By DENISE HERSCHEL and ED SALVAS
“Amazing” is the way Courtney Carr describes the summer of 2023 as she waits on customers at Betty’s Icebox, located just inside the Convention Hall Arcade in Asbury Park. This is the 10th season for Betty’s Icebox and the best yet, operators said.
“Once we got through June it was non-stop to Labor Day,” Carr said.
As business owners look back on the 2023 summer season which featured the hottest July ever recorded they said their numbers were better than last year often coming close to the pre-pandemic time.
Betty’s offers healthier versions of classic boardwalk treats including vegan soft ice cream sandwiches. Definitely the highlight of the summer was the visit from Al Roker of the “Today” Show on NBC. Roker taped a segment at Betty’s for “Today.”
In case you’re wondering just who is “Betty,” Carr has the answer. Betty could be any one described as a cool girl, she said.
Cousin’s Maine Lobsters restaurant opened in the First Ave. Pavilion in Asbury Park last summer after having a food truck in Asbury Park the year before. This year was even better that last year, operators said.
Manager Savas Alkoc said the hype surrounding the opening in 2022 helped a lot last year but there was no drop-off this year in business with good weather continuing.
Cousin’s is open rear-round.
This has been a busy season for Mrs. Dainzie, the daughter of the legendary Madame Marie, the psychic advisor and spiritual healer and boardwalk fixture for decades. Mrs. Dainzie predicted she would meet people from all over the world this year.
“Bruce Springsteen is touring,” she said, “Whenever Bruce is on tour, his fans come to Asbury Park to find Madame Marie the psychic who is mentioned in the lyrics of his song.”
When other people visit Madame Marie’s what’s the number one question?
“Is Covid over?” she said.
Other questions deal with more personal things – love and marriage and their own future.
To get her answer to the Covid question, Mrs. Dainzie is on the boardwalk between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.
At Jimmy’s restaurant in Asbury Park Lysa Marrucca, manager, said the summer was great.
“We had a lot of new customers,” she said. “We had our regulars also. We had a few new specials and we rotate them.
“This year our numbers were more toward the normal numbers. Last year was very busy because a lot of people went out to eat after being in the house because of Covid.”
Vin Nguyen, manager, at Sea Crab in Neptune said business this year was better than last summer.
“But we didn’t have as much traffic as I expected. I think a lot of people went to the beach,” he said.
The restaurant features entertainment during the week. On Friday nights it’s karaoke. Saturday nights bands and Sunday features jazz and blues.