Terrace Tavern Hosts ‘Just Beneath the Surface’ Season Two Premiere

Jul 04, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

On June 26 at Terrace Tavern, Jon Coen stood on a chair and shouted above the din and hubbub of the bar, “I’m going to make this quick.” A rolling hush settled across the tavern as a sea of genial, familiar faces turned, staring expectantly back at the creator of the mini documentary series “Just Beneath the Surface.”

This web series highlights Long Beach Island and surrounding areas. “The title is ‘Just Beneath the Surface’ because we’re telling the stories that are a little bit deeper,” said Coen, “so the people who visit have a better understanding of the area. And maybe that leads to them being a little more conscious of our environment and community.”

Terrace Tavern was brimming with locals and vacationers for the premiere event, a perfect opportunity for the Beach Haven Terrace eatery to show off its latest, trendy renovations – most important among them were increased seating accommodations for patrons. Every stool was occupied, every table full, every corner filled. There seemed to be a steady influx of guests pouring in through the restaurant’s entrance throughout the evening’s entirety.

The spotlight of season 2 episode 1 beamed on Long Beach Island’s “sweet treats and birds of prey.” The episode’s opening featured a humorous snippet of actor Ray Romano’s 2017 interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” In the interview, the celebrity gushes about our humble Long Beach Island, which he’s been known to frequent most summers.

“We went to the exotic Jersey Shore,” Romano says when Kimmel asks him where he’s recently vacationed.

“What do you do while you’re there? Nothing?” asks an incredulous Kimmel.

“If you call getting custard every night nothing, then …” jokes Romano. And just like that, the stage was set for a deep-dive into LBI’s dessert culture.

The episode proceeded with interviews from Barry’s Restaurant and other local haunts that nurture the Island’s cherished sweet traditions. Later on, experts from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey educated viewers on the winged creatures native to our region. But why the seemingly random marriage of these two themes: ice cream and birds? Coen said the sentimentality of dessert traditions was a fair complement to wildlife.

Many of the episode’s leading ladies and gentlemen were among the premiere attendees, evident from the hoots and hollers that erupted when a locally made celebrity hit the silver screen.

Working in conjunction with Ocean County-based production company Oak Leaf Media and the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, Coen has put together a dazzling cinematic experience. The episode is expertly shot. Beautiful, intermittent landscape scenes flow in neat succession, featuring the community’s rolling marshlands, beaches and bay. Smiling faces evoke the appeal and charm of the Island that the project suggests.

“I’ve been all over the world, and I knew we have nature, characters and imagery that can look as good as anywhere,” said Coen. Indeed, the vibrant greens, salty backdrops and vintage storefronts of our little island could rival the quaintness of New England and the dramatic scenery of the West.

“It’s not just about bringing more people to LBI. It’s also about making the people who already come here more engaged visitors,” said Coen. “I love New Jersey. Any chance I can get to change people’s perception of our state as smokestacks on the turnpike and chubby guys in sweat suits, I’ll take it.”

There will be one more episode premiere, July 20 at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club in Beach Haven, a sponsor of “Just Beneath the Surface” season 2. “Jaimee Boyle and Brittany Solon are really excited to make it a huge night. They’ll have an A/V guy and a movie screen so everyone can watch,” said Coen.

This next episode of the documentary series will emphasize long boarding and local fire and rescue volunteers. All of season 1, the brand videos, and the pilot episode are online at justbeneaththesurfacenj.com/.   

— Sarah Hodgson

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