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spring lake, shore area

hello im looking for a nice place to go on christmas day in the spring lake area thanks

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  1. You can check to see if The Mill, in Spring Lake Heights, will be open on Christmas Day.


    6 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      They may have brunch, but the restaurant recently closed (very sadly). We just discovered this place a few months ago, enjoyed our few dinners there, and went to their 'wake' recently...

      1. re: bnemes3343

        Your post got me very curious because I hadn't heard that The Mill was closing. So, I called. The recorded message said that their dining room will, indeed, no longer be open to the public on a regular basis. They are essentially becoming a banquets and special events facility. They will be open to the public on holidays and will be offering "Big Band Nights," i.e., dinner and dancing on specific dates.

        1. re: RGR

          A big band night sounds like it could be fun - I will check into that. I thought their food and their service was really quite good, so I was sad to see it go. I think it was just too big a place (and drew kind of an "older" crowd) to make enough money to sustain a restaurant.

          1. re: RGR

            I attended a Big Band dinner last year. It was held on a Sunday afternoon, the food was mediocre at best and the service was awful. The clientele may have been drawn from a nearby assisted living center. Perhaps the waistaff didn't feel that anyone would care. Definitely not recommended.

            1. re: BernieMSY

              It isn't too surprising that a Big Band event would draw a mostly senior crowd. After all, how many young people do ballroom dancing these days? Not that that excuses mediocre food and lousy service....

          2. re: bnemes3343

            That's really sad. That place was one of few civiilized restaurants around the area, with a great view from the dining room and a very nice menu. The special events nights seemed like a interesting counterpart to the regular diining experience, but certainly not enough to replace it. What a shame. Maybe it will fail in it's new form, and then reopen again under the ownership of someone else. Let's keep our fingers crossed. That's just pathetic news.

        2. My office Xmas party was there on Friday. The place is really pretty and the buffet was really good.

          1. The two places in Spring Lake (off the top of my head) are:



            Not sure if either is open on Christmas. What type of place are you looking for? How far are you willing to travel outside of SL?

            5 Replies
            1. re: white light

              hello thanks so much for your responses i am leaning toward whispers but would be willing to travel outside of spring lake north toward sea bright has any gone to tim mcloone place in long branch thanks plant guy

              1. re: plant guy

                Do yourself a favor and stay far away from McLoone's. Do a search on this forum and you will find many a bad review. Good Luck.

                1. re: bgut1

                  however, McLoone's original place in Sea Bright is, hopefully, still worthy...

                  1. re: aklein

                    I'm sorry to say it, but I don't think that I would ever have described McLoone's in Sea Bright as worthy. They do a nice job for a large party or banquet, but the food is expensive and unimpressive. McLoone's at Pier Village is a pretty spot for a drink, but I'd skip the meal.

                    1. re: aklein

                      Absolutely not. My experience was horrible.

              2. Island Palm Grill is your best bet in Spring Lake but I doubt its open on Christmas. Nice varied menu and BYOB to boot.


                1 Reply
                1. re: tom246

                  ok, ok... forget tim mcloone's in sea bright ... I did admit that I had not been there in a while, though ....... personally, I would never set foot in any restaurant at Pier Village, so that negates his new space

                  RE: Island Palm Grill.... it's all good, but for a special night in Spring Lake, it's Whispers or Black Trumpet or elsewhere

                2. I have no idea about who is open/closed on Christmas, but in this area, I would recommend Moonstruck in Asbury (no reservations though), Shipwreck Grill in Brielle (great fish and they do take reservations), Brandls in Belmar (best food in the area and a BYO, albeit overpriced). You can not go wrong with Whispers either.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bnemes3343

                    Whispers isn't a slam dunk though. We had some pretty sub-par food and service one night, but I guess most places can have a bad night.

                    1. re: white light

                      hmmm... not good to hear. Subpar food AND service... not sure I would go back. There are places I've been to dozens and dozens of times and NEVER been dissapointed, so having a bad night at a place with prices like this might just turn me off for good.


                  2. wow i cant beleive it the mill in spring lake heights is closing i went there many times with my grandmother

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: sydaver

                      While I can't comment on Whispers (mixed reviews have kept me from going), I do have personal experience with Black Trumpet, Brandl and Island Palm Grill. Regrettably, I can only recommend the latter. My one meal at Black Trumpet was horrible. I'm sure my review is here somewhere but I recall finding no redeeming qualities in the food, service, decor or price/value ratio. With regard to Brandl, I had been dining there since it opened ang had been a major Chris Brandl fan. There is no disputing that Chris is a talent. The problem being however that over the past year and a half, he increased prices and reduced portion size. My last dinner there over the summer also revealed a decreasing level in the quality of the cuisine. While I hope things have changed, I doubt I will ever return. For the same price I'd rather dine at Nicholas. Island Palm Grill on the other hand was very good on a recent dinner. Good Luck.

                      1. re: bgut1

                        I agree that Brandl is terribly overpriced. We've tried Black Trumpet 3 or 4 times, also pricey, not overly impressed. Haven't been to Island Palm in the past 6 months, we did like it the few times we went.

                        1. re: briellefoodie

                          Matisse in Belmar,( located right on the beach AMAZING views of the ocean from your table!) I know is open Christmas Eve, not sure about Christmas and the original Chef that put the place on the map is cooking full time again, so its great food.

                          I am going to brunch at Matisse this Sunday so i will ask about Christmas day and i will post a full brunch report abd let you know if they are open Christmas.

                          1. re: Freeholdtwsp88

                            Matisee is pretty bad as well. Sorry.

                            1. re: bgut1

                              Yes, the views are beautiful at Matisse, but that's about it. The food looks pretty but is really not very good at all (after 3 or 4 dinners where this was the case, we have removed it from our list). You are better off getting a good pastrami sandwich and sitting on one of the beach benches next door...

                              1. re: bnemes3343

                                thanks for the heads up about matisee i can remember years ago when there was a macdonalds there

                                1. re: plant guy

                                  Amazingly, the front door to the old McD's still welcomes you to Matisse. You get this vague feeling that there is something familiar about that door. Then after dinner you wish you'd had a Big Mac...

                          2. re: briellefoodie

                            Count me in among the Brandl detractors. My one visit found decent, yet uninspired fare at high prices with staff attitude to boot. No thanks.

                            1. re: BernieMSY

                              Gee, hate to pile on Brandls, but I'm not a fan either. The food was always great, but the prices have gotten to the point of being ridiculous and I also encountered the server attitude the last time we were there. Too bad, but for the money (less actually), there are better places to eat.

                              1. re: bnemes3343

                                Brandl's was a huge disappointment for us as well. The overpriced food was served cold, and the servers acted like they were doing us a favor even talking to us. Steer clear!

                      2. hello thanks every body for your input i ended going to wispers on christmas day the service was very good and the food was good.but i agree with the other comments about the expense.we had a tasty four course meal at 7o per person plus a 20 percent tip added on .a nice touch was the romaine salad was lighty grilled, i had the salmon and liked it.most likely this is the type of place i might go to on a special event but i would not go there as a regular

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: plant guy

                          No offense plant guy but it doesn't sound like you were blown away by your meal. For that kind of money I want fireworks. To be honest I would rather spend those kind of bucks at sure bets like Lorena, Nicholas or David Drake.

                          1. re: plant guy

                            I'm glad you enjoyed Whispers!

                            But I did have to pick myself off the floor. $70 for salmon?

                            1. re: tom porc

                              Their web site shows their grilled salman at $29, so there must be a disconnect here. Was that including wine? Desert? Tip? Or were they just jacking up the prices for the holidays. $29 isn't cheap, but is reasonable for a very nice piece of salmon. $70 would be absurd.

                              1. re: bnemes3343

                                "we had a tasty four course meal at 7o per person"

                                1. re: white light

                                  Which sounds much more realistic for a nice meal

                                  1. re: bnemes3343

                                    Sorry, I just saw romaine salad and salmon and thought they were $70.
                                    The apps avg $13 ... desserts $10 ... salad $9. So with tax it would hit $70.

                          2. hello no offense taken it was a christmas day special with a soup salad main course and deserts your right if i had paid 70 for salmon alone they would have to pick me up off the floor, thanks again fo all the comments and insights i live in the montclair area and in 08 hope to tell everybody about the places to eat in this town known for fine dining