“OLD SCHOOL” Jersey Shore

“Old School” Jersey Shore by Adam Horvath

   Every year, The Jersey Shore sees new restaurants come and go, but those few that have stayed the course through thick and thin have done so for a reason. They are great, classic “old school” joints that have been enjoyed by generations of families year after year. Nothing lasts forever, so don’t take these two classic “old school” Jersey Shore joints for granted.

Vic's Italian Restuarant

“Old School” Jersey Shore


Vic’s Italian Restaurant

{60 Main St, Bradley Beach; 732.774.8225; vicspizza.com} Anyone who has ever driven their car or rode their bicycle down Main St. in Bradley Beach has likely taken notice of Vic’s red shingled roof and bright neon signs proudly announcing cocktails and tomato pies. The place drips of old school Italian. That’s just the outside! Wait until you open the door and are immediately transported to a bygone era.

A Little Frank

The wood paneled walls and green upholstered booths might trick you into thinking you are in your Nonna’s basement and if you’re lucky, you’ll hear a little Frank crooning over the sound system on your way to your table. Vittorio “Vic” Giunco and his bride Carmella opened the restaurant in 1947. Over 75 years later and now in their fourth generation, the kitchen continues to make some of the best Italian American food at the entire shore.

Kissing My Fingers

If it is your first time, I suggest you consider the sauteed calamari; a heaping portion of tender rings and squid tentacles in a spicy marinara sauce. Or try their homemade ravioli, deep fried to perfection. For dinner, pair your glass of chianti with a creamy penne vodka or order the breaded leg of veal parmigiana. You can’t see it, but trust me, I’m kissing my fingers as I write this. Finally, you can’t pass up one of the best bar pizzas in the country. A classic 14-inch, thin crust pie cooked well. I do not care if you’re Italian or not. After a few slices, you’ll be muttering your words like you’re Sebastian Maniscalco, “Mah Dohn”. Vic’s is open Tuesdays through Sunday, closed on Mondays and offers a nice outside area to dine al fresco if you want to enjoy during warmer weather.

outdoor patio at vic's

“OLD SCHOOL” Jersey Shore


Pete and Elda’s Bar/Carmen’s Pizzeria

Old School Pete and Elda's

Pete and Elda’s Bar – Carmen’s Pizzeria

{96 Woodland Ave, Neptune City; 732.774.6010; peteandeldas.com}

Pete and Elda’s started as a quiet neighborhood bar in 1953. Owner Pete Vanola once said, “We know 95 percent of the patrons by name.”

Carmen Andretta

A decade later, Carmen Andretta started his Italian kitchen in the same building, hence the cool sign out front that reads like it could have been the title of a 1990s television sitcom. Eventually, the Andretta family took over the entire business, but by that time, the place had become synonymous with good drinks and food, so the name stuck. The restaurant offered a lot of quality food, but the unique cracker crust bar pie was the star.

Best Bar Pizza

The dining room and kitchen have been expanded multiple times over the last 60 years, but that pizza recipe has never changed. Today, Carmen’s son George runs the lively bar and restaurant and even introduced his XXL Pie Challenge. The rules are simple, finish the 18-inch pizza in 30 minutes or less and win a T-Shirt. You also get bragging rights!   It’s almost impossible to walk into the dining room and not see a pizza on every table, but the restaurant’s menu offers a lot of other tasty items like roasted clams, peel and eat shrimp, and Carmen’s Eggplant Lasagna; layers of fresh eggplant, ricotta and mozzarella covered in marinara.

The bar offers a full menu of cocktails and draft beers to pair with your pizza which is consistently ranked as one of Jersey’s best bar pizzas year after year.

Chef Cesar Cardenas

About the Writer

Adam Horvath is a true Jersey Guy. He is a CFO by trade and Food Blogger by passion and has an appreciation for local and indigenous foods. Check out his food blog Foodigenous for entertaining stories about some of the country’s best, little known foods.