Asign greets you as you slip through the door of Neptune Market (8014 Long Beach Bou-
levard), a bungalow-sized grocery and
luncheonette in Harvey Cedars on Long
Beach Island. The message: “Enter as
strangers, leave as friends.”
“It’s kind of our motto here,” says Joe
Lesko, Neptune’s burly head chef. Bare-
foot lifeguards and bikini-clad patrons
sit at the barstools watching the 34-year-
old Forked River native grill his locally
prized Philly cheesesteaks and “Nooney
burgers”—8-ounce Angus patties with
lettuce, tomato, onion, hot pepper relish
and mayo on a Kaiser roll.
With a deli, grocery, bakery, newsstand
and restaurant squeezed into two small
rooms, Neptune Market is ideal for one-
stop shopping. Yet patrons like to linger.
“We make each customer feel like we’re
only here for them,” says Lesko. “I think
that’s part of why we’re so successful.”
Established in 1946, Neptune Market
has long been an oasis for LBI residents.
Indeed, when Hurricane Sandy smacked
the island in October 2012, owners Albert
and Teri Holl were serving sandwiches to
rescue workers “as soon as the Boar’s Head
guy” made it over the causeway with provisions, says Albert. The Holls, who winter
in Florida, renovated the market in 2006
but “kept the local flavor”—because that’s
what their loyal patrons said they wanted.
Harvey Cedars is one of Long Beach
Traditions hang tough as change comes to the
Island’s six municipalities. Drive onto
the island via the causeway over Mana-
hawkin Bay, and a left turn will take you
to Harvey Cedars as well as Surf City
and Barnegat Light. At the center are
Ship Bottom and Long Beach Township,
which consolidates multiple neighbor-
hoods up and down the island. A right
turn off the causeway directs you to the
livelier Beach Haven, with its beachfront
motels and bayfront amusement parks.
“Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light
are unique towns,” says Albert Holl.
“They’re a bastion of a time that is no
longer.” For example, if a section of the
Sunday New York Times is missing, the
Holls call longtime friend Mike White of
the competing White’s Market down the
road to see if he has an extra.
But time certainly has not stood still
on LBI. It’s true that many of the 18-mile-
long barrier island’s 20,000 or so year-
Long Beach Island
barrier island. By Christina Colizza
Head chef Joe Lesko, far
left, mans the grill at Nep-ture Market. Bartender
Zach Bush shakes it up on
the rooftop at Daddy-O,
top, where Tanya Parsons
and Shane Frable, vacationers from Pennsylvania,
enjoy cocktails in the sun.