Exploring the Jersey Shore is like getting an education on new summer haunts that I haven’t visited before. Today my exploration took me to breakfast at Catherine’s on the Ocean in Ortley Beach, with an added adventure to check out the Ortley Beach Surf Club.
Not only is Catherine’s a cool breakfast with a good breakfast at the right price, but its venue is right smack on the Ocean. In in the evenings, for dinner, Catherine’s is a well-liked among the surf crowd, Italian restaurant. Catherine’s is part of Joey Harrison’s Surf Club, the place to have a drink and relax when you’re in Ortley Beach.
The mood at the Surf Club is friendly, similar to Cheer’s in Boston, “where everybody knows your name.” It’s obvious there are ‘the regulars’ who haven’t left the bar stool in a while and have been enjoying their time at the Surf Club over the years. The reason - this is the only place on the Jersey Shore that has been “grandfathered-in” to serve drinks on the beach. In all of the other beach communities along the Jersey Shore, having an open can or bottle of an alcoholic beverage is a no-no. So say, “Hello, Surf Club!” if you’d like to have your pina colada delivered by a waitress to your lounge chair in the sand.
While sifting sand through your toes, facing the ocean, look to your right, that’s Seaside Park, rides and boardwalk attractions for the entire family. Yes, it’s the scene of Jersey Shore, the reality television series that has made the Italian population say, “What the hell, we don’t talk that way.”
So if you’re a Snooki fan, and love the Situation, this is the part of the Jersey Shore that has that crew of reality television stars lined up for your perusal. If you’re not a Jersey Shore fan, then come visit some of the other attractions and amusement park in the Ortley Beach-Seaside Park section of town.
Things get really interesting at Joey Harrison’s Surf Club. I met the bartender Joel Diorio, who has quite a gig going for himself. He’s trying to get the media’s attention with what he calls “his box”. I didn’t understand the entire concept, but this man and a picture of his box have traveled across the country and even overseas to Aruba. It’s a concept Joel says that’s going to make him rich. I bid him good luck, thanked him for giving me some of the information contained in this story and told him I’d come back to see him again.
As we explore a bit more of the Shore, our next stop is Long Beach Island. As Jerseyites, we tend to use the Parkway exits to give a sense of location. So we’ll be exiting the Parkway on Exit 63 and heading east over the bridge into LBI.
Photos: Patricia Florio
See last week’s article: Exploring the Shore: Breakfast in Toms River, New Jersey