Work Up an Appetite for Initial LBI Region Restaurant Week

From Beach Haven to Tuckerton, February 2-11
Jan 24, 2018

When Nicole Sexton and her husband come down from Bayonne to spend time at their second home in Manahawkin, their favorite thing to do is visit local restaurants.

Together with friends Jen and Eddie Cody, Sexton helps to administer the “Long Beach Island BITES” page on Facebook, a destination for foodies to share restaurant recommendations, delicious-looking photos of menu items and information about upcoming food-related events.

Considering Restaurant Week is a tradition in places such as New York City, Atlantic City and Philadelphia, Sexton recognized an opportunity on LBI, with the existing Facebook page as a handy platform to help get it started.

“I noticed that LBI never had a Restaurant Week like other towns or counties do,” Sexton explained. “On a Tuesday in December, I thought it might be fun to set one up; on Wednesday, I started calling restaurants and, by Thursday, had our beginning list of participating restaurants.”

The “week” runs 10 days from Feb. 2 to 11 and offers prix fixe menus of three to four courses at a reduced price. Participation is open to any restaurant open through the off-season in Southern Ocean County.

According to Sexton, the mission of the Long Beach Island Winter Restaurant Week is simple: to bring visitors to the Island during one of the more overlooked times, when all is quiet in contrast to the summer months. The idea was also to celebrate the restaurants that stay open and to encourage people to try out restaurants that are new to them, she added. The event gives participating eateries a chance to design a menu that showcases their best dishes for the most discerning guests.

The week is not exactly structured, Sexton said. The hours are determined by each participating restaurant. One, Coffee Bouteaque, even offers brunch, which is uncommon during other RWs. The others taking part are Buckalew’s in Beach Haven, NorthSide Bar and Grille in Surf City, Octopus’s Garden in Mayetta, Osteria 511 in Manahawkin, Panini Bay in Tuckerton Beach, Plantation in Harvey Cedars, The Shack in Beach Haven, Tuckers Tavern in Beach Haven and The Tuckerton Pub in Tuckerton.

All the menus, prices and times are posted on the Long Beach Island Winter Restaurant Week Facebook page, so diners can choose their own culinary adventure.

If successful, organizers will work on broader marketing and sponsorship strategies for next year, but for right now, the main advertising vehicle is social media.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes!” Sexton remarked. “What I hope the diners enjoy is getting out of their homes on a winter weekend and heading out for a great, discounted meal! If they only vacation on (or around) LBI in the summer, this may be a nice excuse for a weekend away. What I hope the restaurants get out of this experience is extra business and some new ‘regulars.’”

— Victoria Ford

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