In the middle of what looks like a street full of warehouses on the Neptune/Bradley Beach border, stands this building...which is actually one of the coolest restaurants I have ever been to!

A friend of mine asked me if I'd like to meet her for dinner at The Grand Tavern. We arranged a time, and then I drove by...and kept going! I thought to myself that even though there is clearly a GIANT painted sign taking up the whole front of the building...there couldn't possibly be a nice restaurant inside THAT place in THAT part of town. I mean, it looked sort of abandoned and desolate around there, like just a bunch of warehouses.

So I crossed the tracks and parked in the Bradley Beach train station lot to call my friend and say that I wasn't walking inside that place by myself, so to let me know when she pulled up and I would walk inside only if she did first!!! It really felt like walking into a secret club, lol.

(Photo by Liz Jeressi)

Turns out I got the surprise of my life upon entering this trendy, AWESOME restaurant that has been in existence for a couple of years now and is probably still an unexpected, hidden GEM!

Started by two people who used to work at other happening restaurants in Asbury Park, The Grand Tavern is hip, upscale, with a dim, candlelit atmosphere, beautiful tables, the coolest bar atmosphere, and even an outdoor dining tucked away out back.

The food is amazing, and there is an incredibly creative cocktails menu (you'll love the names - try the Painkiller!) and extensive wine list, too.

(Photo by Liz Jeressi)

For dinner I had the most delicious and original appetizer and main course that I've tasted in a long time (Pork Nuggets appetizer and the Seared Scallops over delectable corn hash with creole butter as my entree.) My dining partner raved about the Lamb Porchetta Turrine.

It's a bit pricey but not any more expensive than some of the other worthwhile restaurants near the beach. It is SO worth it!

From what I hear, their menu changes, and their specials are sometimes sold out early because once they post them on social media, everyone rushes over!

I can't wait to go back...it's really exciting to have been introduced to this great place. Have you been yet?

The Grand Tavern, 1105 6th Ave., Neptune. CLICK HERE for more info.