Category Archives: Business Buzz

Check out what’s booming in the Rumson-Fair Haven area business scene.

Focus: Bringing Donovan’s Reef Back

It’s been more than five years since Superstorm Sandy tossed and flattened the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright.

In the aftermath of the storm in which the Atlantic Ocean met the Shrewsbury River over the small peninsula town, all that was left of Donovan’s was a tossed building, a shell of the main bar, restaurant equipment, torn up pavement and wood — lots of wood — in scattered piles. What remained of its sign were the letters D O … found on the ground by Mayor Dina Long.

The letters became symbolic of the can-do attitude Sea Bright residents and business owners embodied in the tough months, even years, of rebuilding ahead.

There was a year without Donovan’s. Then there were a few years of an open Tiki bar on the beach.

Now Donovan’s is coming back — bigger, higher and stronger — for its first summer as a rebuilt area legend.

Take a look at the progress so far …

— Elaine Van Develde

Focus: Shopping the Neighborhood in Fair Haven

It was a night of holiday shopping local, socializing, treats and trolley riding. It was Thursday night’s annual Shop the Neighborhood in Fair Haven; and, by all indications and smiling faces, it was a success.

Sponsored by the Fair Haven Business Association and featuring talent from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH), businesses in both districts in the borough opened their doors to meet, greet and treat neighbors and friends in a casual, getting-to- know-you customer appreciation atmosphere from 5 to 9 p.m.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect popped in on a few open houses and caught a glimpse into the evening from the folks at Tavolo, The Pilates Project, Boxwood Gardens, Ferguson Dental, and Coastal Decor and their friends.

Take a look …

— Elaine Van Develde

Getting Set for Small Biz Saturday in Fair Haven

It’s less than 24 hours ’til Small Business Saturday; and Fair Haven’s businesses are set for the event.

The following businesses will participate, offering sales, special deals and some socializing in the downtown district of the borough:

Fair Haven Hardware
Veranda Giftshop
Gem Of An Idea
River Road Books
Canyon Pass Provisions
Lotus Way
By George Baby
Coastal Decor & Interior Design
Boxwood Gardens Florist & Gifts
A Chic with Stix
Moon Child Boutique
Sadie James Boutique
Zakiaz Whimsical Shoppe & Design
The Pilates Project
The China Closet

See you there!

Something Fishy at Lusty Lobster Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve — almost — and that means the Feast of Seven Fishes for those of Italian descent.

And judging by the hour-long wait line at Fair Havenite Doug Douty’s Lusty Lobster seafood market in Highlands, there are either a lot of Italians in the Rumson-Fair Haven area, a lot of people who are happy to use the excuse to feast on Douty’s fresh seafood or both.

Rumsonite and RFH grad Jennifer Weber Zeller is on line at the seafood market that supplies many favorite area restaurants, such as fellow Fair Havenite and RFH grad Chris Wood’s Woody’s (in Sea Bright and now Tinton Falls). She shared a couple of pics with Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect to show just how a trip to the market on Christmas Eve has turned into a main event.

Not only does the line of people picking up their orders extend nearly all the way down Bay Avenue, but Douty has also apparently supplied some entertainment as well for the wait.

Wood has continually praised the freshness of Douty’s seafood. He, for one, has it delivered daily to his restaurants.  Douty is also an RFH grad.

Sounds like the makings for some sort of impromptu RFH Christmas Eve reunion.

Mangia! And Merry Christmas!

Visions of Two River Computer Elves Fixing Tech Ills

By Elaine Van Develde

It’s that all-too familiar tech nightmare. You’re in the middle of a major project for work. You’re on a deadline. You’re engrossed. Your fingers are typing into a nubby frenzy. Oops.

The computer politely tells you that you need to update the operating system to install a program that you need to get those finishing touches done just right. OK. You click “Continue” and POOF! Everything goes black. Wait. There’s a gray tinge on the screen. A little message pops up and tells you to restart the computer. You do as you are told. Aaaaand POOF!

Continue reading Visions of Two River Computer Elves Fixing Tech Ills

Shopping the Neighborhood in Fair Haven

The folks in the Fair Haven Business Association are up to something festive that offers area people some hyperlocal holiday shopping fun.

The new initiative is dubbed Shop the Neighborhood. The entire business district along River Road, from one end by the Acme to the other near Gillespie Avenue, will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday.

In addition to all sorts of special deals, giveaways and raffles, there will be entertainment by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School students stationed at various spots — Umberto’s and Tavolo Pronto on one end and Canyon Pass Provisions and Booskerdoo on the other.

And, for the first time, to add convenience and a little bit of festive old town charm, there will be a free trolley picking up and dropping off shoppers from one end of town to the other.

All aboard! Next stop, Fair Haven business district!

I’ll Just Pick: Tavolo Pronto Fresh

By Elaine Van Develde

Call them all Tavolicious — the key fresh ingredients in just some of our favorite foods at Tavolo Pronto in Fair Haven.

Yes. Tavolicious. That works. They’re a special blend of uniquely Tavolo and just plain delicious. There are so many Tavolicious things at Tavolo.

Continue reading I’ll Just Pick: Tavolo Pronto Fresh

Little Silver A&P Now Acme

Finishing touches were put on the new Acme in Little Silver, which replaced the A&P Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Finishing touches were put on the new Acme in Little Silver, which replaced the A&P
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

They were putting the finishing touches on it Tuesday night. The Little Silver A&P is now an Acme.

The store, at 507 Prospect Avenue is open. According to the recording on the store’s telephone system, it is open the same hours as the A&P was: 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday; and until 10 p.m. on Sunday.


The Acme in Fair Haven has long been considered a special kind of meeting place for area residents.

When this editor’s mom went to “pick up a few things,” that usually meant her children would see her hours later. And, there were many times the conversation in the produce aisle took over so much that one of us had to go back to pick up what she forgot.

Well, we’ll see. With the extra couple of hours open, you never know who may meander over to Little Silver.

See ya at the Acme!

— Elaine Van Develde

I’ll Just Pick: Gaslight’s Wings

By Elaine Van Develde

Sometimes it’s just a good idea to wing it.

Usually, chicken wings are pretty standard fare — a spicy, typically sopping morsel of an appetizer. There are usually standard variations, too: baked, fried, baked and fried, grilled and usually laden with a some sort of spicy sauce.

Continue reading I’ll Just Pick: Gaslight’s Wings

I’ll Just Pick: Val’s Lobster Pie

By Elaine Van Develde

It’s as good as it gets for anyone in the area and beyond — that classic lobster pizza at Val’s Tavern in Rumson.

The pie, as they call it, is pretty simple, yet has been a deluxe gourmet sort of pizza treat for many for decades.

It’s a thin-crust pizza flush with all the normal pizza stuff, but great quality, like the good sauce and cheese. Add to that some Brazilian lobster and, if you so choose, some hot sauce.

Continue reading I’ll Just Pick: Val’s Lobster Pie

I’ll Just Pick: A Wrap from Seed to Sprout

The packaging and ingredients for Seed to Sprout's Raw Cashew Collard Wrap Photo/Elaine Van Develde
The packaging and ingredients for Seed to Sprout’s Raw Cashew Collard Wrap
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

There’s nothing like the wrap — of anything, really.

It represents a feeling of accomplishment — in a way. In show business, “Its a wrap!” brings on a sigh of relief and some celebration. In other circles, such as food forums, it prompts some speculation and, yes, satiation.

When you have an option of choosing a wrap to eat, for instance, it often represents several ingredients you like wrapped up in some sort of flour tortilla or variation thereof, a/k/a wrap.

A lot of area eateries offer a wrap version of a favorite luncheon-meat-and-cheese- or salad-stuffed something or other.

Then there are those who like to eat it raw — the wrap and its contents. For them there is such a thing as a collard leaf-stuffed vegan variety. And they have it at Seed to Sprout in Fair Haven.

As Lucille Ball said in her Vitameatavegaman commercial on I Love Lucy, “It’s tasty, too!”

So, as the first in Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect’s I’ll Just Pick weekly series, the pick of the week is the raw cashew collard wrap from Seed to Sprout — and from a non-vegan who really relishes a big fat meaty sub for some lunch solace on a bad day.

This wrap, enveloping the taste buds with a creamy, crunchy vegan catch-all, features a mash of organic raw cashews topped with alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, tomato and mixed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and filtered water. Then there’s a  nutritional yeast additive.

And, of course, the whole thing is wrapped up in a collard leaf. Call it a foodie Collard Patch doll.

Call it that, because even if you’re not a vegan, you may want to adopt this lunch lifestyle change.

It’s a cashew hummus sort of splendor all wrapped up and ready to healthily munch. Really.

Seed to Sprout opened a few months ago in July in the Acme Market shopping plaza, off River Road (officially 560 River Road, though), in Fair Haven.

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduates Cara Pescatore and Alex Mazzucca own and operate the eatery, which is a second location to the original in Avon.

The menu is replete with all sorts of all-day organic vegan breakfast dishes: granola and yogurt parfait, sprout breakfast bowl and avocado breakfast sandwich.

Under the raw header, there’s also a sunflower burrito wrapped in collard and raw pizza.

There are also lots of grilled sandwich goodies, that are not quite what they sound like, such as the bacon cheddar melt, which features coconut bacon and not your average cheddar. The grilled avocado sandwich, RFHers tell us is a favorite, too, not to mention the seed salads and rice bowls.

There are also soups.

Check out the menu by clicking on the photo above or check out the website by clicking here.

Seed to Sprout is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner is served at the Avon location on Thursday nights.