Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Lots of people think Father’s Day is a holiday designed by greeting card companies to rake in cash. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The story behind how this day became a holiday is a tale of determination by one woman and a decades-long fight to get dads the recognition they deserve.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, It was May of 1909, when a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, heard a Mother’s Day sermon by Reverend Dr. Henry Rasmussen in her hometown church and thought a similar day should be set aside to honor fathers. Her own father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, raised six children as a single parent.

On June 6, 1910, Dodd approached the Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) with her petition outlining the idea for an annual observance, and she received overwhelming support. Spokane’s held its first Father’s Day celebration on Sunday, June 19, 1910, with moving speeches by her own pastor and those from other area churches.

To read the rest of the story on the history of Father’s Day, see the Farmer’s Almanac.

If you’re lucky enough to still have dear old dad in your life, show him how much you love him by taking him out to eat on Father’s Day. Lots of dads like being the grill master, even on Father’s Day, but you must insist dad take it easy and allow you to do all the work. Make a reservation at a good restaurant for Brunch, Lunch, or dinner.

Here are some of the best places in Monmouth & Ocean County to take dad and the family this Father’s Day, June 18,2023

  • Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant - 100 Ocean Ave N, Long Branch, NJ 07740

    Open for Lunch and Dinner on Father’s Day. If weather permits, make a reservation to sit on the outdoor deck. The view is lovely and the food is fantastic. Grab one of their fabulous Pomegranate Martinis and toast your dad.

  • Flavia's Cucina Romana - 550 Cookman Ave #101, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    I had never heard of this place until recently. My friend Bev and her husband Bob just celebrated their 42nd Wedding Anniversary at Flavia’s and posted beautiful photos and a hearty thank you to the crew, especially Andrea & Sara for making their celebration a memorable one. It’s BYOB

  • Mizuki Hibachi Asian Bistro - 2007 NJ-35, Wall Township, NJ 07719

    Allie loves this place! She wrote: “Been coming to Mizuki for years and have never had a bad thing to say about it! Food is amazing and staff is so fun and friendly. Mizuki is perfect for family celebrations or even just a casual sit down dinner. Takeout is great as well and is always so efficient. Beautiful place and always very clean. Great service too. Everything is always presented nicely and sushi is plated beautifully. Wish I could give more than 5 stars solely for their hibachi rice. Well done, Mizuki!”  I’m sold!!  



  • Ragin Cajun - 1102 NJ-35, Belmar, NJ 07719

     Dad will love this place!   So cozy, a living room setting with amazing Cajun-Creole dishes. Thanks to the late Tracie Orsi for opening this great little restaurant.  Lots of memories were made here with the WRAT staff.

  • Marandola's - 608 Main St, Bradley Beach, NJ 07720

    Another great choice to fulfill dad’s desire for Italian food and a cozy atmosphere.  Great service at this BYOB establishment where the food has always been on point for me. The Veal Saltimbocca will melt in you mouth! The broccoli rabe with garlic is always my choice for a side dish. Gluten free folks will be happy to know that they will be well taken care of. Chef Mark gets high marks from me.





  • The Molly Pitcher Inn - 88 Riverside Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    Brunch at this place is lovely. If dad likes things a bit upscale, then book your reservation here.  Order the Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast, Short Ribs Benedict, or a custom made omelette, I think you’ll be happy while you and your family enjoy  the panoramic view of the Navesink River.

  • Meemom's Middletown - 1383 NJ-35, Middletown Township, NJ 07748 - In Middletown Plaza

    Breakfast or Brunch is always a delight at Meemom’s.  The Deans Of French Toast University offer up over 20 options that include seasonal favorites. If you’re watching your weight, choose one of their Fit Specials. Gluten Free? No problem, they have gluten free bread, along with egg dishes, pancakes, and more.



  • SeaGrass Restaurant - 68 Main Ave, Ocean Grove, NJ 07756

    I prefer a restaurant with a bar, but if I’m going to a BYOB place, it’s because the food is fresh, well made, and creative. Seagrass is all of those things.  Lunch is served from 11:30 to 3:30 and dinner from 4:00 to 9:00. Try the Crispy Calamari Salad -, arugula, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes,  spicy lemon vinaigrette. Then there’s the Crispy Calamari appetizer. It’s not served with your basic marinara, it’s served with a flavorful ginger soy dipping sauce. Choose your  entrée from a well crafted menu that includes a plethora of fish, chicken, meat, and pasta options. I love the Long Island Duck Breast with the raspberry glaze. 



  • Tino’s Mexican kitchen - 222 Shrewsbury Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    Tino’s might be considered a hidden gem because I don’t hear enough people talk about them. Open everyday from 11am to 10 pm.  There’s plenty of room on the backyard patio and there is indoor dining too. Offering traditional dishes and great Mexican BBQ, Tino’s could be your choice for Father’s Day dining.



  • Cardinal Provisions - 513 Bangs Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    Brunch in Asbury with daddy in a relaxed setting. It’s a brick-walled brunch spot serving breakfast, sandwiches & creative plates. People often mention their unusual take on chicken & waffles, the chicken and dumpling soup, and those incredibly creative sandwich offerings. My Brunch choice would be the smoked salmon, with beet-horseradish cream cheese, red onions, capers and  herbs on an everything bagel.



  • River Rock Restaurant & Marina Bar - 1600 NJ-70, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    We’ve been going to this place for decades. Good food, a decent beer selection and a choice of indoor or outdoor seating. We threw Doug the Promo Rat’s farewell gathering here. Open on Father’s Day from 11:30am to Midnight.



  • Tardi's Ristorante Italiano - 931 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753 In Bellcrest Plaza

    Bruce took me here the first year we were dating a million years ago. He was hoping I’d love this place as much as he does, and now I do. If you follow the Toms River community pages on social media, this place gets more mentions than most places. It’s BYOB and reservations are suggested. On their site: We serve the finest Italian cuisine prepared with the very freshest of ingredients. To ensure your dining pleasure our professional well-trained and courteous staff is at your service. The Tardi family asks your indulgence as all our selections are prepared individually and require a few extra moments.



  • The Poached Pear - 816 Arnold Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

    Looking for an upscale place for dinner in Ocean County? I suggest you try The Poached Pear. It will wow you in every way possible. From the exemplary service to the fresh well crafted dishes, this BYOB place has a near perfect rating with the locals. You must leave room for dessert. My choice: The Lemon Napoleon,  with layers of lemon mousse and crispy pistachio dusted filo with blueberry sauce. 



  • Donovans Bar & Grill - 1900 NJ-70, Manchester Township, NJ 08759

    One of my favorite stops in Ocean County. Very warm and friendly. Billy never fails to greet Bruce and I every time we walk in the door. It’s been a while since we’ve been there though. The wings, potato skins, steak bites , and the jalapeno poppers are all good choices for an appetizer. The bar pies are bangin’ and the burgers are also a solid choice. They have Irish dishes like Shephard’s Pie, and Bangers and Mash.  Decent selection of beers, and the bar is always hoppin’ . Dad would love this place if casual dining is his choice.

    This domain may be for sale!


  • Xina - 3430 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Xina’s was voted Best Sushi and Best Chinese Restaurant in the RAT’s 2023 Shore Awards.  It’s BYOB and it is a great place to take dad for Father’s Day.




  • Il Giardino Sul Mare - 2 Hollywood Blvd S, Forked River, NJ 08731

    This place has a full bar if dad is a drinkin’ man. Indoor and outdoor dining at this classy joint. White tablecloths, impeccable service, fabulous food and piped in Italian music will make dad’s day.  Happy hour Tuesday through Friday if dad wants to return to this place.


  • Shogun Legacy - 1536 N Bay Ave, Toms River, NJ 08753

    I love the few round seated booths in this place. I really like Kevin the manager who always greets us when we arrive. The food is superb and the sushi is beautifully prepared. They have a full bar and a great waitstaff. I usually ask for Gary to be our server when possible. He’s got to be one of the best servers we’ve ever encountered. It’s all good if Gary’s not available, we’ve had other servers who were attentive and knew what they were doing.

    Shogun Legacy

    Located at the site of the Bey Lea golf course in Toms River NJ, Shogun Legacy (formerly Shogun Bey Lea) offers a unique dining experience from a menu of contemporary Asian and traditional sushi & sashimi dishes in an elegant, upscale setting.

  • Biagio’s Trattoria - 509 US-9, Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734

    Another 2023 WRAT Shore Award Winner!!  It’s a BYOB place that RAT listeners absolutely adore. The menu is plentiful with different nightly specials. The owner and staff are friendly and welcoming. I’ve been told to order the Spaghetti Cacio e Peppe,  Flounder Francese, and just about any veal dish prepared here.  

  • Spanish Potato Grill - 55 Brick Blvd, Brick Township, NJ 08723 - Located in Bay Harbor Plaza next to Stop and Shop

    Casual eatery focusing on traditional Spanish & Portuguese dishes. The servers know the menu backwards and forwards. If you aren’t sure what to order, ask your server for recommendations. I almost always order the Paella, but I have deviated on occasion and ordered the veal chop. If you bring a bottle of wine, they’ll turn it into a fantastic fruity Sangria.


    Spanish Potato Grill | Portuguese Restaurant | Brick NJ

    Spanish Potato Grill is a Spanish and Portuguese restaurant in Brick NJ. We specialize in Spanish and Portuguese cusine and the best seafood on the new jersey shore.



  • The Ocean View Restaurant - 2 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

    Four words you need to remember before heading to this place: LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE!  If you’re planning on ordering a seafood dish, the Seafood Risotto was highly recommended by a listener of mine. Good beer selection, frozen cocktails, hand crafted cocktails enjoyed with breath-taking ocean views, indoor dining room, comfortable bar, giant outdoor decks, and on-beach dining area.  Sundays they have an all you can eat brunch for $21.95 between 10am and 2:30 pm




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