Best of the Shore 2010

And we do mean the whole Shore. From great Boardwalk eats to fancy boutiques, quiet places for a sunset dinner to rowdy bars for partying, we bring you the tops up and down the Garden State coastline, including the Jersey Cape, LBI, and for the first time ever, the North Jersey beaches. Come on in, the water’s fine.


COFFEE SHOP
   When Who’s On First opened a couple of years ago, it immediately drew a line of locals craving La Colombe Americanos and the warm, crunchy mocha-chip or oatmeal-raspberry or peach-ginger diet-spoiling scones that have become as essential to any Ocean City stay as Kohr’s soft serve, Shriver’s saltwater taffy and Voltaco’s lasagna.  100 Asbury Avenue, 609-399-0764, whosonfirststreet.com.

PIZZA   Behold a bold move: Prep’s Pizzeria & Dairy Bar, a family-run place that feels as classic as the preppy ’80s, is the place we prefer for a sit-down pie—and, if we still have room left, homemade Belgian waffles with ice cream. (Sorry, Mack & Manco’s. You know we’ll be back this year, too. After all, you’re Mack & Manco’s; patronage is practically mandatory.)   1004 Boardwalk, 609-398-0636.

HAUTE CRAFT SHOP 
  For every boat tote, a needlepoint project from Scrim Discovery.   924 Haven Avenue, 609-398-6659, scrimdiscovery.com.

HEALTHFUL BOARDWALK FARE   Hawaiian chicken, salmon teriyaki, sticky rice, grilled ahi tuna steaks, strawberry-and-goat-cheese salads, and, if the kids throw a fit, grilled burgers and waffle fries are the deliciously mostly-good-for-you reasons the picnic tables outside Hula Grill are always crowded.  940 Boardwalk, 609-399-2400, hulasauces.com.

OLD-FASHIONED SWEET SHOP   Not everything is as homemade as it once was—you’ll find no gummy-bear-making machines in back. Customers seem pickier than they used to be. (Requests for gummy bear mix without green bears aren’t uncommon.) The ladies behind the counter can get prickly. (You could, too, if someone ordered three pounds of gummy bears, no green.) Still, the nonpareils, peanut butter fudge and chocolate-covered blueberries can’t be beat—and that sweet smell wafting onto the avenue makes old-school (closed Sundays!) Rauhauser’s Candies one avenue shop that’s impossible to resist.  721 Asbury Avenue, 609-399-1465.

DOUGHNUTS   The only thing that makes us okay with summer’s end: Oves cinnamon-powdered apple cider doughnuts, still warm from the fryer. This  double-decker beachside restaurant is also a breakfast classic, with shorter lines than Brown’s and better views than the Varsity Inn.  4th Street and the Boardwalk, 609-398-3712, ovesrestaurant.com.

BOARDWALK SNACK   Instead of going on about the wonder that is the caramel corn at Johnson’s Popcorn, we’ll let a 1968 bubblegum AM radio hit by a group called Ohio Express do the explaining for us: “Yummy yummy yummy/I’ve got love in my tummy.” Yeah, that about covers it.  1368 Boardwalk, 609-398-5404, johnsonspopcorn.com.

THROW BLANKETS
   Whether your taste runs to young and colorful or stately and Nantucket chic, add a splash of beachy feel to a sofa or chair with one of the durable, stylish and well-priced (between $50 and $65) cotton creations sold out of Holly Buck’s charming Old Salt Gift Shop1312 Boardwalk, 609-399-1063.

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