We already told you the good news that Donovan's Reef will be returning to Sea Bright next year. Now comes another big announcement: The Mad Hatter will also be back in 2017!

In a 6-3 vote at Thursday night's planning board meeting, members approved plans for owners Scott and Amy Kelly to construct a $4 million,15,000 square-foot restaurant. The decision comes after the couple agreed to minimize noise after 10 p.m by using new technology and moving musical acts inside off the patio. The new eatery will look over the Atlantic Ocean, reports the Asbury Park Press.

The Mad Hatter was destroyed superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The Kellys-who bought the restaurant in 2006- plan to add a full kitchen with two floors, including a bar, an outside patio and live music. Occupancy will expand from 260 patrons to 312. Repairs will be funded by a $5 million disaster loan from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The move was celebrated online by The Facebook Group: Bring Mad Hatter Back, who wrote that the decision was a "triumph" and appropriate timing for the 4th of July Weekend.

"Many people feel that summer doesn’t REALLY begin until 4th of July weekend. Then how appropriate that we should start that weekend fresh from a Mad Hatter triumph!," the group wrote. "Several years after the storm that took them out of business, and nearly a year after first appearing before the Planning Board, the Kellys emerged victorious in their application to rebuild Sea Bright’s beloved Mad Hatter."

"Rather than get into the details of the prolonged drama, we’ll enjoy the view from Cloud Nine for a bit," they continued. "The Kellys will soon be returning to pursue their American dream, because this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, after all! Happy July 4th Weekend! ‪#‎MadPride‬"



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