End of an era: An OG of the Asbury Park, NJ Boardwalk scene has been sold
⚫️ After 14+ years, oceanfront restaurant Langosta Lounge is changing hands
⚫️ New owners plan to run "transitional concepts" for spring and summer this year
⚫️ Restauranteur Marilyn Schlossbach will focus energy on Long Branch restaurant
ASBURY PARK — When Langosta Lounge first opened on the Asbury Park boardwalk in November 2008, restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and her husband Scott Szegeski had no idea what was in store for them.
The oceanfront restaurant with a “vacation cuisine” menu was among the first new establishments to open in the city that Bruce Springsteen had lamented in song as in “ruins.”
It was a key part of a rebirth along the east side of Asbury.
Then came Superstorm Sandy. And then, less than eight years later, a global pandemic.
The final day for Langosta Lounge on the Asbury Park boardwalk
Schlossbach and Szegeski navigated it all — while raising twin daughters, who were infants when the massive storm in 2012 wiped out the entire interior of the restaurant.
But they’ve built things back, stronger each time. Until the announcement this week that the Langosta Lounge era of the boardwalk would end soon — their final day slated for Feb. 4.
"Asbury has changed and evolved since we first came here and it needs a new breath of different, fresh air up here in a business of this size," Schlossbach said in an interview with New Jersey 101.5.
What will take over the Langosta Lounge space?
BarCo Brands has announced it will be taking over the entire pavilion from Langosta, through Pop’s Garage and the Asbury Park Yacht Club, as first reported by the Asbury Park Sun and then confirmed by both BarCo Brands and Schlossbach.
An Instagram post by Deal Lake Bar + Co hyped the buzz, showing a Bar + Co sticker being placed on the door to the Yacht Club, plus a photo of the group's owners at Langosta.
Who are the new restaurant owners?
The group created and operates Deal Lake Bar + Co in Loch Arbour. BarCo Brands was founded by Andrea Pappas, Greg Bartz and Phil Villapiano and joined last year by Tim McMahon.
They also announced a second location in Oceanport in October — an open floor bar and restaurant in the Commissionary of the old Fort Monmouth property.
Baseline Social has been slated to open in June.
The 17,000-square-foot entertainment complex will include three bars over 300 seats indoor and outdoor and five virtual golf bays.
BarCo brands has announced it would run “transitional concepts” at the Asbury pavilion for the Spring and Summer of 2023.
What will the Asbury Park space eventually become?
Future plans would then involve a shutdown and full renovation between November and March 2024, with a grand opening April 1, 2024.
At that time, the new concepts will be unveiled, though the owners have assured patrons they hope to preserve at least one part of the prior operation.
“We have all been enthusiastic customers of APYC over the years. While the name will be changing, we plan on maintaining the vibe when we redesign that space. And just as we have done at Deal Lake Bar + Co., we plan on continuing the commitment to enhance the local music scene,” Villapiano said in a written release.
What was the tipping point in deciding to close Langosta Lounge?
After coming through the massive rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, Schlossbach said the arrival of COVID in March 2020 began with one set of problems.
"We had to downsize and it was really hard emotionally laying people off and restructuring that. But, coming back from it has been exponentially more difficult," she said.
"We have supply chain shortages, overages on food costs and labor costs and not enough people to work in all of these businesses — not just restaurants but all of our vendors are suffering too, in our community, with the lack of bodies to put in your business."
The 'next' Asbury Park on the shore
She said having four different elements to staff and operate within the pavilion is a lot.
"This summer was, I think, my breaking point on how much I really want to handle as an almost 60-year-old woman that's been doing this for a long time," Schlossbach said.
And there's also their existing "other project" not far away, along the coast, to devote more attention to.
Of that, Schlossbach said, "Long Branch to me feels like what Asbury felt like when we came."
What is next for Marilyn Schlossbach in NJ?
Schlossbach will be turning her attention to the WhiteChapel Projects in Long Branch.
The restaurant, brewery and creative venue first opened in 2018, with Schlossbach adding it to her Marilyn Group banner in 2020.
There is also the nonprofit, Food For Thought by the Sea, which runs free community dinners for holidays in Asbury Park. Plus catering gigs — and possibly some more surf time for the family.
This is not the first time that Schlossbach has closed up shop at one Shore property as she focuses on a new endeavor.
Previous restaurants of the Marilyn Group included Labrador Lounge in Normandy and a different Pop’s Garage in Shrewsbury.
It might be a tough goodbye, though, for patrons who have looked to the Lounge as a constant amid the once-again bustling Asbury Park boardwalk.