Local Town Booming With New Businesses

Tradewinds has filled up the residential portion of its complex to capacity but is still in need of retail tenants. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  WARETOWN – From charming mom-and-pop shops to unique and innovative eateries, the Township of Ocean is riding a transformative wave of emerging new businesses.

  In the past year or so, a wide range of restaurants has surged to the forefront, leading the way in terms of establishments debuting within the community. The latest additions provide a variety of choices catering to diverse palates, including quick on-the-go options and international kitchens with scenic views.

  For those who like to greet the day with the sun, Joe’s Bagel & Grill opens at 7 a.m. Situated in the Towne Center where Shop Rite is the anchor store, the menu options include both breakfast and lunch selections. Waretown marks the twelfth location for this franchise business, expanding its footprint within Monmouth and Ocean counties.

  A short stroll from the bagel shop, Saladworks is in the midst of a transformation, revamping the space that once housed GNC. The franchise offers a menu of signature salads or the opportunity for diners to craft their own, with a wide selection of lettuce, toppings, dressings, and accompanied by freshly baked rolls.

  Pizza afficionados have two fairly new opportunities to relish the aroma and taste of their popular favorite. Manzano’s Brick Oven Pizza, an extension of Zano’s Italian Market, has taken residence right next door at 360 Route 9 North.

Saladworks will be opening in the storefront previously occupied by GNC once renovations are complete. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  Meanwhile, down the highway and a few doors from the Post Office, Bella’s Pizza awaits at 529 Route 9 South. With tantalizing offerings like pizza by the slice, takeout, delivery, and catering services, they’re also appealing to neighborhood tastebuds. For hungry folks in the mood for something with a south-of-the-border flair, Bella’s also boasts a selection of Mexican cuisine.

  Breakers, situated within the shopping center is on the brink of sale as the restaurant is due to change hands within the next couple of weeks. Word is that the new owners have great plans for extensive renovations but plan to preserve the Breakers’ name, established more than five years.

  Patrons can look forward to a revitalized dining experience planned by the proprietors of Harpoon Willy’s in Manasquan. Local authorities estimate the new owners will open early next year.

  Caribbean Pete’s Island Grill located at the Key Harbor Marina offers an unparalleled view of Barnegat Bay. Their menu features exotic eats, refreshing salads and island handhelds. Fishing enthusiasts can have their own catch of the day expertly prepared after a successful day out on the water,

  Those interested in giving Caribbean Pete’s a try may want to give the restaurant a call in advance. Guests are welcomed from May to October on select days of the week.

  Clemmy’s Restaurant, the newest culinary addition to Waretown, has taken up residence at 290 Route 9 North, formerly home to The Brunch Spot. This upscale option features an exquisite menu crafted from fresh catches from Barnegat Light seafood hub, Viking Village, and farm-fresh produce sourced from Sassafrass Hill Farm in Barnegat.

The new owners of Breakers plan to retain the name when they reopen early next year. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

Beyond Restaurants

  Notably, there’s more cooking in Waretown than just food – with other types of menu options hitting the scene in the community.

  “We are absolutely delighted to see the growing number of new businesses coming into the Township of Ocean,” said Mayor Ken Baulderstone. “Their presence underscores the vitality and potential to further our local economy and we welcome them with open arms.”

  Baulderstone pointed out that after Saladworks formally opens up, the Town Square shopping center will be filled to capacity.

  Waretown local and native, Danielle Priesler, opened a boutique in the shopping center near the bagel store, positioned next to the dry cleaners. Aptly named ‘The Local Bungalow,’ her shop boasts an enchanting array of items, ranging from delectable food and artisan soaps to enchanting candles and fashionable clothing.

  BLOC, presently operating as a medical marijuana dispensary, holds the front spot in the shopping plaza. Notably, the local governing body has recently granted approval for the business to expand into recreational cannabis sales, with these additional services set to roll out pending state approval.

  The final vacant spot in Town Square, once home to an Ocean First banking facility, has found new life. Dada’s now occupies the space, specializing in the buying and selling of pre-owned jewelry, electronics, and more. Additionally, they offer expert jewelry repair services.

  Shore Casual Amish Outdoor Furniture Center frequently displays assorted samples of their merchandise of their parking lot located at 304 Route 9. They feature outdoor poly furniture made in assorted colors and designs.

The Local Bungalow sells a variety of items. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  Although it’s listed as a 250 Route 9 Barnegat mailing address, Stinky Paws is actually located in the Township of Ocean. They offer pet grooming services from sheared locks to clipped nails.

  The ground has already been broken for the Contractor Warehouse buildings, although sources say construction has been put to a temporary halt. They are being built on the corner of Seminole and Route 9 next to Dollar General.

Space Still Available

  While the residential component of the Tradewinds development, situated opposite Shop Rite, is currently at full capacity, the multi-use project has no tenants moved into its retail space.

  It’s worth noting that the absence of interest doesn’t seem to be the challenge; instead, the project demands well-established businesses with excellent credit and extended lease commitments. Reliable sources have verified the signing of a lease agreement by a physical therapy business for the premises.

  With regards to the structure formerly home to the Thirsty Mallard, the current owners have reportedly declined any inquiries or expressions of interest in the property. They continue to pay property taxes for the building as required by law.

Clemmy’s Restaurant is in the location formerly run by The Brunch Spot. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

A Small, But Growing Community

  Based on the 2020 census data, the Township of Ocean boasts a population of approximately 8,835 residents, which is notably smaller by about one-third compared to its neighboring towns. This represents an increase of about 500 people from 2010 to 2020.

  Barnegat meets Waretown at its southern border, while Lacey Township sits to the north. People travel up and down Route 9 throughout the three communities to secure services to meet their needs.

  As opportunities open up within the Township of Ocean, residents have suggested other businesses they’d like to see move into town. These include a physical bank branch and a medical facility for blood draws. Both would significantly enhance convenience for residents who favor local services.