Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Jersey

While mapping out our vacation this year, when I suggested starting in Savannah, GA and then driving up the coast, my husband said he wanted to make it to New Jersey to visit a hamburger joint.
"Why not?" I thought, so I added it to the list of possible attractions.

We had a full day of driving from Wildwood, NJ where we stayed at the wonderfully renovated yet vintage Caribbean Motel.
Upon checking in, which was done by hand not computer, we were given a real key on a vintage style key ring.

This 1957 motel's vibe was great from the mod rounded platform jutting out of the building, which doubled as a ramp to access the funky cabana room; authentic shuffleboard painted on the concrete; a swanky pool that made me feel like I needed to don some big round sunglasses and a 1950's-era swimsuit; and our room, complete with mod table lamps, palm tree cutouts over the colorful seersucker striped bedspreads and vintage green bathroom fixtures.
We really enjoyed the motel as well as Wildwood and already have vowed to return.

After breakfast in at Jimbo's in Wildwood, where I had a great breakfast wrap, we had a short gambling stint in Atlantic City stopped at several lighthouses, then rolled in to Hackensack in the evening and parked behind the tiny White Manna diner, a Paramount Diner manufactured in the late 1930s.
There were a handful of occupied seats inside the diner, which has been there since 1946, but we were able to close the door behind us after we got in line.
There appeared to be just three or four people ahead of us who needed to order.
As one of the patrons got his turn, he placed his order for 40, yes, 40, cheeseburgers. I wondered if all hope was lost for us on our burger quest, but peering around the people to the grill, it looked like things were well under control.

The two men hard at work behind the counter had their tasks. One took orders for drinks and fries, the other took the burger orders and seemed to be able to keep them straight (cheese, no cheese, onions, no onions, how many and who) with ease, while lining every available inch of grill space with burgers.

After a five or ten minutes we were able to get a couple of stools at the counter where we had a better view. We placed our order for fries and drinks and waited to order our burgers, which are smaller than a typical hamburger, sliders almost.
After ordering our burgers it didn't take very long for them to arrive. While we enjoyed our meal, the two restaurant workers swapped jobs, so the previous fries and drink guy was then slapping burgers on the grill with honed skill.
White Manna was a great stop to add to our itinerary, as much for the atmosphere and history as for the burgers.

Caribbean Motel
5600 Ocean Avenue
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260

White Manna
358 River Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601

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