Bringing Boondocks to the Beach

April 18, 2014
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boondocks1a-IMG_8175Red Bank restaurateur hopes to expand to Sea Bright

By John Burton

SEA BRIGHT — Kelly Ryan is hoping to recreate the success of her Boondocks seafood restaurant in Red Bank in a modified form for Sea Bright.

Ryan, a Locust resident, is seeking planning board approval to open Boondocks 2 Go, at the site of the former Gulf gas station and auto repair shop, 1006 Ocean Ave.

The location, next to a Dunkin’ Donuts, overlooking Shrewsbury Avenue and in the shadow of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, is a natural location for what she hopes to do there, Ryan offered.

“When this came up this was a no-brainer for me,” she said of her plans.

Ryan would like to renovate the site to be used as a mostly takeout seasonal seafood eatery. She plans to have a few tables for dining on-site situated in the building’s garage bays and a couple of tables outside of the location.

The food would be prepared and available at the counter, with no wait service planned and she would like to operate the eatery from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. May through October.

“I just thought it would be great,” she said. Given the borough’s oceanfront location, including its public beach and private beach clubs, there would be many customers who would love to have the opportunity to pick up a lunch to bring to the beach, or eat at the restaurant’s site, or maybe something to take home after a day of sun and swimming, she explained.

“The building is fantastic. I love it,” she said. “It has the whole feel for what I want to do there,” and she would like to give it the same nautical décor that she uses for her Boondocks restaurant, overlooking the Navesink River at Irwin Marine, in Red Bank’s Marine Park.

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Ryan made an informal presentation to the borough planning board at its April 8 meeting and hopes to reappear before the board on May 13 with a formal application.

When she made her presentation last week, “The board was very favorable to Kelly’s proposal,” said Mayor Dina Long, who sits on the planning board.

The former gas station has already been remediated and should Ryan win approval in May, she would be in a good position to be up and running by July, she said.

Ryan has owned and operated Boondocks for six summers and had run the food concession for Sea Bright’s Donovan’s Reef, 1171 Ocean Ave., for 12 years. (That site, destroyed by Sandy, will be rebuilt and its owners are working to have it partially operating this summer.)

She has always had a soft spot for Sea Bright, more pronounced as the community continues to rebuild and come back after the effects of Sandy, she explained. “I really want to see Sea Bright come back to be the destination that it has always been,” she said. And to do that, she believed, “We need businesses opening there.”

“Of course, we’d love to see a new business go into the old Gulf station,” Long acknowledged. And this proposal “would be a great complement to what we already have and will add to our dining diversity and hopefully add another reason to come to Sea Bright.”



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