Homemade Comfort Food Focus at Beach Buns

Jun 07, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill Beach Buns in Surf City.

If smell is really the strongest memory trigger is it any wonder nostalgia is what’s for breakfast at Beach Buns, a new business in Surf City run by a familiar face.

Rob Padavano’s new venture may have only opened its doors in time for Memorial Day weekend, but he and his creations have been here before. In fact, Beach Buns, located at 610 N. Long Beach Blvd. in Surf City, is in the exact location as his previous bakery business.

“I was here in 1983 when they poured the floor,” Padavano, who was semi-retired but bored, said. He thought he was done with the baking and food service industry when he sold off his business, but earlier this year he was approached by someone he knew “about resurrecting the business and opening this place.”

It was an offer Padavano couldn’t refuse. He and his two partners – Jamie Antal, who owns a bakery in the Ortley Beach area, and Kenny Houghtaling – spent the spring getting the storefront ready for business.

“Jamie convinced me to do this,” he said. “He believed in me, and I believed in him. I see in him how I was at his age. Kenny fixed every machine in this place.”

Padavano, a chef by trade who learned to bake, is the man behind the scenes at Beach Buns, arriving each morning by 4:30 to make the fresh baked bread used for sandwiches and sold in loaves, too. Everything except the bagels and doughnuts are made on the premises, he said.

“I am very passionate about what I do, whether it’s building cars or cakes,” Padavano, who ran the kitchen for Window of the World’s Cafe, said, adding he believes the town will support his new business enterprise. “We’re doing some interesting things, like the muffuletta sandwich with a twist.”

While Beach Buns will offer an array of breakfast and dessert options, Padavano, who also ran the kitchen for Chase Manhattan Bank’s executive dining room, said it will also offer lunch and prepared foods as well.

He plans to have a set menu of items that will always be available, but each week he will change about 10 offerings “based on what I can source,” Padavano said.

“If I won’t eat it then I won’t sell it,” he explained, adding he is fussy about what he does eat so only organic and fresh ingredients go into his food. “It’s old school, the way it used to be. It’s about comfort. I’ve just built off that my whole life.”

Speaking of comfort, his dad, who called him up one day all those years ago and asked him what he thought about opening a bakery on the Island, isn’t working for the business this time around but stops in most days to say hello, he said.

Beach Buns is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week for the summer with plans to stay open year ’round.

— Gina G. Scala


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