Drifthouse by David Burke
Drifthouse by David Burke
1485 Ocean Avenue
Sea Bright, NJ 07760
Owners David Burke and Bill Stavola
Opened Feb. 27, 2018
Signature Dish Maple Bacon on a Clothesline
David’s Favorite Dish Roast Chicken
Seating Capacity 142
Hours Tuesday –Thursday: 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday –Sunday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday Brunch & Lunch Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Monday
World-renowned chef and Hazlet native David Burke has re-established a culinary presence in Monmouth County, partnering with Bill Stavolaof the wellknown Stavola contracting company in opening the Drifthouse in Sea Bright.
Located on the site of the former Ama Ristorante in the Driftwood Cabana Club, David Burke and Bill Stavola revamped the dining space to allow patrons to soak in the oceanfront ambiance, while brightening up the dining area and refining the menu to offer some lighter dishes that still span the food spectrum.
The Drifthouse opened this year, as an unplanned coincidence, on Burke’s birthday, Feb.27. The early response from the community has been encouraging, which he says is an exciting prospect for him.
“We’ve regrouped and have a brand that people appreciate. We have an outstanding team, and it’s a good feeling to execute our concept along the shore,” said Burke, who closed his former Rumson restaurant Fromagerie in 2015 after being in business for more than 30 years.
Burke retained the staff from Ama, while sprinkling in some former members from Fromagerie. David’s brother, Robert Burke, is theexecutive chef who leads the kitchen in crafting the restaurant’s entire cuisine, including its pastas, from scratch.
Some popular menu items include the Maple Bacon on a Clothesline appetizer, seasoned withhoney, pepper, lemon and pickles, main courses of roasted branzino, chicken, or steak, salt aged with Burke’s patented technique, as well as scrumptious desserts such as baked Alaska and Creamsicle crème brulee. The menu changes seasonally, and specials are routinely offered.
Inside the Drifthouse’s second floor dining room, nautical décor and table centerpieces comprised of natural salt complement the ocean views. Paintings of other celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and John Lennon also line the walls, providing a familiar, inviting atmosphere to the elegant dining space. An outdoor dining area with its own bar is open every day, weather permitting, and live music will also be offered on Tuesdays throughout the fall.
Burke said he didn’t necessarily have his eye on renovating Ama, but after consulting with Bill Stavola, whose family has owned and operated the club property since 1957, the two decided redesigning the restaurant could help it realize its full potential. But Burke said that project is far from complete.
During the winter, a chef’s table that can accommodate about 10 guests in the kitchen will be built, and plans to construct an outdoor TikiBar that will move indoors from fall to spring,are also underway.
“We’re happy with the results so far, but restaurants are always a work in progress,” Burkesaid. “We’re always chasing happiness for our customers. That’s our number one goal.”
Although Burke owns restaurants around the county, including one at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C, another inManhattan and two more in Saratoga, NewYork, serving the Monmouth County clientele strikes a special chord with him.
“It’s great to be back home at the shore,” he said.