Just a couple weeks past schedule, Kind Burgers has rolled back its giant storefront windows to let the aroma of grilling beef flow out onto the sidewalks of downtown Sea Bright.
"My children have been waiting with bated breath for this place to open," said Kate Grossardh, of Rumson. She and her son Will visited the new burger joint on Tuesday for a Kobe burger and and some Bell and Evans gluten-free chicken tenders.
"We live right over the bridge so it's a close walk to somewhere that actually has healthy food," she said.
Will, 8, seemed less concerned with the healthful benefits of his chicken tenders and more with how hungry he was after his three-hour practice with his soccer team, the Rumson Dirty Dawgs. "The food is good," he said about why he likes to come here.
The restaurant had its soft opening last week and celebrated its grand opening Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"Early reports are thumbs up," said Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, who was on hand for the ceremony. "I hear good things from the patrolmen."
"The cops are in here almost everyday," said Anthony Cafaro, who owns the restaurant with his wife Yvette. He and Long chatted about the restaurant's first week of business, which Anthony said was better than he expected, while Long took a turn holding 8-month-old baby Rocco Cafaro, decked out in the family uniform, a black Kind Burgers shirt.
"We are thrilled for Anthony and Yvette," Long told Patch, "because there is nothing more exciting to see than a dream come true. But I'm more happy for Sea Bright to have one more restaurant and one more reason to say, 'There's no place like Sea Bright.' "
"I can't believe we're opening," said 6-year-old Olivia Cafaro, who gave Patch a tour of the dining room as well as the low-down on the menu. Not a burger girl herself, Olivia gave high marks to the hot dogs.
Inside the dining area the decor is modern. Sleek design features black chairs and a big booth set against grey and red walls with rustic elements such as raw wood wainscoting and tables. This burger joint offers counter service and before noon the place was already catering to out-of-towners heading to the beach and delivery men grabbing an early lunch.
True to its name, Kind Burgers' main draw is its burger menu with Angus, grass-fed Kobe beef, lamb, turkey and portobello mushroom (which can be made vegan on request). For a $2 up charge, customers can add a gluten-free roll.
The restaurant also offers Angus hot dogs, organic turkey dogs and New York City dirty water dogs, and of course, french fries, which one young diner declared "five-star" while eating an entire order of the krinkles herself.
The Cafaros pursued the gluten-free angle after experiencing the difficulty of finding restaurant options for their own family after 5-year-old daughter Toni was diagnosed with the allergy.
You can read more about the Cafaro family's Kind Burgers story.