Category Archives: Jennifer L. Grazioso

Ryan’s Servicenter Celebrates 50 Years!

Who remembers Ryan and Son on Route 9, Lanoka Harbor, NJ?  I sure do…my mom and dad would get gas there when I just a child.

Jack Ryan, owner, started Ryan and Son in June 1967, which he successfully ran until 1995.  The original property, located on Route 9, in Lanoka Harbor was then sold in 1995. Jack’s son, Jeff and wife, Judy took over Ryan and Son, renaming it Ryan’s Servicenter located next to Lacey Collision/McDonald’s from 1995 to 2005.  In 2005, Ryan’s Servicenter moved to its current location at 603 US 9, Lanoka Harbor. Jack Ryan is still involved in Ryan’s Servicenter to this day.  Continue reading Ryan’s Servicenter Celebrates 50 Years!

Manafirken Brewing Company Coming Soon to Manahawkin!

By Jennifer L. Grazioso

Breweries have been popping up along the Jersey Shore for some time now.

Soon the Jersey Shore will be welcoming a new brewery  in Manahawkin, ManaFirken Brewing Company. You may need a map, (I exaggerate a bit), it’s located at 450 East Bay Avenue in an unassuming warehouse.  From the outside it could be anything, a storage facility, an empty warehouse or full of treasures. Continue reading Manafirken Brewing Company Coming Soon to Manahawkin!

Happy Birthday Ivy Cottage Gifts!

Written by Jennifer L. Grazioso

Guess who’s two?  Ivy Cottage Gifts is celebrating its second year in Forked River on February 12, 2017.  They want to share this wonderful celebration with you during their birthday week, February 12-18, 2017.  So, come on in and wish Ivy Cottage a ‘Happy Birthday’ and get a free gift with purchase. Plus, check out their Facebook posts sharing sales during the whole month of February. Continue reading Happy Birthday Ivy Cottage Gifts!

Business Feature: Diana’s Hallmark, Lacey Township, NJ

By Jennifer L. Grazioso

Did you know that Diana’s Hallmark in Lacey isn’t a franchise?  It is family owned and operated by husband and wife, Dave and Diane Longmuir, who also own two other Hallmark stores in Hamilton, New Jersey a suburb of Trenton.

Diana’s Hallmark in Lanoka Harbor celebrated their 20th year in the Lacey Mall this October.  Dave and Diane express the importance of customer service in their store.  A matter of fact, the employees are known for taking the time to guide and read cards to long-time customers who need special help.

Diana’s Hallmark was rated in the Top 200 Stores in the United States by Hallmark.  They were recently voted Best Card & Gift Store by the Trentonian for their location in Hamilton.

While I have been to Diana’s Hallmark in Lacey before, it had been a while since I have been there.  I took the time to really walk around and check out the products offered.  I was extremely impressed with the variety of products and assortment of different price points.

Some of the items offered are:  Yankee Candle, Precious Moments, Stonewall Kitchen, Lenox, Mantra Bands, Elf on a Shelf, Wind & Fire Bracelets, Jim Shore, Willow Tree Angels and of course Hallmark Cards and Keepsake ornaments.

Some products you may not be aware that Diana’s Hallmark carries are:  Vera Bradley, Lolita Wine Glasses (each one is hand-painted and has a drink recipe on the bottom), Shore-related products, Life is Good (a T-Shirt company that gives 10% net profits to Kids in Need); Michel & Co (soap and candle company from England, a great hostess or teacher gift), Melissa and Doug (wooden and teaching toys and DIY projects); David Bradley and Asher Chocolates (each are family owned and operated chocolate companies).

Some unique gift options at Diana’s Hallmark: From the Heart is a bangle bracelet that allows you to personalize it with your high school logo like the paw print from Lacey or the eagle from Central; plus the price is only $14.99.  Turkey on the Table is a phenomenal product that teaches gratitude.  Each one comes with a book, turkey and feathers; you and your child/children write a note each day on a paper feather from now until Thanksgiving about what you are grateful for, increasing the turkey’s plumage each day.  This would be a great sentiment to share on Thanksgiving day or from year to year. “The proceeds from this product supports Feeding America,” said Diane.

In July of each year Hallmark starts introducing the Keepsake ornaments.  There are so many interesting ones to see and start collecting, like The Wizard of Oz, Peanuts, or even one for Big Bang Theory.  They have miniature ornaments for a small tree, great for a nursing home setting or kid’s bedrooms.

There are great benefits to joining the Hallmark Crown Rewards Program.  The customer is enrolled by the store sales associate for special promotions, coupons, and a birthday program (free gift and 20% off purchase).

Diana’s Hallmark offers free gift wrapping.  Also you can visit  to order your items and have them ready to be picked up in-store.

The next event at Diana’s Hallmark is their Holiday Open House on November 12 and 13. Come celebrate with them and save 30% on Select Hallmark Gift Collections.

Often when people see Hallmark, they automatically assume it is a franchise and therefore expensive.  These are two things Diana’s Hallmark is not.  You can get great gifts for any occasion at great price points.  So next time you need a gift for a co-worker or grandma, come over and shop.  You will not be disappointed.  Great customer service and free gift wrapping, how could you go wrong?

Diana’s Hallmark is located in Lacey Mall, Rt. 9, Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734; 609-693-0111.  Hours:  Monday to Saturday 10am to 8pm and Sunday 10 am to 5pm.

Party Place Cafe Celebrated One Year Anniversary

Party Place Cafe located in Forked River celebrated their one year anniversary this October. Gary, owner and long time resident of Lacey Township,  along with his daughter, saw a need for a business that provided a warm friendly atmosphere serving great food as well as the ability to hold parties and events. Continue reading Party Place Cafe Celebrated One Year Anniversary

Business Feature: Anthony’s Seafood Restaurant & Market

Written By:  Jennifer L. Grazioso

Anthony McCarthy has been in the fish wholesale, restaurant, and market industry since 1978, from working with his father at Anthony’s on Rt. 37 in Toms River, NJ to being proprietor of Anthony’s in Forked River, NJ today.

McCarthy started in Philly as a buyer for Neil Stein’s Striped Bass in the 90’s. Today he still owns and operates a wholesale fishing company that handles over 20 high-end restaurants in Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Washington DC;  restaurants including Buddakan, Rouge, Nectar and Fork.  Continue reading Business Feature: Anthony’s Seafood Restaurant & Market

Business Feature: Kostas Grill

Gus Stavrides, proprietor of Kostas Grill,  moved from Greece to the United States in 1981.  He started out in New York City in the construction business and later opened a store front with custom furniture.  In 1988 he moved the family to Baltimore, Maryland, where he continued to make custom furniture for 26 years.  He enjoyed the opportunity to create furniture for his customers and now delicious Greek food.

Gus’ wife Roni has been visiting the shore town of Tuckerton, since 1967.  Many memorable summers were spent enjoying the sun and surf.  Over the years their shore house had become the meeting point between the New York and Baltimore families; summers and some holidays were celebrated there.

Gus and Roni recently relocated and started their new chapter in Tuckerton and wanted to offer the community something new.  On February 2, 2016 they opened Kostas Grill for lunch and after 3 weeks they extended it to lunch and dinner.

Maria, daughter of Gus and Roni, who graduated with a Bachelor’s  degree in business administration and information systems has joined the team to assist her parents with their new endeavor. Their son, Gerry, is a sous chef in Baltimore, Maryland.  His wife, Rianna, a head chef,  is expecting their first baby, a boy; also the first grandchild.

“What would you recommend if someone never had Greek food before?”

Gus replied, “Avgolemono Chicken Soup (traditional egg and lemon broth, chicken and orzo); any of the salads; Lamb Shanks (lamb shank, orzo, light tomato sauce); Rack of Lamb (grilled New Zealand lamb, and  giant beans); Moussaka (layers of potato, eggplant, seasoned ground beef and béchamel); Spanakopita (spinach, feta cheese and phyllo).

“What are some of the top menu items that customers are coming back for again and again?”

Gus answered, “Gyro, Souvlaki, Burgers, and salads.”

The Gyro is probably the one menu item most have heard of or have tried.  It is a combination of lamb and beef with Greek spices cooked on a vertical rotisserie.  It is cut to order and placed in a pita with tomatoes, onions, feta, and tzatziki sauce (cucumber, fresh dill, garlic, and Greek yogurt).











Souvlaki, chicken or pork, is marinated and grilled with special spices.

Let me tell you a little about the burgers.  They offer three different kinds:  Greek American Burger is an 8 oz. short rib and chuck blend on a brioche bun, stacked with gyro, fries and feta cheese with all the fixings; Kostas Lamb Burger is a freshly ground (every morning) with Greek spices and spicy feta spread on a Brioche Bun; and the Saganaki Burger is a short rib and chuck blend with grilled eggplant and Kefalograviera (a sharp provolone-like cheese) served on a Brioche Bun.  Okay my mouth is watering….which one sounds delicious to you?  I will try the Greek American!

Kostas Grill offers 5 different salads:  Greek is a chopped iceberg, tomato, cucumber, peppers, red onion, pepperoni, kalamata olive, and feta with a house vinaigrette; Athens is a baby spinach, cucumber, tomato, chick peas, and feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon; Kostas is a shredded romaine, scallion, kalamata olive, feta cheese, lemon-dill dressing; Super Greek is kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, radicchio, Napa cabbage, golden raisins, kalamata olives, feta cheese and house vinaigrette; and Beet Salad is honey roasted beets, baby kale, manouri cheese, balsamic vinegar.


Gus uses only the best ingredients:  The extra virgin olive oil is rated #4 in the world, Iliada. The oregano is from Greece, as well as the kalamata olives as well as all the cheeses.  He can’t wait for the Jersey tomatoes.  They will be delicious in the Athenian Shrimp dish (sautéed shrimp with garlic, onions, parsley, tomato and feta served over orzo).

He wants his customers  to experience Greek food as he did as a child.  “Local, fresh and seasonal,” Gus shared.

What item surprised you that customers ordered that you thought they wouldn’t?

“My wife was hesitant to put the octopus on the menu however it is sold out every day. As a matter of fact, a gentleman came in and ordered it and returned with his wife to have her try it. Our customers mention how perfectly cooked it is and how much they enjoyed it as they leave the restaurant.  Many customers also say “We’ll be back!”


“Do you offer items for vegetarians?”

“Yes, absolutely. Any of the salads are vegetarian.  “Also, our fresh spinach mac ‘n’ cheese, the veggie pita, tzatziki, spanakopita and the saganaki (flaming cheese with pita) are great vegetarian choices.”

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert!  The Baklava is divine!  You can have it plain, in a sundae or with olive oil and sea salt ice cream.  Ask for the Greek coffee it is so good.


I had a very nice time sitting down with Gus discussing how he got to this point and his goals for the restaurant.  He is a genuine gentleman.  He truly wants the customer to enjoy their experience at the restaurant.

So, if you don’t know what’s for dinner…then the answer is Kostas Grill in Tuckerton.

They will offer catering soon.  Watch for details on their website.


Kostas Grill is open Tuesday thru Saturday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 7:00pm; closed Monday.  They are located at 161 E. Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087.




Preserve your History ~ Start Writing your Story today!

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media announces the release of two special titles. This collection will bring new ideas and prompts for you to write and preserve your personal history.  Each book is filled with questions to help you remember the details of your life. Take the time to invest in your legacy, pick up your copies today!

Continue reading Preserve your History ~ Start Writing your Story today!