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Wave Resort and Spa.

There’s a lot to do at Pier Village, but if you’re looking to spend Shabbat at a hotel in the local community, I’d recommend the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel. Situated inside the eruv and a 20-25-minute walk from the nearest shul, the hotel is very familiar with Shabbat-observant guests. They were able to put a second refrigerator in our room, provide us with a magnetic strip for our door, and they even let us park our stroller on the ground floor so we didn’t have to fold and carry it up the stairs.

The hotel has suites that include a second room, which is ideal for those going for Shabbat. Whether you choose to use the extra room as a place to eat, as a playroom for your kids, or just as a place to hang out and read a book, having more space is nice. That said, there’s also a nice outdoor patio that you can use if that’s more your thing.


Another nice feature of the hotel is its indoor/outdoor pool. While most of the pool is inside, there’s a glass wall separating it from the outside portion with a kind of tunnel in between. Not only is this a cool feature that allows those in the pool to swim from inside to outside and back, but it’s also useful when the weather is a bit spotty.

Sarah’s Tent.

Speaking of Shabbat, you might bring your own food with you. But you could also take advantage of being only a few minutes from Deal and local hot spot Sarah’s Tent. It gets a little crazy on Fridays with everyone getting Shabbat takeout from what is basically a mini-mart (carrying a decent variety of kosher packaged goods), with three counters featuring tons of takeout options. You’re in Deal, so you have to grab some mazza (appetizers) at the first counter. It’s a full spread, but my favorite was the Lachmagine (popular enough to be sold by the dozen). The second counter is dedicated to the many types of chicken. Of the various types, I’d suggest the Tennessee and Chipotle chicken tenders.

The main counter carries basically everything else, but two things I’d recommend you grab are the Honey Garlic Roast (great balanced flavor) and the Stuffed Chicken Breast (the stuffing makes for a taste of Thanksgiving). On the grocery side, don’t sleep on the house-made dips, the best of which is the South of the Border. Just remember that you’re in Deal, which means a Sephardi population and some real spiciness. Sarah’s Tent only really makes one dessert, but it’s a great one. The Toll House Pie is a cookie pie with chocolate and marshmallow and a warm slice hits the spot.

If Saturday night rolls around and you’re looking to get some pizza, visit Crust Co. Pizza in West Long Branch. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s open late even when Shabbat ends late. Grab a veggie slice and some fries if you’re trying to satisfy that classic Saturday night craving. Tables are fairly hard to come by, so be prepared to take it with you if needed.

Continuing with the Jewish weekend timeline, some people wake up on Sunday morning and want bagels. But this is vacation and you can’t leave the Jersey Shore without stopping by the famous Broad Street Dough Co. in Oakhurst. It’s a few minutes from Long Branch, but it’s certainly worth it. With donuts that are fried and decorated to order in front of you, this place is really fun to walk into.

An extensive menu with pictures will be on the wall, while the specials of the day are usually on display at the counter (though you get a fresh one). The two that stood out to me were the Howell Crunch (maple, vanilla, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and the Broadstreet (chocolate, pretzels, peanuts, caramel). Keep in mind that they can make any of these donuts as miniatures and can make many of them both gluten-free and vegan using an alternative dough.

One more area of Long Branch that you should be aware of is the West End. Not actually the west end of anything, it gets its name from the streets that are named for places in London. It’s located about a mile south of Pier Village and it’s where most of the shuls are. So if you’re looking for a minyan, you’ll find it there at Chabad of the Shore, one of the two Sefardic shuls (Shaare Ezra or Sephardic Torah Center), or the Ashkenaz shul that only has a minyan on Shabbat (Brothers of Israel).

West End also features the rest of the kosher options in the area, including Grandma’s Cheese Cafe. If it’s brunch you’re looking for, this is the place for you. Soups, sandwiches, toasts, salads, pasta… they’ve got everything you want. And don’t forget to pick up some of their signature cheeses on your way out. It’s one of the few places to buy kosher burrata, and the Syrian-style flavored string cheeses are awesome.

If it’s a sandwich you want, try the Pesto Panini. The ciabatta bread is a great crust and they use both pesto and their house pesto cheese to make the flavor extra strong. The Tomato Soup is also a best seller and goes well with anything from the Grandma’s Avo Toast (made with spicy cheese on sourdough) to one of the tuna sandwiches. My strongest recommendation goes to the Fettuccine Alfredo with its perfect combination of creaminess and cheesiness.

Strollo’s Lighthouse.

The dessert options in this part of town are a little bit lighter than on the boardwalk, but you still have a couple of options. You can try Strollo’s Lighthouse for Italian ices so smooth they come out of a kind of frozen yogurt machine. They have eight flavors and will put as many as four in the same cup. They also carry soft-serve ice cream and can make a “breeze” that blends the ice cream and Italian ices together. For ices alone, I’d suggest the lemon or mango. If you’re adventurous enough to try the breeze, try blending the peanut butter ice into the vanilla ice cream.

Right down the block, you’ll find Urban Pops, a shore summer staple. They serve a wide variety of pareve sorbet and gelato pops. Made with high quality ingredients and coming in mini and full size, these delightful treats run the gamut when it comes to flavor profiles. From strawberry shortcake to limonana and from Ferrero Rocher to Napoleon, you’ll have plenty of options from which to choose.

The original fine dining place in town, 656 Ocean is here as well. Open for almost 20 years, this American bistro has been serving upscale cuisine long before the recent explosion of kosher options in the area. Whether it’s sushi, salads, steaks, or their selection of eclectic entrees, 656 is a reliable option that will likely be around for years to come.

In the same building, you’ll find Stinger’s Diner, a sports bar with a retro theme that looks like it’s out of a movie set. With cool neon lighting, black and white floor tiles, and booths that include a few that are meant to look like convertibles from the 1950s, you won’t find another place like this anywhere in the kosher world. They have a full bar with a bunch of TVs for you to follow any sporting event you’re looking for. Their menu includes sushi and salads, but it’s a sports bar, so their specialties are the burgers, subs, wraps and sandwiches.

The Pulled Beef Sub is a good choice if you’re looking for something simple. The toasted sub and the pulled beef make for a great “crunch and mush” mouthfeel and the beef taste isn’t drowned out by the barbeque sauce. The Smokehouse Burger is a really solid hearty burger with all the requisite veggie toppings, along with your choice of pulled beef, smoked brisket, or pastrami. I went with the brisket and wasn’t disappointed. The Steak Fajita Platter is a do-it-yourself wrap that comes with strips of steak, peppers and onions, and rice. The portion is so big you couldn’t possibly fit everything in the wrap, but you’ll be glad to have extra to eat with a fork.

Needless to say, there’s a lot going on in Long Branch these days. If you’re looking to just visit for a day at the beach, do three days of activities, or even a full week of relaxing including a Shabbat, the shore is ready for you.

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Nati Burnside lives in Fair Lawn, NJ, and is a man of many interests. The opinions in this piece are his own, but feel free to adopt them for yourself. In fact, he encourages you to do so.