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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Mix It Up in Asbury Park


2. Where to Eat

Located in the landmark Art Deco building long occupied by Howard Johnson’s, the Saltwater Beach Café (1200 Ocean Ave.; 732-774-1400) opened on Memorial Day with a former Four Seasons chef and a killer, open-faced crab-cake sandwich. Spiffed up as it is, the restaurant’s dark-wood-and-tile interior can’t compete with the people-watching on the boardwalk patio.

Meet the locals—including (possibly) Bruce Springsteen—at Frank’s Deli & Restaurant (1406 Main St.; 732-775-6682), where three generations of the same Asbury clan can be spotted behind the counter. Grab a red vinyl counter seat, and gird yourself for a heart-stopping Jersey classic: the pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich.

Arrive early to avoid a long wait at Spanish-Portuguese Bistro Olé, across from the train station—it opens at 5 p.m. and doesn’t take reservations. Well-spiced paella Valenciana, pesto-topped sea bass, and a charismatic owner (the one-named Rico) keep the place packed.

No weekend in Asbury is complete without one heaping Italian meal. Jimmy’s Italian Restaurant is as old-school as it gets: There’s valet service in the lot; a buttery sole Juliet on the menu; and a booths-and-mirrors interior crowded with photos of the late Jimmy arm in arm with Sinatra, Nixon, and, of course, Springsteen.

Published on Jul 12, 2007 as a web exclusive.

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