The Jersey Shore tends to be a popular tourist attraction for one reason and one reason only: the hit MTV series, Jersey Shore. While Seaside Heights may be the average tourist's idea of what the Jersey Shore is like, the actual places where New-Jerseyans enjoy their downtime doesn't typically just include a rowdy crowd of adults partying all through the day and night. That's right—There's more than just beer pong, promiscuous dancing, and skinny dipping. What most people tend to overlook are the incredible #EEEEEATS that can be found in several shore towns. Margate and Long Branch are my two favs (just to name a few) and are also today's featured stars. 

First, let's head down to Exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway to the quaint beach town of Long Branch. Here, there's no possible way you can be bored, being that there's every activity imaginable, including shopping, beaching, mini golfing, and of course, eating. In the bustling Pier Village, otherwise known as the center of all life in Long Branch, the selection of restaurants are endless, leaving your palate beyond satisfied, no matter the style of cuisine you choose.

Coney Waffle 

Avery Paulen

Picture the scent of your mother's famous waffles lingering throughout your house on a beautiful Saturday morning. Now, take that nostalgia and combine it with a scoop (or two, or even three) of your favorite flavor of ice cream and BOOM! You've got yourself a signature Coney Waffle delicacy. The shop offers hungry beach-goers over 40 flavors of hard ice cream, including vegan flavors. With an authentic, New York taste, there's no way you'll leave unsatisfied. So give yourself the gift of Coney Waffle, and your mouth will be sure to thank you.

Stewart's Root Beer

If you're a regular diner-goer, I can assure you, you've never had diner food quite like Stewart's. This high-end gastropub has an endless selection of draft beers on tap, that is, of course, if you are 21 and over. They also have the best french fries on the east coast. Let's admit it—a summer day without high-quality fast (and fried) food and a "cold one" to accompany it is definitely a summer day wasted. 

The Turning Point

Creamy avocado toast. Sunny-side-up eggs, basking in perfectly seasoned, crunchy hash browns. Lucious pancakes in every which flavor, doused in sweet maple syrup, topped with fresh fruit that embody the true tastes of summer. If your mouth isn't watering yet, then I don't know what will make it succumb to the pleasure that is The Turning Point. Just a few steps away from the beach, this adorable little breakfast and brunch joint serves up some of the best beach eats I've ever had, which probably explains why the line is always out the door. It's how I start my mornings every time I take the journey to Long Branch. If you're a native New Jerseyan like myself, there's no way you can surpass an opportunity to try some of the best pancakes on our side of the fence. 

#SpoonTip: Since The Turning Point doesn't take reservations, use the Yelp Waitlist feature to see when the best available time to dine is.

McLoone's Pier House

If you go down the shore and don't eat or Instagram some seafood, did you really go down the shore? McLoones offers the some of best lobster New Jersey can buy. I prefer the classic lobster tails, doused in butter and served with a side of vegetables. 

Even better than the food is McLoone's ambiance. Located right on the pier, each table has stellar beach views, indoor and out. I tend to dine in the outside area so that I can hear and smell the ocean, giving me a constant reminder and newfound appreciation about where my food actually came from. This feeling really does make you appreciate what's right in front of you. 

The Corner Cafe Bistro

The Corner Cafe is the place to go when your stomach starts calling for a meal, but you don't want to leave the beach for an extended period of time. With fast counter service, its inviting industrial design, and a vast selection of salads, sandwiches, pastries, gelato, and iced and hot coffees, there's something for everyone. My go to? The cranberry pecan feta salad with an iced cafe caramel macchiato—the perfect summer lunch. And here's the best part about this adorable little joint: they serve breakfast all day. Who doesn't love some good breakfast for dinner?

Bobby Chez

If you know me, you know I'm the type of person that would settle for a meal from Wawa almost any day, but there's no possible way I can pass up a meal from this restaurant. I can promise you, you've never had real crab cakes until you've had Bobby Chez. The official seafood destination of Margate City, New Jersey, Bobby serves up gourmet fast food for those on-the-go. Every time I'm in Margate, I always make time to pick up some of their famous Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. My family likes to order them in bulk to be brought back to the house for a proper feast (since these seafood delights deserve nothing but the best). Even in the off-season, we constantly find ourselves reminiscing about the taste of a Bobby Chez Crab Cake, and anticipate our return to Margate so that we can devour them again. 

Leo's YumYum Truck

Avery Paulen

I'm sitting on the beach as a little girl, and all of a sudden, I hear the infamous bell ringing that signals the arrival of Leo's YumYum Truck. I, along with all the other kids, sprint to be first in line. My mom frantically chases me to give me a few dollars for a cup of my favorite water ice flavor, Piña Colada. This routine has been in place every summer since I was little. I'd be lying on the beach, working on my summer tan, when my senses are ignited by that magical bell—My tastebuds start tingling, my eyes start gleaming, and my legs start running as fast as they can. Water ice, in my opinion, is the true epitome of summer, and there's no food that's more refreshing, vibrant, and nostalgic. 

Custard's Last Stand

Located in Ventnor City, New Jersey, Custard's has been satisfying customers since 1985. I have been going here since I was a child, and even though the menu tends to never change, you can almost always feel the magic of the warm summer's night while eating on the scenic front deck. A long beach day always calls for some ice cream, so why not make it extra memorable at Custard's Last Stand?

Two Cents Plain

At Two Cents Plain, waffles, hot fudge, and ice cream join together to create an unforgettable bite. The line out the door every night throughout the summer months is testifiable to the fact that the food is definitely worth it. My go-to order is a waffle with peanut butter ice cream and Reese's peanut butter cups. While these Instagrammable perfections may be worth a thousand calories, it is summer, so, as we foodies like to say, it's perfectly acceptable to let yourself go. 

Steve & Cookies

My stomach is just growling thinking about the baked and creamy lobster mac & cheese from this conveniently located bayside restaurant. Although a little pricey, its totally worth it to splurge on a good meal here while enjoying scenic views of the bay. Another one of my favorite appetizers is the crispy sushi tuna roll, with plum-ginger and lime dipping sauces. And of course, how can you pass up a jumbo lump crab cake? No matter the direction you choose, you're sure to be 100% satisfied each and every time (hence why I return so often). For those 21+, they also have a wide variety of refreshing, signature cocktails, including The Peechy Keen Martini and a Steve & Cookie's Patron Perfect Margarita. 

Margate Dairy Bar

Not only does the Dairy Bar have exactly what you'd expect—ice cream galore—but they also have burgers, fries, and other fast foods that customers can feast on while they relic in the spirit of its 50's drive-in diner vibe. While the build-your-own-burger bar definitely deserves some recognition, the real stars of the show are the desserts—hand dipped and soft ice cream, frozen chocolate covered bananas, and giant chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches. Plus, they deliver, so you can order your burger and a frozen treat to the beach so you don't have to interrupt your tanning sesh.

Ventura's Greenhouse

Interested in eating at a restaurant with a little bit of history? The Greenhouse is located right next to a world-famous landmark, Lucy the Elephant. Lucy is a six-story-high elephant, built in 1882, that points directly towards the Atlantic Ocean as an indicator to sailors that they have reached the shore. Visitors are allowed access into Lucy to climb to the top and enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean. So, after dinner, you can watch the sunset atop a giant elephant. 

Avery Paulen

Other than the fascinating history associated with the Greenhouse, the lively atmosphere and food are also winners. We normally order a white pizza for the table, and I order a crab cake sandwich or Caesar salad to accompany it. Nearly every time we eat here, the music is blasting, the indoor Tiki Bar and outdoor Rooftop Bars are hopping, and the customers are smiling. 

Downbeach Deli

It is absolutely essential for a shore-goer to partake in Sunday morning brunch, so what better place to go than Downbeach Deli? Their Sunday brunch combo has anything from egg omelets to waffles, to pancakes, and everything else in between. Here's an added bonus: they cater to any event. So if you're planning on throwing the ultimate summer beach bash, Downbeach Deli is the place to call for sandwiches, soups, salads, and more. 


Everyone in Margate knows that Tomatoes has got it going on. Whether you come here to socialize and have a few drinks during Happy Hour or simply to experience the meal of a lifetime, it truly delivers. They specialize in all different types of cuisine, including gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. Not to mention, the service is also exceptional. The inviting atmosphere encourages you to stay for hours and mingle, even after you've sent back the check. My go-to dish is the muscles since there's no better word to describe them than 'heavenly'. The Karen Roll is also worth noting. The unique combination of shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, topped with shrimp, avocado, and honey sauce makes it a remarkable bite. 

Whether you chose to use this guide as a reference, bucket list, or road map, I hope it finds you well. The summer of a lifetime should be accompanied by incredible food, so do your palate a favor and give yourself the gift of a Jersey Shore meal. Rest assured, you won't be disappointed.