low down

The Low Down on the Local Food Scene

No matter where you go to college, you can guarantee there will be places near you that you can eat. Of course, there’s always the local McDonald’s or Dominos, but I’m talking about food that you can feel good about eating (sometimes, for really good prices).A few weeks ago I discussed how we aren’t lacking local bars around Monmouth, and we definitely aren’t lacking food either. 

I like to think of myself as a breakfast and sandwich connoisseur, so it didn’t take me long to scope out every sandwich place within the 732 area code. Along with that came breakfast places, and I’m not just talking about TAYLOR HAM (North Jersey people, preach with me) egg and cheese, which there are plenty of. I’m talking about whatever kind of sandwich you want, you can get it around here.

Let me start off local. If you don’t know what Brennan’s is, please get in your car and drive off campus, the dining hall is not going anywhere. Brennan’s Delicatessen in Oakhurst has a large variety of deli sandwiches, which come with almost everything you could imagine. They also have breakfast sandwiches, different types of salads, options you could have for dinner like chicken parm or fish, and a bunch of desserts from cookies to cannoli’s. If you enjoy a good deli sandwich arranged pretty much any way you can think of, go to Brennan’s.

While we’re on the topic of local sandwich places, you can try Neil’s Kitchen in Long Branch too. They have a large variety of both hot and cold sandwiches, sides like french fries and chicken fingers and multiple Italian entrees like baked ravioli. They also have soups and I would recommend the Spicy Cream of Artichoke. Don’t knock it till you try it, it’s awesome. 

There is also the Hungry Hobo, which is a small, diner-kind of place in West Long Branch. They have a ton of breakfast and lunch options, from soup and sandwiches to pancakes and French toast. They have several options on how you can order a college favorite, TAYLOR HAM (otherwise wrongly known as pork roll). You can get it on a regular roll or bagel, but you can also mix it up and get it on a quesadilla. They serve this with salsa and sour cream, which may sound strange, but it’s a great combination. 

Another local breakfast place (that has a bunch of options for lunch and dinner as well) is Amy’s Omelette House. As the name states, the menu boasts a huge page of every different omelet imaginable. Their menu is extension, and offered a huge variety of pancakes, french toast, and breakfast sandwiches. As you continue on, there is huge section of lunch options and dinner entrees, from pastas to comfort classics like your mother’s homemade meat loaf. 

If you like the Italian food route, or simply want a slice of pizza, there are tons of spots to check out around here. My favorite is Scala’s Pizzeria in Long Branch, their penne vodka pizza is arguably the best around. There is also Joe’s Pizza III in West Long Branch, who have great pizza and sandwiches named after athletes and Gianni’s in Oakhurst, which has a very large menu of pizza and sandwiches as well. These are just a few, there are pretty much pizza places around every corner. 

If you want to travel a little further, Porta Pizzeria in Asbury Park is known for their delicious pizza. Leila Ali, a senior sociology student, says Porta is her favorite place to eat. “Their pizza is amazing, beyond regular, everyday pizza. It’s all fresh, homemade ingredients and they use a wood burning oven that was handmade in Italy and sent here specifically for Porta.”

“Everyone that makes the pizza is trained by this lady who was certified in New York to make Neapolitan pizza. The pasta is amazing and they have a lot of gluten free options. They also have this octopus (it sounds weird) but they received five stars for it, it’s bang bang,” Ali added. 

There are also many places a little distance from school. Toast in Asbury Park has a bunch of healthy breakfast and lunch options, as well as gluten free options too. The Kitchen Witch is Monmouth Beach also has a ton of healthy breakfast and lunch options, and are famous for their maple-glazed bacon (literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.) 

Sheila McAllister, an assistant professor of communication, said, “I love the Turning Point in Pier Village, but I also like Frankie’s Bar and Grill in Point Pleasant. It’s an inland hamburger place. There’s always a wait and a line out the door all year round, not just during the summer season.”

“I don’t eat red meat but when I have a burger, it’s from Frankie’s,” McAllister added. She also talked about how great Cookie Lady Cafe in Point Pleasant is.

If you want a snack, go to Broad Street Dough Co., in Ocean Township which makes fresh, homemade, hot doughnuts stuffed and topped with everything imaginable. They also have a special doughnut of the day, everyday, which are all awesome. You can also stop at The Inkwell, in Long Branch, for a variety of apps, snacks, and deep-fried dishes. They’re open late, so you can get your 12 am mac & cheese bite fix in.

The owners of Antonio’s Gourmet Italian Specialties in Wanamassa (which is part of Ocean Township) actually know my friends and I because we’ve gone there so often for the last two years. They have amazing homemade rice balls stuffed with meat and cheese (seriously, go try them) and fresh sandwiches as well as tons of Italian dishes like Penne Vodka, different types of deli meats, and salads. Honestly if you go anywhere, go here. They sell homemade sauces, pasteries, and every homemade Italian specality you miss from home. The owners are awesome and remember you when you come in too! 

Jordan Delong, a junior finance major, just went to Antonio’s for the first time on Monday and said it was one of the best places he’s eaten near school. “I had the fried chicken and bacon sandwich. The chicken was super tender but the standout thing for me was the cheese. I think it was either cheddar or provolone but it was so flavorful I wish there was even more on the wrap.”

“The deli itself is filled with premade Italian food that looked delicious. After eating that sandwich I just want to go back and buy everything there,” Delong added. 

No matter what you’re in the mood for, there is a place to get it around here. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a quick snack, there a so many places to go around Monmouth, these just being a few. Check out your own places and let me know, I’m always down to try a new sandwich. 

PHOTO TAKEN from asburyparksun.com