New Chef Named at Ama Ristorante

March 7, 2014
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A&E-amachef3.7SEA BRIGHT – Ama Ristorante at Driftwood has announced the appointment of Charles “Chuck” Lesbirel as executive chef of the award-winning, waterfront restaurant.

Lesbirel has been chef de cuisine at Ama since the fall of 2012 when the Stavola family purchased the restaurant and moved it from Atlantic Highlands to its current location at Driftwood Cabana Club, on the beach in Sea Bright.

Prior to joining Ama, Lesbirel compiled a resume that included positions at fine restaurants both here at the Shore and in New York City. He was executive chef at Raven and the Peach in Fair Haven for two years and is a former sous chef at David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson. Lesbirel also served as chef tournant at davidburke & donatella in New York City, executive chef at Reserve Sushi and Steakhouse in Lakewood, and as a consulting chef at Highpoint Bistro in New York City.

The Stavola family is grateful to have someone of Lesbirel’s ability, passion and dedication overseeing the operations of Ama’s kitchen and thanks former Executive Chef Pat Trama for his skillful direction of the kitchen for the previous 18 months.

Since opening its stunning waterfront location in 2012, Ama Ristorante has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most exciting fine-dining restaurants at the Jersey Shore. Featuring spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Shrewsbury River, Ama Ristorante offers an award-winning menu of both traditional and newly imagined Italian classics in a warm and elegant setting, inspired by the Tuscan countryside.

Visitors to Ama also enjoy a large, full-service bar with four flat-screen TVs; comfortable leather banquettes, and a private dining room with ocean views, a wood-burning fireplace and a hand-painted mural of a Tuscan farmhouse landscape.

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In less than two years at it Sea Bright location, Ama has been recognized by local and national food reviewers and earned a Zagat rating of 25 (food), 24 (decor), 24 (service). It was named a “New and Notable Restaurant of 2013” by New Jersey Monthly magazine, and was awarded the No. 1 Italian restaurant in 2013 by the readers of Monmouth Health & Life. In addition, already this year Ama Ristorante was named “Diners’ Choice Winner 2014” by’s diners.

Dinner begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is closed Monday. Complimentary valet parking, wheelchair accessible and major credit cards accepted.

Private dining room available for up to 60 seated guests.

Additional information about Ama at the Driftwood, located at 1485 Ocean Ave., is available by calling 732-530-9760 or visiting


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