Area Restaurateurs Filling Plates with Comfort Food During Covid-19 Crisis

With full plates of COVID-19 stress, area eateries’ are approaching the crisis with a plates-half-full and cups of comfort running over mentality. NJ Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home edict has prompted the closed for eat-in area delis, markets and restaurants to heap a good portion of help onto that stressed dinnerware — at a safe distance.

One leader rearing his helping head again is Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Class of ’78 grad Chris Wood of Woody’s Ocean Grille. Wood, or Woody as he is called, fired up some charity late last week, just like he (spearheaded by then-chef Moscato Onofrio) fired up the grills in the Sea Bright Municipal Parking Lot in October 2012 to feed Sandy-ravaged residents. That, nearly eight years ago, was the start of Sea Bright Rising.

The restaurant is an iconic spot for Wood and his RFH compadres. Formerly Ichabod’s, it was a hang-out for many RFH grads. The tradition continues as does his affinity for the area and its people, many of whom are his classmates and their families.

So, with electricity working and parking lot grills unnecessary, Wood seeks to soothe some fear and nurture health by offering pay-what-you-can menus daily. It started with a daily pay-what-you-can feature, but has expanded to the entire menu.

“We’re here to make sure our neighbors have food on the table. This is a very fluid situation and we’re going to do everything we can to help our fellow neighbors.”

Chris Wood, Woody’s Ocean Grille

Here’s the rest of his entire message and a link to his page. Thanks, Woody!

“Neighbors Helping Neighbors

“We did it during Sandy an now it’s time to step up for our neighbors again. The Fed plans on sending out checks to the majority of the population. ‘Majority’ … unfortunately there will be plenty of people who don’t get any relief. Mainly hourly workers who we and many others depend on will need assistance.

“We all know by now that this crisis is far from over and that people will need to feed their families.

“Here at Woody’s we plan on offering take out Monday-Thursday (4pm-8pm) and Friday-Sunday 11am-8pm. Our plan is to offer a full regular cash menu as long as we can and transition to a daily special when necessary.” 

Wood said that people may pay a suggested price of $10, $5, $1 or nothing. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for daily menu selections, including beer and wine to go.
You can pay a suggested price of $10 or pay $5, $1 or pay nothing.

Tonight is burger night at Woody’s …

“Phone lines open at 2:30pm … take out between 3pm & 8pm.
Additional items will be available although limited … 732-936-1300 Pay-What-You Can on ALL Items !!!” Wood said in a Facebook post this morning. “Our employees, vendors and suppliers all thank you. We’re keeping the wheels of commerce moving the best we can.”

You may also donate a meal or two or three. Just call, pay and reserve it for someone who needs it.

And, like Woody, Tavolo in Fair Haven fired up its gas grill indoors during Sandy, serving up coffee, sausage sandwiches and anything else that could be made. The place was a refuge for many displaced and without electricity.

Owners Patti and Arturo Balderas recently reassured area residents on March 15 that the eatery was there to comfort and help people get through this crisis.

“To our Tavolo Pronto community,⁠⠀
We have been through trying times in the past, and our current situation is among the most concerning. We want you to know that we are taking measures to do our part to keep our community safe and healthy.⁠⠀
“We are taking every precaution and following the CDC recommendations regarding the COVID-19 virus. We are following strict cleaning protocols in our kitchen and dining areas. We are constantly wiping down surfaces, door handles and chairs. Our staff members are washing their hands regularly, as well as wearing gloves, and are directed to stay home if feeling unwell. ⁠⠀
“It is our desire to remain operational and able to serve you …”

“Thank you to our very special, close-knit community, who have always appreciated and supported our hard work. Thank you to those who are continuing to enjoy Tavolo Pronto and those who have been purchasing gift cards! We are so very privileged to be Fair Haven’s Table! We wish everyone health and safety at this time and will be here for you throughout.⁠”⠀

Tavolo Pronto owners Patti and Arturo Balderas

Call 732-741-6009 for delivery service.

And check their Facebook page right here for daily menu updates and more.

Iconic Fair Haven spot for more than 30 years, Umberto’s, getting set to close operation in a few days, had the bittersweet door closing by the virus a bit early.

Its ownership is offering not only delivery and curbside pick-up, but make-your-own pizza kits in the “Hanga Loose” tradition of Silvio Fabbri, its iconic owner, to take the edge off and offer sustenance in the crisis.

The Fabbri family, owners, posted this …

“Hey all, we at Umbertos want to thank you for your continued patronage during this time. We understand that asking people to take out only can be an inconvenience and we thank you for taking it all in stride. We will continue to do our best to serve our great community as long as we’re allowed to. Thank you all. 
Hanga Loose.”

Umberto’s Fabbri family

Check out Umberto’s offerings in their final days. And check R-FH Retro on the final day for an exclusive feature on the iconic Fair Haven pizzeria and restaurant.

Fair Haven’s Fairwinds Deli is still cooking with goodness and good spirits these days.

Check out their offerings of food and fun …

Val’s, another iconic spot for years, in Rumson, is also offering curbside pick-up, delivery and make-your-own pizzas. They’re also offering make-your-own Bloody Mary kits for the parched. Hmmmm …

Check it out …

And, speaking of cocktails to complement a take-out meal and relieve stress, the iconic Barnacle Bill’s, along with its take-out fare, is offering LIT kits. The restaurant is known for its burgers and LITs. The ownership left this message to its patrons.

“To all of our friends,

“Your support this week has been overwhelming. The feeling of camaraderie throughout this community is so strong and has assured us that together, we will all get through this tough time. To that end, we are happy to offer a takeout menu available for porch pickup during the following hours going forward: Wednesday through Sunday 12pm-8pm.

“We look forward to seeing some of you as we navigate these uncertain times and please know that your support, friendship and loyalty will not soon be forgotten. Best wishes to all and we look forward to the light at the end of this tunnel!

With love & gratitude,

The Sherman Family & staff at Barnacle Bill’s”

Also available for food needs …

Sickles Market

My Kitchen Witch, Monmouth Beach

Stay safe. Stay home. Help local merchants. Help one another.

**If we have missed any eateries, let us know and we will add them.**