POINT PLEASANT, NEW JERSEY
While staying at popular Jersey Shore haven, the White Sands Resort, August ’13, found upbeat pizza-beer joint, THE SPOT PIZZA GRILL, one mile west of Point Pleasant’s beach and boardwalk. Perfect for family dining, business gatherings and beer geeks, this roomy sportsbar-geared neighborhood cafe opened in 2010. Located directly behind Spirits Unlimited (one of 25 Ocean and Monmouth liquor chains), its earth-toned stacked slate columns provide a stellar bucolic tone enhanced by pendant lighting, ceiling fans and exposed pipes.
Besides having arguably the best pizza in town, The Spot’s central bar features 20 tap handles serving regular fare such as Guinness Stout, Smithwicks, Blue Moon, Yuengling and Budweiser alongside several local faves by Carton, Kane, East Coast and Flying Fish (as well as nationally recognized micros by Starr Hill, Ithaca, Founders, Lagunitas, Allagash and Leinenkugel). The varied bottle selection will also please beer aficionados. Dining booths and TV’s surround the bar at every angle.
Seated at the open air front deck with family in tow, my wife and I share Arugula Pizza (garlic-oiled tomatos, bruschetta, pancetta bacon and oregano) after quaffing white wine-sauteed drunken clams and blackened tuna appetizers. My kids thoroughly enjoyed the thin crust pizza and black angus burger. A local artist plays Harry Chapin’s melancholy epic “Taxi” at the makeshift stage just past the entrance foyer as I consume Starr Hill Double Platinum IPA and East Coast’s Beach Haus Cruiser IPA.
The Spot wants to be a ‘foremost retro-diner with an Irish pub fare.’ Happily, it’s all that and more. A second location one-half hour north at Toms River in a tan-bricked building (also housing Spirits Unlimited) with 25-seat central bar and sidled dining tables is also worthy.