Another sign of the Jersey Shore comeback, South Seaside Park has a newly reopened restaurant.

On the border of Island Beach State Park, at 24th and Central Ave., Atlantic Bar & Grill is now Chef Mike's ABG.

I got to know Chef Mike Jurusz when he was the executive chef at 709 Point Beach, one of my favorite restaurants. Before 709, Mike worked at Atlantic Bar & Grill for many years, and has returned with big plans for the new restaurant.

Chef Mike Jurusz and Laurie Cataldo
Hangin' with Chef Mike. (Laurie Cataldo)

I was lucky enough to attend the 'soft opening' last night, sampling some of their signature martinis and mind-blowing tapas that will be available on the new menu.

Mike is one of my favorite local chefs not only because of his amazing charisma and kindness, but because the man just knows food.

Some of the many things I was able to sample last night? Bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with manchego cheese, Greek-style flatbread pizzas, braised short ribs on crostini, falafel, hummus on pita, grilled oysters with garlic bacon butter and crispy shallots, and my favorite, breaded goat cheese on crostini with a fig reduction and fresh strawberry.

Chef Mike's ABG tapas
Goat cheese crostini (Laurie Cataldo)

They have some amazing beers on tap too, thought I really liked sipping on an ocean blue cosmopolitan that was amazingly tasty without being too strong or overpowering.

This place is right on the water in Seaside Park, and come summertime, Chef Mike has plans for a full tiki bar and lunch and dinner service on the beachfront.

I hadn't been down Rt. 35 since the storm hit, but driving down to the restaurant last night, I couldn't help but think that as each business comes back to life, it's one step closer to complete recovery.

It might be a far drive for some of us Monmouth County folks, but I'm telling you, the food (and the view) would be totally worth it.

Chef Mike's ABG

Chef Mike's ABG opens today at 5p. For more info, call (732) 854-1588.

Good luck to the whole staff and all of Seaside Park as we continue to Restore the Shore!

Is there a local business or attraction you are looking forward to seeing reopen? Tell us in the comment section below!

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