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Feb 6, 2008 11:25 AM

Harpoon Willy's~Manasquan, NJ

Has anyone eaten here? I think I found out about the place from someone on this board. Is it true the owner of Shipwreck Grill also owns this place? If so, I am running to the place!!

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  1. There is some shared ownership. I noticed some familiar Shipwreck staff, as well. In fact, there are a few menu items that are similar - malpaque oysters, Tempura tuna roll.

    The food and service we had was very good, but it always helps when you know your waitress.

    Place looks pretty much the same, as if they scrubbed it very well but didn't really renovate. Luckily, they kept the grill behind the bar!

    (I am editing this post to note something I should have posted originally. New places are rare in this area. New places with promise and tradition at the same time are virtually unheard of in this area. The place is likely to be very crowded!)

    1. Went there several weeks ago and what a bad experience. Bartenders were anything but attentive. Food (burgers) took forever and were not prepared as requested. We actually called the manager over and voiced our concern about his new establishment.
      Bottom line we would not go back anytime soon. This is no Shipwreck and I doubt that it ever will be...

      3 Replies
      1. re: bjsimmons

        I have been to Harpoon Willy's many times and each time it has been a different experience. Not consistent at all. There have been times were the food and service are great ( the roasted clams being one of my favorites) and other times when nothing went well.

        Another problem is that it is not handicapped friendly and we have a friend that is in a wheelchair and loves to dine out.
        I have to scratch this rec from my list.

        1. re: Babs16

          ok bar food ,great view and location ..We really do not want the same old thing .....please try to throw some new stuff @ us ..

          1. re: big1515

            I thought the mix-and-match sections of the menu were an interesting idea - can't think of too many other places in the area that do that. Also, it's nice to see striped bass as a regular offering on a menu.

      2. The only thing that this place has in common with Shipwreck grill is they stole some of his ideas. Terry and Billy have no partnership in this place.

        1. I went for dinner last night and I have to say, I really enjoyed the place. Posters are right about the service being shotty, but believe me..the food makes up for it. We got there pretty early for a Sat. around 5 ish .(I know..we sound like early bird's, and you probably think we live in one of those developments for 70 an up..we have many years before that)

          Anyway, we started with a halp pound of can get it fried, grilled, steamed, or fra diablo..we chose fra diablo. SOOO GOOD!! I just loved the sauce, nice and me...I could not help put keep dipping my bread in that bowl.....yummmm

          We also had an order of grilled clams, my favorite! They were delish too. For dinner, we chose to order a little light, I had the lobster and avocado sandwich. I think they could have put some more lobster on it, but was only $ 11, so I can't complain. It was served with a coice of tropical rice with mango or FF, I chose the rice..VERY GOOD!

          My husband had the fish tacos. They were very flavorful, not greasy or dripping with all that stuff some places load them with.

          No room for dessert, but by the time we left, the place was jumping! (Around 7ish) As it should for a Sat. night. Take a look at the menu, because I really liked it and a, looking forward to another visit. The only problem is that it is about 30 miles from my house, but I don't care about the drive..since we have garbage by us, I will drive.

          The service was a little slow, but hopefully that will change in time.

          Check it out..

          5 Replies
          1. re: Angelina

            Good review. I live only 5 miles from the resto. Had thought about going a few weeks ago but did not get good reviews then. Look foreward to going soon---l

            1. re: Barbarella

              We were there for burgers at the bar Friday. They use the bar grill, but have a cook man it so the bartenders don't handle the food (at least on friday nights). Cooking burger after burger seems to work for him as my medium rare was spot on (the FDA would not have approved!). I enjoyed a cup of the oyster chowder, as well. Also, easily overlooked on the menu is a very nice house salad for $4.

              We spoke with the manager who corrected the local rumors regarding the ownership (Manasquan is a funny little town). There is no shared ownership interest with the Shipwreck; however, former employees can be found behind the bar, on the floor, and in the kitchen. If you frequented the Shipwreck, you will find yourself comfortable at Willy's immediately.

              Worth noting is the selection of spirits. Gin drinkers might want to look at a menu before ordering a cocktail!

              1. re: MGZ

                How were the bergers? Good? or just so so? I enjoy those at Main Street in Ocean and Mc Cann's in Belmar, but am always looking for a new spot...By the way, that is the ONLY way to eat one..... med rare!!!

                1. re: Barbarella

                  1/2 pound, angus, hard roll, lettuce & tomato. Pretty standard but done well (however, never well done!).

                  1. re: MGZ

                    yum...I saw plenty of burgers being served last night and they all looked soooo good!!

          2. I have been going to Harpoon Willy's for over 10 yrs. Mainly to have appetizers and drinks at the bar. It's my understanding that the new owner has nothing to do with Shipwreck Grille. The manager was a former employee at Shipwreck.

            They did make some changes to the menu--not to the names or description of items but to the way they prepare them. I was surprised to order something I have been getting for years and for it to come out and be something totally different. When I questioned the presentation the bartender told me that she's had a number of customers tell her it's prepared differently.

            It is definitely not the Shipwreck Grille. The food is okay, the service is so-so. Like I said I have been going there for years because it's close to home and I enjoyed certain appetizers from the menu. Now that those are being prepared differently I am in no rush to go back.

            2 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                Yes! They are also making the buffalo shrimp differently too.