Families have gathered at the Jersey Shore for generations. As such, many area restaurants have set out to craft the perfect night out that both adults and kids will love. Livening things up with music and dancing and keeping tummies satisfied with everything from kid-friendly food to sophisticated fare, shore restaurants are making summers fun for families.
“Fun for the whole family is really part of our success here. You can have dinner, enjoy the band, have fun at the beach and make a night that the whole family will enjoy,” says Rip Reynolds, owner and operator at Laguna Grill & Rum Bar in Brigantine.
Reynolds explains that he and his business partner Tony Bruno have set out to make Laguna family-friendly seven days a week and feature a special kids night every Tuesday.
Kids will love to play in the sand at Laguna, while parents sit back a listen to live music.
“Every Tuesday is family fun night, with dueling pianos, balloon guys, sand art, games and more,” Reynolds says.
Family fun night runs from 6 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday till Labor Day. There is also live music every day during the summer season.
Laguna features an eclectic menu with many seafood selections, including a fresh catch section that allows you to pick how your seafood is prepared, topped and sauced, plus a side. Seafood selections include: ahi tuna, grouper, salmon, scallops, crab cakes, mahi mahi and Chilean sea bass. Other menu selections include burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta and more. Laguna is open for the summer season 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays. Located at 1400 Ocean Ave. in Brigantine. Go to LagunaGrillAndRumBar.com.
Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City is located across from the Steel Pier on the Boardwalk, so after you get your fill of rides and games, you can add in some rock ’n’ roll at the Hard Rock. There is patio dining on the boardwalk, live music every Friday night and a menu that all will love. As a bonus, the kids’ meals, which include pizza, chicken fingers, hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as healthier options like grilled chicken and pasta, are served on awesome guitar-shaped plates. On the regular menu, adults will love the Hard Rock’s world-famous burgers, as well as some unique items such as cauliflower wings and healthy options like grilled Norwegian salmon. The Hard Rock offers free valet parking at South Pennsylvania Avenue and the Boardwalk with a purchase of $25 or more. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Located at 1000 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to HardRock.com.
Rainforest Café in Atlantic City caters to kids, as well as the kid in all of us. Its Wild Bunch Kids Zone features a lovable cast of animal characters, plus activity books and more, keeping youngsters busy while the grown-ups enjoy their meal. There are also plenty of healthy options on the menu, such as grilled chicken with steamed veggies; kale and red quinoa salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and a lemon vinaigrette; and the Rainforest Natural Burger — a meatless patty made with garbanzo beans, vegetables, sesame seeds and spices served with guacamole, lettuce and tomato. That said, there are also plenty of dishes to delight those that like to walk on the wild side, from tacos and fajitas to burgers and barbecue. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays. Located at 2201 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to RainforestCafe.com.
Johnny Rockets in Atlantic City on the Boardwalk at Bally’s brings the feel of a 1950s burger joint to life. Kids and adults will gobble up the nostalgia and the fresh, never-frozen certified Angus burgers, hand-spun shakes, fries and more. Open 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Located at 1900 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to JohnnyRockets.com.
Smithville Inn and Fred and Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern and Restaurant in the Historic Town of Smithville will transport you to bygone eras filled with fun for the entire family. Ride the train and carousel, stop by the toy shop then settle in for a delicious dinner at either the Smithville Inn or Fred and Ethel’s.
The Smithville Inn was built in 1787 and offers a sophisticated but kid-friendly dining experience overlooking Lake Monroe. It’s the perfect restaurant for a special night out for the entire family. The Smithville Inn is also well-known for its Sunday Brunch. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
Fred and Ethel’s is a classic bar and grill that specializes in homemade fare. It’s casual, fun and great for the whole family, especially after a day of shopping at Smithville’s 60 unique shops. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Located at 615 E. Moss Mill Road in Smithville. Go to HistoricSmithville.com.
Margate Dairy Bar & Burger has been an iconic family favorite since 1952.
“I’ve listened to every 4-year-old, 40-year-old and 80-year-old to find out exactly what they want,” says Chris Clayton, the owner and operator.
A kid can enjoy an antibiotic-free and hormone-free, 100 percent all-natural Angus beef burger, while grown-ups dine on a signature lamb burger with tzatziki sauce, lettuce tomato and onion. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options. For dessert, check out the classic favorites or the dairy-free and organic selections.
Every Friday night features live jazz from 7 to 10 p.m., and on Wednesdays and Sundays the internationally acclaimed magician and entertainer Chad Juros delights from 6 to 9 p.m. The Burger Bar is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The Dairy Bar is open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Located at 9510 Ventnor Ave. in Margate. Go to MargateDairyBar.com.
Downbeach Deli serves traditional, New York-style deli fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner that the whole family will love in a relaxed atmosphere. They also deliver to the beach and feature dinner specials for $12.95. Open 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Located at 8 S. Essex Ave. in Margate. Go to DownbeachDeli.net.
Barrels of Margate has been cooking up authentic Italian food since 1959. Originating in South Philly, Barrels has served family recipes for four generations. Barrels offers dine-in, take-out and delivery. Be sure to check out its homemade meatballs and Rosie’s award-winning soups. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Located at 8409 Ventnor Ave. in Margate. Go to BarrelsMargate.com.
Manco and Manco pizza has been a favorite for generations on the Ocean City boardwalk. With three locations on the boards and one in Somers Point, Manco and Manco is well-known for its signature thin, crispy pizza, covered in lots of melting cheese. Opens 11 a.m. daily. Located on the Boardwalk at 8th, 9th and 12th streets in Ocean City and in the Ocean Heights Shopping Center in Somers Point. Go to MancosPizza.com.
The Crab Trap and Crabby Jack’s Deck Bar are long-time family favorites. Known for its seafood, the Crab Trap is a summer must for area residents and visitors. Crabby Jack’s Deck Bar overlooks the beautiful Great Egg Harbor Bay and offers a more casual, outdoor dining option. Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located at 2 Broadway in Somers Point. Go to TheCrabTrap.com.
Skettie’s Italian Restaurant and Bar offers classic Italian and seafood selections, as well as a brick-oven pizza pub. There are selections that the entire family will love, including artisan pastas, pizzas, hero sandwiches, entrees, fresh seafood and more, with a full bar with an extensive wine list. Skettie’s offers dine in or take-out. Open 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Located at 301 Roosevelt Blvd. in Marmora. Go to SkettiesRestaurant.com.
Yesterday’s Restaurant features live music Thursdays through Saturdays. With lovely views and a casual, fun ambiance it’s the perfect place to take the whole family. Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Located at 316 Roosevelt Blvd. in Marmora. Go to YesterdaysBar.com.
Moe’s Southwest Grill: Kids eat free every Sunday with the purchase of an adult entrée. 4215 Black Horse Pike in Mays Landing. Go to Moes.com.
Friendly’s: Kids meals are just $2.99 on Wednesdays. 1003 on Tilton Road in Northfield. Go to Friendlys.com.
IHOP: Kids eat free Wednesdays and Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m. with the purchase of an adult entrée. 4618 Black Horse Pike in Mays Landing. Go to IHOP.com.