Last Saturday, we had a lovely family holiday-enjoying kind of day. Got our Christmas tree. Went to see the light show at Smithville. And then, it was time for dinner. Where to go, where to go.
We decided on the Greenhouse Cafe on Long Beach Island. Why? Had we been there before? No. Had their chowder at Chowderfest before, but that’s all. No, we decided on this place because we wanted to show some support for the businesses that are trying to make it back from Sandy, and they are one of the handful of restaurants that are now open for business.
Walking into the place, you could see right away that things were not quite business as usual: the floors were still rough and bare from having the carpet ripped up, and the bottom half of the walls were down to the studs. Nails exposed and everything.
We ordered a mix of different items: two bowls of their wonderful chowders (a bowlful of red, a bowlful of white), green bean fries, burger for the boy, spaghetti for the girl, a fried oyster sammich for the Lisa, and a personal pizza pizzazz for yours truly. Everything was good – and some things were very good, in fact. The fried oysters were juicy (as they ought to be, said a happy Lisa), and my pizza was a wonderful mixture of artichoke hearts, roaster garlic, olives and sun dried tomatoes. It was a good, satisfying meal for all.
As we left, the remnants of what Sandy had done to LBI were still evident, even in the darkness of night. Plenty of houses and businesses have their first floor contents sitting in heaps on curbs. Large sections of the island were still dark. The new post-Sandy normal won’t be here for months if not years, so we push through this transitional period hoping for the best. Whatever the new normal becomes, it will never be what it was – but it will be something worth going back to and enjoying.