Brunch at the Casino the New Norm?



The Shore Casino at Easter Time! You simply couldn’t find any bunny hopping down the trail that didn’t say it was a fabulous, wonderful experience and they’re looking forward to the next one.

It all started at the St. Patrick’s Day party last month at the Casino. The corned beef and cabbage wasn’t gone five minutes, the Irish Dancers from the First Avenue Irish Dance studio were still tripping the light fantastic and the Guinness had not yet run dry when guests were already asking for another event, specifically an Easter Brunch. So Kathleen and Jay met the challenge and immediately planned the Brunch, offering two seatings, and a bountiful buffet that overflowed tables, platters and dessert cups and bowls.

Shore Casino owner Kathleen Sweeney and her son and Restaurant Manager Jay Strebb responded to the requests of dozens of people to offer an Easter Brunch, a new event for this decades old landmark in the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Harbor.

Guests came from all over, many from Jersey City where they shared their own stories of the Sweeney’s ever popular Casino in the Park of the past. There were youngsters in arms and high chairs, teenagers, grandchildren and grandparents, and even great grandparents, all gathered together to celebrate the holiday and a celebratory meal as a family.

Known primarily as a catering facility in the 21st century when it switched from what made it so popular in earlier years during the 20th century as an elegant dining and dancing restaurant, the recent St. Patrick’s Day party hosted at the Casino was a first event that is establishing a future where management will be offering its own parties and gatherings in addition to continuing the weddings, anniversaries, repasts, club meetings, PBA events and so much more that is always scheduled at The Shore Casino.

Mother’s Day specials are on the horizon but what and what time it will have not yet been established.

For Easter Sunday, Jay advertised reservations for two seatings, one shortly before noon the other after 2. Reservations for both seatings poured into the point Jay had to turn down the last minute attempts, and the Easter Buffet was on.

For many it was simply a time to sit, relax, enjoy great company, some seeing friends they had not seen in years and welcoming the opportunity to get updated on each other’s lives. For others, it was a bit of nostalgia, and another hint to Kathleen that “let’s have more of these.” For all it was a day to enjoy friendship, sunshine, the million dollar view of the yacht harbor and beyond, and take advantage of a repast as artfully arranged and decorated as it was delicious and unusual.

In addition to two long tables of everything from fresh vegetables, cheeses, all kinds of muffins, breads and croissants, as well as several kinds of pastas, salads and Eggs on Chicken and several different kinds of hot and cold meats, there were two meat carvers offering tasty and large cuts of ham, beef or turkey; there was an omelet table made up with all the fixings and a talented and friendly chef who looked like he enjoyed making the omelets as much as guests enjoyed eating them.


Of course with Kathleen bringing recipes for some of her favorite dishes and fruits of the earth from her native Ireland, there were potatoes prepared in numerous ways, as well as beets mixed with bleu cheese and walnuts, a distinctly different and delicious way to eat a vegetable some say only the Irish could love.


There were waffles and French toast, eggplant wrapped around a delectable cream cheese and peppers, and the list goes on ... Without even taking in the dessert table filled with cannoli made right at the Casino, cones of flavored creams, puddings, and the world’s best rice pudding, back by popular demand after it was first presented at the St Patrick’s event. With Bob such an outstanding kitchen manager, and a hard working cuisine staff of men and women working so well together and meeting the needs of the wait staff ready to bring out all their delectable presentations, to say nothing of the bartenders and waitresses, all of whom help each other with all of the jobs, simply trying to get everything was done to perfection and in record time.

Each of the serving tables in the buffet room was neatly adorned with attractive settings of fruits and vegetables of many colors, while in the dining room tables with their sparkling white tablecloths and pink napkins made the room spring- like and beautiful.

Throughout the afternoon, pianist/singer Lou Parisi offered some pretty spectacular background music, which at some tables also turned into a joyful singalong. As Laura Blasaucci of Colts Neck put it, “Just being here, reliving old memories and seeing new people is perfect.”

“I’m glad the people asked for it,” said Jay, “and I’m glad we were able to make it so enjoyable for them.” And Kathleen added, “Ah, it’s just so nice to see so many people enjoying themselves and knowing we can be part of making them so happy.”

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