With 80-degree temperatures and lots of sunshine forecast for Independence Day, Jones Beach will likely be mobbed — and scores of ice cream cones, burgers, Japanese-style noodle bowls and red-velvet cupcakes will be trading hands in the snack bar.
Wait — noodle bowls? Red velvet cupcakes? Yes, those are two of the slightly unconventional beach choices at the Boardwalk Cafe, Jones Beach State Park's newest eatery -- and the one nearest to Field 4 — where food from local bakers and upstate farms shares the bill with more traditional foot-long hot dogs and chicken tenders.
The snack bar reopened in June as a resurrection of the old Boardwalk Cafe, which was demolished in 2014 (a fire destroyed the first incarnation of the Beaux Arts Boardwalk Cafe in 1964). The re-imagined Boardwalk Cafe, which cost $18 million to build, has polished cement floors, canvas ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace with killer views of the beach. The food-hall-style setup is lined with stations devoted to griddled panini (three kinds, including caprese), grilled sandwiches (you can still get hot dogs, but also turkey and mushroom burgers) and the noodle bowls, which are assembled to order from ramen noodles warmed in a vegetable broth, then and topped with either chicken or beef and stir-fried vegetables.
Jones Beach concessionaire Centerplate collaborated with Taste NY to stock the shelves with food and drink produced in-state, from pita chips (Baked in Brooklyn) to rosé in a can (from Mattituck's Bridge Lane Wines) to cupcakes (from Bellmore's NY Cupcakery). Even the beef burger patties, ground from a combination short rib and brisket, come from Farmingdale's Main Street Meats, and there's beer on hand from Blue Point Brewing Company and Montauk Brewing Company. "The food and beverage options capture the essence of Long Island," said Bobby Dichiaro, Centerplate's regional vice president. Centerplate also runs concessions at Belmont Park and the Bethpage Ballpark, among others.
A foot-long hot dog costs $5, burgers and noodle bowls each cost $11, and a panino will set you back $12. Though there's scant indoor seating, picnic tables dot the elevated patio as well as a second patio on the east side of the building.
And while there's hot coffee in the Boardwalk Cafe, lovers of the icy beverage should trek west down the boardwalk to the Marine Dining Hall in the West Bathhouse for some superb cold brew from Yonkers' Double Barrel Roasters.
Boardwalk Cafe, near Field 4 at Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh.