Want to eat healthy? Try these NJ restaurants


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The New York City chain hopes to open in late March or April.
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On New Year’s Eve, when the ball dropped in Times Square, how many of you declared 2018 as the year you improve your diet?

Me too.

The trick is to start simply with small changes – give up sugar in coffee (try a little maple syrup – really) or pile more veggies on your dinner plate. All together, these add up to a healthier way of life.

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Another way to be successful? When going out to eat, choose a restaurant that values healthy foods just as much as you do. Years ago, healthy menu options meant dry turkey burgers, boring salads and other dishes that felt like afterthoughts, but today’s chefs are feeding people well by making delicious food that also happens to be healthy.

Here are five Jersey Shore restaurants you can enjoy without the guilt.

More: 5 restaurants opening at the Shore this year

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Cavé Bistro

Years ago, Chef Doug Stehle was unhealthy and ready for a change. He altered his diet and got healthy, then decided to make a career out of doing the same for others.

Stehle opened his restaurant, previously Cavé, a Paleo Eatery, in Avon in 2013. He serves separate menus for lunch and dinner, with a focus is on high-end food that satisfies without leaving diners too full or uncomfortable.

“One of the things I hear most often is, ‘Why do I feel good when I leave here?’ ” he said. “Because you’re eating good food.”

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As of press time, Stehle was changing his menu from fall to winter, but dinner staples include seared wild Coho salmon with duck fat sweet potato truffle fries, pesto zucchini noodles, roasted baby yams or other vegetables, and Iberico pork chop with braised greens ($26 to $35).

“Our focus here is good, whole foods prepared with a high level of culinary talent in our kitchen, from scratch, all day through,” he said.

Cavé Bistro is at 515 Sylvania Ave. in Avon; call 732-776-8556 or visit www.cavebistro.com.

Surf Poké

In 2016, culinary experts predicted that poké – a raw fish salad popular on the West coast – would become one of the year’s “it” foods. 

It took a little time for diners to come around, but poké is popping up everywhere – and Jay and Cait Gould are bringing it to Lacey.

The couple, who live in Toms River, plan to open Surf Poké in March in the township’s Lacey Mall on Route 9. The idea for the restaurant came about when the Goulds were working from home and looking for something besides the usual pizza and Chinese take-out for lunch. 

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“The bowl concept seemed to be happening,” Jay said, adding that he and his wife had enjoyed poké in California and Hawaii and learned to prepare it at home. “(We thought), this is a great concept. Why don’t we do poké bowls?”

Surf Poké’s signature bowl is wild rice with ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, scallion, sweet onion, jalapeno and spicy sauce. Diners can build their own dishes from a base of rice, greens, chips or zucchini noodles with spicy tuna, salmon, chicken, shrimp or crab, vegetables and sauce. The restaurant also will serve acai and pitaya bowls, smoothies, and shave ice. 

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Surf Poké will open at 344 Route 9 in the Forked River section of the township; visit http://surfpoke.com.

Local Urban Kitchen

At this breakfast-and-lunch spot in Point Pleasant Beach, the motto is “eating right is supposed to taste great.”

“For the most part, we were raised on the Meditterranean diet, so culturally, what we ate was very healthy,” owner Marwa Fattah said of her and her co-owner, brother Maged’s, Egyptian upbringing. “My brother had originally worked in a couple other restaurants and wasn’t happy with the quality of the food, and he wanted to make a change.”

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The Fattahs, who wanted to bring healthy, organic food to the community, have been serving Meditterranean-inspired dishes since 2012, first in a small space in Brielle and then in their current location. They source ingredients from local farms and use them in such dishes as Ezekiel Bread toast with avocado, poached eggs, salsa, feta and alfalfa sprouts; harissa-spiced grilled chicken and vegetables in a collard wrap; and a house-made veggie burger with vegan mayo and cheese. 

Local Urban Kitchen is at 1805 Route 35 in Point Pleasant Beach; call 848-232-3451 or visit www.localurbankitchen.com.

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The Juice Theory

For Joyce Abady, the road to owning her own restaurant started with one seemingly simple product: juice.

That is because at its heart, juice represents what her business is all about.

“Juice is a shortcut to health,” said Abady, who opened The Juice Theory on Long Branch’s Brighton Avenue in 2016. “One shot of juice is like a shot of medicine. I believe in it so much; you feel it when you drink it.”

More: At The Juice Theory, flavor meets clean eating

(Watch Abady make cold-pressed almond milk in the video above.)

Today, her organic and vegan restaurant makes much more than juices. The Juice Theory serves soups (creamy cauliflower, tomato with zucchini noodles), salads (fattoush, vegan Cesar), sandwiches (grilled cheese, eggplant parmesan, veggie burgers), a hot oatmeal bar, smoothie bowls, cookies and muffins, plus vegan appetizers on Fridays (mini mushroom pizzas, lemon spinach triangles and tempeh empanadas) and pizzas on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Juice Theory is at 87 Brighton Ave. in Long Branch; call 732-455-5444 or visit www.thejuicetheory.com.

Kali-O’s Juice Box

For five years, Kerry and Alli O’Neill have been cold-pressing juices, blending fresh fruit smoothies, mixing acai and pitaya bowls, and making raw snacks at the three Ocean County shops that bear their names.

The sisters’ business was born from Kerry’s love of travel; while abroad, she took notice of the healthy, flavor-packed ingredients enjoyed around the world. When healthy-living businesses began to boom, she and Alli opened their shops: Kali-O’s Juice Box has locations in Point Pleasant Beach, Ortley Beach and Lavallette. The latter two are closed for the season and will reopen in May. 

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Their menu includes freshly made and bottled organic juices (including juice cleanses), smoothies and smoothie bowls, flavored nut milks, salads, yogurt parfaits, chia pudding, fresh fruit ice pops and protein balls made with nuts, dates, oats, peanut butter and honey. The shop also sells baked goods from Seed to Sprout, a vegan restaurant in Monmouth County. 

Kali-O’s Juice Box is at 627 Arnold Ave. in Point Pleasant Beach; call 848-232-4297 or visit www.kaliosjuicebox.com.

 

 

 

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