With summer getting underway for our shore communities, longtime locals and weekend visitors can spend time on two porches at two different gathering spots that are cohesively community driven. Sister restaurants, The Parker House and The Columns, make sweet spots for summer nights and lasting memories.
The Columns, established in 1883 in Avon-by-the-Sea, has been a seasonal shore favorite ever since its inception. The restaurant, bar and nightclub offers fresh menu selections, quality drinks and live music plus a sweeping elevated wrap-around porch.
“So The Columns’ lineup is very exciting,” exclaimed Leslie Sims. “We have tons going on. For the restaurant, specifically, we have a Tuesday clambake where the standard pot is $14.95 and then you can build it by adding lobster claws, a full lobster or a half-lobster and it comes with sweet potato tots, corn and cornbread.”
On Wednesdays, The Columns features Surf n’ Turf night and beginning on Wednesday, June 20, the night will feature live music by Jamie Brown Acoustic and on certain weeks the Glimmer Grass Band. The dinner special is Filet and Lobster Tail for $25.95 and there is usually a fresh catch of the day offered, as well.
Thursday is dedicated to the renowned Lobster Palooza, featuring a one-and-a-quarter pound lobster paired with your choice of starch and a vegetable for $15.95. There will be lobster giveaways at the bar and Guns 4 Hire will be rocking the house every Thursday. Each nightly dinner special is offered from 5 to 10 p.m.
NEW THIS SUMMER AND WEEKLY SPECIALS
New this year from Monday through Thursday, according to Sims, is a newly built bar menu that features the most popular items from the Grill Room menu such as mini-burgers and mini-chipotle. The menu will be available at the bar and accompanied by a Happy Hour special from noon to 5 p.m. featuring $3 domestic bottles, $4 domestic pints and $5 house drinks.
Other weekly specials include Margarita Monday from 5 p.m. to close and on-the-rocks is $5, frozen is $7. Tasty Tuesday features $4 crafts and drafts also from 5 p.m. to close. Wine Not Wednesdays features $5 house wines. Thirsty Thursdays is the regular Happy Hour special from noon to 5 p.m. of $3 domestic bottles, $4 domestic pints and $5 house drinks.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday guests can enjoy 25-cent clams from 3 to 5 p.m. and 50- cent clams from 5 to 7 p.m. The weekends also feature great live music showcasing many local favorites.
Some new menu items to note are wings with a signature Sriracha buffalo sauce, a Nacho Layer Dip; Cajun Steak Pita; and Beyond Veggie Burger. Dinner favorites include fresh Scallops with Crispy Pork Belly and Crab Cakes. Chicken Florentine is new this year, but according to Sims, was brought back by popular demand along with the Seafood Combo. According to Sims, they’ve been striving to make it known that they offer gluten free options as well as just really improving the overall quality of the food.
The Columns also accepts private bookings and private events and still has bookings available for 2019. Make sure to check Facebook and Instagram for the latest up to date events and the full event calendar is listed on the website, columnsnj.com.
THE PARKER HOUSE
The Parker House, located on 1st Avenue in Sea Girt, was established in 1878 and has been a Sea Girt fixture for both locals and summer visitors ever since. Serving fine food and good times for over 140 years, a new addition to The Parker House family this summer is a new chef.
“We have a new chef, Chef Joe, so we’re very excited about the new menu items that he’s bringing to the restaurant,” said Sims. And while the weekends often get crowded with visitors, The Parker House wants to be sure their local community enjoys all the Shore meeting spot has to offer as well.
“We really want the local community to come out and enjoy The Parker House porch and the back raw bar Monday through Thursday off the beach,” said Sims. “We’re really looking forward to having our local community enjoy what we have to offer.”
SUMMER SPECIALS AND NEW ITEMS
The Porch Bar and Raw Bar on the back porch are open daily at noon and Monday through Thursday feature off-the-beach drink specials.
“So some of our new favorite dishes are the Brussel Sprout Salad, which is a warm brussel sprout salad,” said Sims. “We have the Bayou Shrimp n’ Grits and Pistachio Encrusted Halibut along with our popular lobster rolls and our Cedar Plank Salmon, which is one of our popular sellers.”
In addition to these new dishes, the restaurant will offer dinner and blackboard specials each week. Back by popular demand is Lobster Night on Wednesdays, featuring a one-and-a-quarter pound lobster dinner, which comes with choice of starch and a vegetable for $16.95.
According to Sims, something that they have been working on with the summer crowd is the Safe Sea Girt Initiative. “We love the town of Sea Girt, we love being a part of Sea Girt and we want our customers to always remember to respect the town, the community,” said Sims.
“Even though you’re out to have a good time just remember that this is a residential area where people live and that The Parker House supports the town and all those sentiments,” she added.
A fun event taking place on Wednesday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m., is a book signing with New York Times best-selling author Elin Hilderbrand in conjunction with BookTowne in Manasquan. She will be launching her new book titled “Perfect Couple.”
Sims encourages people to check Facebook and Instagram for special events taking place at the Parker House as there is always tons going on.
The Columns and The Parker House are both under the Avon Hotel Corp. umbrella and both are heavily involved in supporting charities and hosting fundraisers in the community.
The Parker House hosts fundraisers throughout the year and is always giving back in any way they can. “We donate hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the course of the year to charities, whether they be local or national,” said Sims. “For example, we have the Quincy Lee Foundation in support of childhood cancer research.”
She added they also host fundraisers for Manasquan’s Long Blue Line, the Sea Girt Fire Department and countless others. Every Sunday, The Columns features a different, local nonprofit group. Instead of collecting a cover at the door, donations are accepted for the featured nonprofit group.
The grassroots community involvement is a major focal point of both establishments.
“Certainly we want to preserve the historic nature of the town, these beautiful buildings in light of losing the Norwood [Inn], these icons, these buildings, need to stay as part of our community and part of our living history and we treat both of the buildings like gold and we maintain them to their original status,” said Sims.
“And the owners and the managers really take pride in that. And we just hope that people will continue to enjoy it from year to year, for years to come.”