OCEANPORT:The newly-opened Marina At Oceanport, located at 10 Riverside Ave., is more than just a place to dock your boat and grab a quick meal.
Inside, marina-goers will find food prepared by an chef trained in Rome, drinks made with homemade ingredients and a waterfront atmosphere not offered by other eateries in the area.
Co-owner Mario Criscione said the marina, which opened on July 29, is already become popular with locals.
"We're very happy, the local residents have been just extremely wonderful and very receptive." Criscione said. "They have been waiting for something like this and I think this exceeds their expectations."
The marina features indoor seating for approximately 60 patrons at tables with an interior and exterior bar. There is also outdoor seating overlooking the Oceanport Creek for another 50 patrons. An additional dining room, seating approximately 30 guests, will be constructed in the future.
Head Chef Nicola Lini learned to cook in Rome and worked with Gianfranco Vissani, one of the top chefs in Italy for many years. After moving to the United States, Lini has worked at several local restaurants and most recently cooked at the Atlantic Club in Wall.
Deanna Queenan, who co-owns the Marina At Oceanport with her father, Criscione, and sister Jessica Sarnak, describes the menu as "elevated pub fare."
"We have sandwiches, we have a build-your-own burger station, but because we have a chef from Italy, we do have things like eggplant parmesan, so there is some Italian influence on the menu," Queenan said.
Lini said the wild rice risotto di mare, which has scallops, shrimp and clams, and the fried baby back ribs seafood are some of the most popular items on the menu.
General Manager Matt Pellerito said the marina's drinks have also been a big hit.
"Everything is totally straightforward, it's all based on quality of ingredients and freshness as opposed to complexity and over-the-top mixology," Pellerito said. "We squeeze all of our juices from whole fruit, all of the sour mixes we have on hand we make ourselves."
Pellerito said there all their alcohol such as vodka and tequila is not artificially flavored, it is infused with fresh ingredients.
"We did a blueberry hard lemonade and it was our top seller and we did a mango mojito that we could barely keep in stock," he said.
Patrons can also cheer on their local NFL teams at the bar on Sundays and also enjoy happy hour every day from 4:30-6 p.m. with half off any drink.
The marina is open from 4:30-10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.