Nagle’s Apothecary Cafe

Time Out New York (TONY) magazine just ran their annual weekend getaways issue and Ocean Grove (read Jesus freaks) was one of the places that they highlighted. Naturally, having hoped the horse (b)-for the buggy, Aimee & I had already been there…like so ages ago people! Like when black was the new black! Like when more was actually more! In like flynn…. here’s the results of our entourage outing to be envied by the masses:

Welcome, Nagle’s Appothecary Cafe! Featuring drinks (cherry lime rickey and egg cream) modeled after the famous Tom’s Restaurant, a Prospect Heights institution!

Nagle’s Apothecary Cafe, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

The above is the Italian submarine sandwich with a side of good ol’ Lays potato chips. The Apothecary reminded me of an 1920s era fountain soda shop in my hometown that I remember fondly… Goolrick’s! Founded in 1869(!), its on the corner of Caroline and George Street in VA and is the site of the oldest continuously running soda fountain in the United States. Sadly, one of the seats in Goolricks’ was despoiled in the Mid 1990s by the pasty white ass of one George H.W. Bush during the course of his reelection stumping speeches. Apparently the small town, good old hard workers aesthetic that’s not too far from the fringes of DC was the look and feel they were going for.

Downside: Goolrick’s still has a seat sign indicating exactly where the Bush elder sat. On the upswing: Goolrick’s still serves a mean cherry ice cream soda!

When we walked in there was a wait so they offered to take down our cell number and they give us a call after the wait. Essentially they gave off the impression that it could really “be a while…”. So we went perusing the smelly soap store across the street (having already harassed the proprietors of the town’s seemingly only gay run baked goods joint for well more than our allotted sitting around lingering time). But less than 5 minutes later Nagle’s called us up & said a table was ready for us! What luck! (Apparently, Ocean Grovers view waiting with more eternal hellfire damnation than than New Yorkers do.)

Here’s the chocolate milkshake I ordered (about $3.25) that came standard with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles on top. (You didn’t even have to ask for the extra flourishes!) And the straw paper was curled up. Plus, in the back of the photo there, you can see that they brought over the remains of the mixings from the milkshake maker (still cold).

Nagle’s Pharmacy Restaurant, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Aimee got the tune fish sandwich with lettuce and tomato with Lays potato chips and a pickle as sides. Both our sandwiches were enormous. She had trouble navigating around her toothpicks…”take them out?” …”No, then my sandwich would fall apart” “Its too big to eat.” Much like the crane’s and the buildings they “help” (de)construct in New York City, Nagle’s sandwiches are monstrous edifices that tower over their neighbors at any moment prone to dire collapse!

The tuna:

Nagle’s Pharmacy Restaurant, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Underneath our meals were prints of old newspaper pages including many ads. “$25,000, 3 bedroom home. Ocean view in Ocean Grove.” Back in the 70s my parents’ kitchen had a wallpaper left over from the previous tenants (the Womers) that was a remake of 19th century newspaper ads. Cast iron meat grinders with hefty latches along side “magic hair tonic” proven to work “in seconds” were steady and yellowing companion to many a breakfast.

Nagle’s Apothecary Cafe, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

In order to make about to the neighboring gay-borhood of Asbury Park, we had to call around for a taxi. Lacking pen & paper to write the number down on… we used the cell’s note section in order to remember the number to call after lunch…

Nagle’s Apothecary Cafe, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos

…….and just like that we left Nagle’s and Ocean Grove behind. If you go, definitely check out the multitude of Victorian houses that line the boardwalk (And watch out for crosses in the sand!!!).

Nagle’s Apothecary Cafe
43 Main Avenue
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756
Tel.: 732.776.979
Hours: daily from 8:30am-9pm


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