Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
May 26, 2009 07:41 AM

lunch in Toms River?

I'm taking my father for some eye surgery (outpatient), in TR later this week. The surgery center is located on Mule Road, off of 37. Is there a nice place for lunch with my mom while he is having the surgery? She likes Thai, Mexican Italian, Continental, etc, but is not crazy about seafood. She also likes to have a glass of wine with lunch :-)) I'm not all that familiar with TR, so I don't want to go too far away from where the medical office is located. Any suggestions close to the surgery center would be welcome, and I unfortunately need a place that is handicap accessible for my mom.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. sorry, all. want to bump this posting up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mschow

      Mschow - Not much in the immediate area that I can recommend. Instead I suggest the few minute drive into downtown and have lunch at Bistro 44. As it's a BYO, I suggest you stop at EZ Liquors and pick up a nice bottle of wine. Good Luck.

      1. re: bgut1

        Bistro 44 is a solid choice for sure!

    2. El Familiar in Toms River was very good!

      1 Reply
      1. while i agree with my comrade's suggestions of bistro 44 and el familiar, you could goto basil t's (full bar) and have a nice lunch without schlepping wine around(i still don't fully understand the appeal of byo yet, maybe i'm lazy). i know you guys are going to ream me for this but i have have been back on several occasions and haven't been disappointed in food or service. both very solid. hope they have those meatballs with fresno chile ragout!

        there have been other suggestions in the OC which i tried and gotta tell you, would never return or post about. surprised the health dept. lets them stay open. some right in that area. these 3 are very solid time and time again...

        hey bgut! what do you think of the java joint closing? i am surprised as it seemed to be the only spot i always saw business. its a shame all those store fronts empty on that street.

        11 Replies
        1. re: chefMD

          Hey Chef - Sorry to say I was not surprised by the closing of the Java Joint. I had stopped going there for lunch a while back and don't think it was doing the level of business it had enjoyed several years ago. It is however a disappointing loss to the small "dining scene" of downtown Toms River. I will continue to support and frequent the quality downtown establishments including two of my favs Bistro 44 and River Market. This economy will improve in good time and with it the reopening of empty store fronts along Main Street. I keep hoping for a quality restaurant in the former Jeffrey's/Slowly space.

          1. re: chefMD

            My understanding was the Java Joint was sold, and the new owner closed it within a very short time. I doubt that downtown TR will ever be a successful place for a restaurant. Capone's has lasted, but even his business is down. Even the Subway closed! The parking situation sucks, and the town itself lacks any appeal. I feel sorry for the guy who opened the ice cream parlor between Jimmy C's and the JJoint.

              1. re: chefMD

                Chef - The Italian Ice place closed shortly after opening and has been replaced by Uncle Louie G Ice Cream Parlor which looks to be an offshoot of the popular NY franchise.
                Out - I'm sorry to disagree with your premise that the town "lacks any appeal". As is evident by the very popular Vintage Car Shows, the Farmers Market, the Chili and Ice Cream festivals as well as the Halloween Parade, people will come downtown if there is reason enough to do so.

                1. re: bgut1

                  b... as you definitley have more experience in the TR area, why are all those stores so empty ??? i would agree there is so much to offer, except parking, in what looks like a great little town.

                  keep in mind i have only lived in the area for a couple of years(nj only 4) and spend all my time at resto...

                  1. re: chefMD

                    I think there is a certain demise in small town New Jersey, at this moment in time. I see everyday that Manasquan is suffering. The Inn has been closed for a year or so. Maria's just sold. O'Neill's is up for sale. There are other empty spaces.

                    There are dark spaces in Red Bank, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Allenhurst, etc. There are even dark spaces in Spring Lake despite the recent legislation to help development.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      I'll second MGZ's statement about small town NJ. The occupancy rate in downtown TR was better in years past and I'm sure with the coming market upturn we will see those storefronts fill up again. Although people complain about the lack of parking, there are more than enough spaces if you know where to look (which in my opinion is the problem). There is a large municipal lot on Irons St (one block in from Main St) and the Sovereign Bank parking lot (on Washington St) is free to use after 6 PM on weekdays.

                      1. re: bgut1

                        I should have noted that my experience is limited to the Shore, but it seems like part of a cycle. I was at RBC during the "Dead Bank" years in the mid-80s.

                        What's going on in, say, Metuchen, Matawan, South Amboy, etc.? I mean I was in South River a year ago and it seemed to be getting better.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          It's everywhere. Based on my travels in the state, towns which have 'reasonable' rents are doing better than some of the more elite addresses. Obviously this lowers operational expenses. Bottom line, people are just not spending on meals like they used too. It will get better and as the great general Patton said, Pressure Makes Diamonds - hopefully restaurants will continue to be creative, and unleash a new level of passion, which will entice patrons with extraordinary food and keep us coming back for more.

                          1. re: shabbystorm

                            Your optimism is welcome, Shabby.

                            I found myself pondering this question over a nightcap last night - lamenting the socio-economic trend that drives people out of small towns to the strip malls and mega stores. Toms River is a great example of it all happening in one municipality. I am sure this is not solely a NJ problem, but I think the density of the population coupled with the great number of old, small downtowns, makes it more acute here.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Corporate Chain restaurants are mainly the culprit...the little guy is having a very hard time staying afloat unless they have a product that really is top notch & different consistently to draw patrons back again & again.

          2. Thanks, everyone. I think we might try Basil T's. Looks like it is about 4 miles away from where the surgery center is. Plus, they have a large menu, and it looks like my dad will be coming with, since his surgery is first thing in the AM.; we will have lunch afterwards. Both my parents are very picky eaters, and the menu at Basil T has lots of options. I was really wanting to try El Familiar, but could not find a menu online anywhere. Guess they don't have a website??
            Thanks again; if it were just me I'd be all over El Familiar!

            1 Reply