A French café new on the scene, an award winning BBQ joint expands, and a luxury hotel opens its doors

by Jessica Jones Gorman

Offering posh choices like bacon infused chicken and waffles, Grand Marnier French toast, and a sweetly caramelized grapefruit brûlée, Ce La Vi, a new café in the heart of Red Bank, is now serving a range of breakfast, lunch, brunch, and dinner dishes that’s making local foodies swoon.

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Formerly known as the Whipped Creperie, the charming, chandelierlit café recently relocated, and expanded offerings far beyond crêpes. Breakfast appetizers like avocado toast, deep dish cinnabons, and homemade cereal are rounded out by seven different styles of breakfast crêpes, lemon blueberry pancakes, and a bacon egg and cheese served on thick slices of French toast. For lunch there’s more crêpes and a variety of paninis and salads. Beef Bourguignon, a Mediterranean bouillabaisse, and traditional ratatouille round out the dinner menu. Kids can select from smaller version of a number of signature dishes, but there are also specials just for them, like “Elvis French Toast” two slices of brioche French toast stuffed with bananas, peanut butter, and jelly. 16 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, celavicafe.com

A new destination accommodation is set to debut in May on the Jersey Shore. With 102 guest rooms, an indoor pool with retractable roof, and an array of dining options, Hotel LBI offers premium amenities, but in a familiar family atmosphere. The property, which maintains a design reminiscent of early 1900s grand hotels, promises the charm of a summer home with the pampering of a luxury hotel stay. Penthouse suites and standard studios feature 50 inch televisions and kitchens equipped with microwave, dishwasher, cooktop and a full size refrigerator. There are also sweeping views of both bay and ocean from its rooftop deck, and the property maintains space for weddings and events; ceremonies can be followed by a reception in the hotel’s event room, which can hold up to 250 guests. 350 West 8th Street, Ship Bottom, hotellbi.com


Local Smoke BBQ, which started as a 2007 cooking competition team named Fat Angel BBQ and which already has three popular locations in the Garden State, will be bringing its award winning pulled pork, smoked ribs, and bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers to the beach this summer. Located in a second floor annex at Jax Garage in Seaside Heights (a popular beach town hangout of its own), this extension will offer its full menu for eat in, takeout, and delivery, as well as space for private parties.

Nicole Spread

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The restaurant family’s BBQ team has represented New Jersey at contests throughout the country “in almost every state from Virginia to Vermont,” has collected more than 125 awards, and has won five New Jersey State Championship titles. 116 Sumner Avenue, Seaside Heights, localsmokebbq.com

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