The owner of a barbecue restaurant and take-out business looking to expand into Seaside Heights is set to appear at a meeting of the borough’s planning board later this month following a discussion at the board’s last meeting in September.
Offshore BBQ, owned by Richard Cline, is seeking to expand to a second location in Seaside heights from his first in Point Pleasant Beach, where his restaurant has been receiving excellent reviews since it opened in 2018. The BBQ purveyor plans to open in the shopping center at 1520 Boulevard, between Hiering and Sampson avenues. It will take the place of a nursery school and day care that previously occupied the space.
Cline was asked to return to the board at its Oct. 27 meeting so the board could review a more complete site plan. At first, it was thought that a simple interior drawing would suffice before the board could vote to approve the application, however the restaurant is now seeking to locate a smoker grill outdoors, which requires a closer look by the board engineer.
“The change of use is obvious: we’re going from a daycare to a restaurant-style business,” said attorney Matthew Heagen, counsel for Offshore BBQ. “He has a smoke house, so to speak, where he sells smoked meats and smoked foods to individuals who wish to buy them. This would be primarily a take-out location.”
A few tables will be located in the restaurant, however they will primarily be for those waiting to pick up their orders. Cline’s application is unique in that his business is not a traditional sit-down restaurant and does not require a commercial kitchen to operate, but such a niche enterprise isn’t described in the borough’s zoning ordinance.
“My client does not intend to have a full kitchen, partially because some of his product will be made elsewhere and it will be a duplication, and because it will be our goal to utilize some of the exterior space of this property which is unique and, arguably, particularly suited for this purpose,” Heagen told board members.
Cline did, indeed, include language in a public notice about the restaurant indicating that smokers would be located outdoors. As such, there is no need for an additional round of notices to be published, Board Attorney Steven A. Zabarsky. But the smokers were not included in an initial application packet.
“Clearly, we’re going to need a site plan,” said Zabarsky. “We need to know if there are going to be tables, the interior design, where the smokers are going to go, and it brings up issues of refuse and everything else.”
Zabarsky said the Offshore BBQ representatives could work with Doug Klee, the planning board engineer, to determine the breadth of information the board needs to complete the application and take a vote.
The next planning board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers over the borough firehouse.