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Apr 29, 2008 12:52 AM

Childhood Food Memories - Jersey shore

I was born in 1972 in Long Branch, NJ and some of my earliest restaurant food memories are of going to the Careless Navigator in the Highlands. I remember ordering the same thing every time - a sandwich called the Lookout's Discovery. It was some kind of open faced sandwich consisting of a seafood salad topped with melted cheese and bacon bits. Anyway, I still think of it once in awhile even though the last time I had one was probably over 20 years ago. I'm assuming the restaurant is no longer around, but since I'll be back visiting NJ in July I though I'd check. I also remember going to the Clam Hut, but don't recall much about the food. Any info on these two restaurants much appreciated.

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  1. Can't swear to it but I believe the Careless Navigator is still around. I know the Clam Hut was at least up to last year but it was bought out and I don't know if they changed the foods served.

    1. I remember going to Long John's in the Highlands as a kid. It has not been there for years now, but since you brought up childhood memories. I think Charlie's in Long Branch will be re-open by the time you get here. They completed gutted and renovated the place. Always had good food there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Angelina

        Careless Navigator has been shuttered for at least 5 years. The property was purchased by Bahrs, but is now a casualty of the new bridge being built. Clam Hut has gone through several owners and does not much reflect its former glory - even becoming something of a nightclub.

      2. Funny that you mention it--we were driving past Careless Navigator a week or so ago and I was wishing it would open back up again. Not exactly a glam place, but charming in its way, wonderful tanks of tropical fish over the bar. I used to love to sit there on a gloomy afternoon over a cup of cheer and watch the tides change. Frightfully entertaining to watch the local toughs jump off the bridge in the summertime. Insanity. The only thing more terrifying than jumping was the hazing you would get if you chickened.

        The food was pretty good, decent chowder, and I haven't thought about that Lookout's Discovery in years. Sounds awful, but it was really a favorite of mine. I miss it.

        I miss the Clam Hut, too, haven't heard anything good about it in a long time. Their salads always looked like they were three days old, but the steamers and the fried smelts were wonderful. It had that backwater smell about it, but I loved it just the same.

        1. Careless Navigator was demolished around mid-March of this year.

          Clam Hut was sold in 2001 and became a strange italian place, but eventually went back to being called The Clam Hut again a few years ago. It's *okay*, but I agree, nowhere near its former glory. I actually worked there for 6+ years as a hostess/waitress and have very fond memories of the staff and regulars. I miss it a lot!