Another morning, another crab for the employees of Harvey Cedars Shellfish Company. The public may not see it, but hours before the restaurant’s doors open its prep crew is setting up for dinner.
They clean the mussels. They wash the clams. All this so that when customers appear every summer afternoon at 4:30, the food will be that much closer to ready. It’s now an hour before opening, and Mike Garofalo, who along with his brother, John, owns both Shellfish and The Clam Bar on Centre Street in Beach Haven, is taking a walk through the kitchen.
“I keep a prep sheet so I know what I need for a particular night,” he says.
He and his brother have owned Shellfish, located at 7904 Long Beach Blvd., for around 30 years. The building, once an old house, is now one of the better-known stops for seafood dinners on the island — just ask Bunny Scharle.
“This place has a great reputation for their clam chowder,” Scharle says as she walks away from the counter with a bag full.
Scharle, 73, of Allentown, Pa., is visiting Harvey Cedars with her husband, Bill, 74. It had been a while since they were there. Bill is surprised to see the Garofalos have expanded the restaurant to include another room. But he does remember the chowder.
“It does have a reputation, and we take some home for our friends,” he says.