May 18, 2015

Famous Shore restaurant gets total makeover

by Sarah Griesemer, Asbury Park Press

This longtime Jersey Shore restaurant has a new name, look and menu.

The building at 153 Sea Girt Ave. in Manasquan has had many faces.

It has been a handful of different restaurants — Edgar’s, Mulligan’s, and Edgar’s Pub, with a few more in between — but last month, the doors opened on Reef & Barrel.

The new restaurant is the work of brothers Bob and Chris Fahey, who have owned Edgar’s Pub since 2009. The Monmouth County brothers, former restaurateurs in New York City, also own Cross & Orange, a restaurant they opened this February in Asbury Park.

Bob, 39, of Asbury Park and Chris, 40, of Sea Girt grew up in New Jersey — their family had a house in Avon — and while they spent time working in Manhattan, returning to the Shore was always part of the plan.

“We always said to ourselves, if we ever leave here, we’re going to the Jersey Shore,” Bob Fahey said.

A new look, a new menu

When they purchased Edgar’s Pub six years ago, the brothers had planned to make changes right away.

“But we kept it as Edgar’s that summer and it was just a lot of fun, and we saw how much history Edgar’s had,” Fahey said. “When it came time to fix it up and renovate, we said to ourselves, we always wanted to change the name when we first bought it. This would be a perfect opportunity to do so.”

The old menu was mostly Irish tavern-style food — things like meatloaf and heavy entrees, he said, with some healthier and lighter options.

“We wanted to go away from the Irish tavern,” Fahey said. “We decided we wanted to go with more of a beachy, nautical, coastal theme.”

The focus now is on fresh ingredients sourced as locally as possible, he said, things like fresh fish — catches of the day, roasted cod and grilled salmon — plus fish tacos and a lobster roll dressed with chive lemon mayo on a soft buttered roll.

Also on the menu are appetizers of seared filet dipped in garlic butter atop toasted crostini, and short rib tacos with housemade slaw; sandwiches of braised brisket with tomato and cheddar on semolina bread and crab cake with herb aioli on brioche; and entrees of beer-baked clams over linguini and skirt steak with chimichurri and tomatoes.

“We still have our famous Edgar’s burger on the menu,” Fahey said — called the Classic, it’s topped with American cheese and pickles — “and we’ve added another signature burger, the 60/40 burger.” This burger, a blend of rib-eye and ground bacon, comes from the menu at Cross & Orange and is topped with avocado and chipotle mayo.

Rooftop dining

The renovated restaurant opened Memorial Day weekend, and by Father’s Day weekend, the Faheys hope to open Reef & Barrel’s rooftop dining space, which will seat 40 diners. The first-floor space, between its bar and dining areas, seats more than 120.

“It will be a lot of fun up there,” Fahey said of the rooftop area, adding that the space will be available for private parties.

The brothers also are planning to add brunch on the weekends; Reef & Barrel, which currently serves lunch and dinner, is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

“People have been blown away by what we’ve done with the place,” Fahey said. “People are really excited for it.”

Reef & Barrel is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The restaurant is at 153 Sea Girt Ave. in Manasquan.