amazing. The food is awesome. It’s just a really nice space that brings people together. All our guests felt as if they were out with a group of friends, having a great, casual party by the bay. We couldn’t have been happier about it.”

And happiness at Parker’s is however you want it. Wedding coordinator Brianna Mehl and chef Kyle Baddorf are all about creating a warm, inviting experience for every guest.

“We try our best to accommodate every request a couple makes,” Mehl said. “We offer a great variety of food options, and Kyle is very creative in tailoring the menu according to whatever specific requests a couple might have. And if you’re not looking for the typical, hotel-like venue – a place that’s laid back and not super fancy, with a simple and elegant beach vibe – we’re that spot.”

Because Parker’s Garage and Oyster Saloon is a one-level restaurant and operating at full scale during the summer season, it’s available for weddings during the first several weeks of May and the five to six weeks following the annual Chowderfest weekend. But that shouldn’t stop anybody from booking at Parker’s, located at 116 Northwest Ave. in Beach Haven.

With space for up to 180 people, pricing that begins at $170 per head, and a whole lot of food choices, Parker’s is a fantastic option for the couple who can appreciate the historic feel of this downtown spot in the Queen City – the restaurant’s name is rooted in the days when Ellis Parker used the location for his 1930s restaurant and houseboat-rental operation. And the food ... Hazelton describes it as “amazing, with so many wonderful options to pick from.”

“We had guests who were vegan and we had a bunch of meat-and-potatoes types, and everything in between,” he said. “Some of our appetizers included mini crab cakes and New England clam chowder croquettes, which were great. We had the raw bar with local clams and oysters. We had steak and halibut as main dishes, and a spaghetti squash dish for our vegan option. And one of the sides was a really fantastic butternut squash succotash. Everything was so good.”

With some two dozen dinner options, 16 appetizer choices and the possibility to add the raw bar to any package, Mehl said Parker’s offers enough for any wedding party. But for that couple who want something a little out of the ordinary, Baddorf “probably can make it happen.”

“We’ve had a couple of people request certain types of food stations, and Kyle has come up with some great ideas to present them,” she said. “So, if you’re one of those couples who wants a slider station, he can get it done. It’s not something we normally serve, but Kyle is good accommodating most things.”

Then it’s a matter of relaxing and enjoying the party.

“For our wedding, we wanted to make sure the most important people in our lives were getting the absolute best, and Parker’s nailed it,” Hazelton said. “It felt like home to everybody in the room.”

As of mid-February, Mehl said four weddings have been booked for this year, but there are times available for more. Parker’s Garage and Oyster Saloon will be part of the LBI Wedding Road Show on April 22, but for more about the venue, visit parkersgaragelbi.com.

— David Biggy

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.