For eight years, Karyn Jarmer, of Oceanport, has created something special and fun with her restaurant My Kitchen Witch.
My Kitchen Witch, at 29 Beach Road, Monmouth Beach, is a breakfast and lunch restaurant, and so much more.
Jarmer has used her catering background to create a place where the comfort food is both filling and delicious and easier on the waistline.
"We try to do health home cooking, just like your mother used to make, but healthier," Jarmer said.
She said she tries to make everything healthier, whether its using four grains in the pancakes or using blended basmati rice instead of cream in the shrimp bisque.
"Even our butter has strawberry in it, so there’s vitamin c, and it's blended so there's less fat and it’s a little bit more nutritious for you," Jarmer said.
Jarmer said the name of her restaurant came from her experience as a caterer in New York City for programs such as the Rosie O'Donnell Show.
“Rosie’s crew used to call me the kitchen witch because I was able to be fast and get things done,” she said.
Almost everything on the menu is named after something witch-related.
There’s the Emerald City omelet, which has fresh mozzarella and pesto and the Broomstick Hilda Salad which is a sandwich with all-white meat chicken blended with red seedless grapes, apples, craisins and low-fat herb dressing.
Jarmer said she loved her catering job in the city, but that the attacks of 9/11 changed things for her.
"After 9/11 everything became absolutely miserable in the city," she said. "I lived in a beautiful brownstone in the city, but I was so isolated. I felt like I wasn’t part of a community. I had a great job, but I was alone.”
She said security threats, bomb scares and "impossible" parking became the norm.
She said she found herself coming her home in the area more and more to fins a sense of community and was always looking for good place to eat.
"I just wanted a place where I could get healthy eggs and a big salad," Jarmer said. "I was running one day, stopped for eggs and spoke to the owner (of the store that used to occupy My Kitchen Witch's Space) and asked him if he wanted to sell."
He did, and My Kitchen Witch was born.
Jarmer said she still does catering in New York City for TVs, movies and commercials and spends about half her time there and the other half at her restaurant.
My Kitchen Witch has more than just on-site dining, there is also a to-go market, a juice bar, private catering and a reservable 3-course dinner on Friday nights.
Jamer said a relaxed, neighborhood-feel is what she hopes her customers feel when they dine there.
makes it cool besides the food, is when you come here,
you’re not rushed," she said. "You could take up a four-top if you’re
just one person. I've had the same staff since day 1 so its familiar."
She said that sense of community was particularly evident after Hurricane Sandy, which caused her business to be closed for about six months before reopening in April
"The community got us through it," she said. "We had customers who volunteered to help us rebuild, even some who had lost their own homes."My Kitchen Witch is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.