Business Notes

Carol’s Organic Eatery New to Beach Haven

Vegan, Plus Their Own Spin on Chocolate Pizza
May 24, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The sign for Carol’s Organic Eatery is a standout in Beach Haven because it signals a rarity – a vegan destination. That rarity is what had sent Carol Zarrillo and her chef husband, Donato, in search of a site to open a small vegetarian/vegan restaurant.

They found an available building at 805 North Bay Ave., and people immediately began taking notice.

Donato Zarillio used to have an Italian restaurant in Toms River. A vegan himself, he has experienced health benefits from that lifestyle choice. Carol turned vegetarian last year, and her husband’s flair with vegan ingredients is turning the tide in her tastes even further.

“He had been saying, ‘There’s no place to eat for me.’ We notice it everywhere we go,” said Carol. The inside of their eclectically decorated shop has a map of vegan places across America that anyone can add to if they know of one.

“We said, ‘You know what? If we open up a place, that’s the way to go.’ He said, ‘We have to do it, and we have to do it now.’”

Great organic options span all times of day.The tomato pies, grab and go wraps and vegetarian beach subs, Buffalo-style tempeh, pasta with vegan meatballs or sausage, breakfast with a vegan version of pork roll sandwiches, and more are there to try. Check out the fair prices, especially on the daily specials.

Also ask for a banana-kale smoothie, to which a healthy dose of either spirulina or chlorella can be added.

Top it off with organic coffee and maybe a specialty dessert of “chocolate pizza.”

Ever since a soft opening on weekends at the end of April, Carol Zarrillo has been encouraged by the number of people who have stopped in and said they’d be back.

“Even when I went to the town zoning board, after I explained what I was going to do, they said it was a good thing that you’re bringing to this town,” she said. “I felt good about that.”

Donato becomes known for his organic pizza everywhere he goes. The signature sauce is his grandmother’s. The couple have spent time in Florida when a son was in school there, and when customers bought the pizza and saw the sauce packaged for sale to go, they would say, “If that’s the sauce that’s on the pizza, I want some.”

“It was selling like hotcakes. He does make good sauce,” Carol endorsed.

The definition of vegan is using or containing no animal products. So if you see chicken salad on the menu, it’s really chickenless salad. A customer gave it five stars when she took some home one of the first days open.

“The majority of the items are vegan,” Carol said. “The only thing that we really have vegetarian here is the half-and-half for the coffee, and we use a mozzarella cheese that’s vegetarian.”

While vegans are attracted for the food, the eye is also captivated by the decor the first second inside the door. It mixes nautical with rustic/antique with exotic (old trunks from a friend, an artist and Carol’s mother) with fun art (they’re big on pirates).

“We had everything, and we wanted to incorporate it all into one,” Carol said. “You can see everything; you’re not bored when you’re sitting here.”

It’s always good to have something fresh to talk about at the table just by looking around. Four more of the new, polished aluminum tables are outside for those who want to dine in the sun.

Speaking of “talking about,” what was that about chocolate pizza?

“All my nieces and some people we used to know would say, ‘When are you opening again? We want your chocolate pizza,’” Carol confirmed. “A lot of people have chocolate pizzas, but my husband had this, like, 20 years ago.”

Their topping creation uses a homemade and vegan version of the popular hazelnut-chocolate mixture, and it is adorned with walnuts and whipped cream.

They have a Facebook page at Carol’s Organic Eatery, and the phone number is 732-814-9367.

— Maria Scandale





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