Planning board approves conversion for The Committed Pig

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MANASQUAN — The borough planning board approved an application Tuesday by The Committed Pig to renovate the former Maria’s restaurant into a two-story building with rooftop dining.

Jerry Rotunno, chef and owner of The Committed Pig, purchased the building at 165 Main St. January 2020, as well as the former restaurant’s liquor license.

“We were very fortunate enough to be very popular, so we wanted to expand our seating capacity,” Mr. Rotunno said, adding that the new location would also allow for open air dining in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Architect Verity Frizzell said that the plan is to gut and renovate the first floor and add a second floor with outdoor seating and two stairwells. The restrooms on the first floor would also be renovated with additional stalls, and two restrooms would be added on the second floor. 

The new space would allow for 196 seats in total including 86 indoor seats on the first floor, 42 indoor seats on the second floor, 52 outdoor seats on the second floor and 16 outdoor seats in the restaurant’s alleyway.

In regard to parking, the restaurant needs at least 66 parking spaces, planner and engineer Joseph Kociuba said. He noted that there are 32 spaces behind the property adjacent to the restaurant, in addition to spaces in Squan Plaza and street parking on Main Street.

“Obviously the downtown has suffered greatly through this COVID crisis and I think anything we can do to give the town a jumpstart and bring people into the town is helpful,” the applicant’s attorney, Keith Henderson, said.

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