Station No. 117 Restaurant Modernizes a Maritime Feel

By MARIA SCANDALE | May 01, 2019
Courtesy of: Lomer & Meggitt Architects A rendering of the new Station No. 117 Tavern and Garden in Beach Haven replicates a late 19th century lifesaving station.

Beach Haven — All projects start with a vision, and Station No. 117 Tavern and Garden came through clearly to both its owners and the architect.

The sister restaurant to Buckalew’s Restaurant & Tavern in Beach Haven will feature classic coastal cuisine. The setting has stylized designs on an historic lifesaving station. The downtown building is connected to the neighboring Buckalew’s by a covered porch and a garden courtyard with a small outdoor bar.

Opening date for the public is May 9.

To managing partner Jay Cranmer, the project is “the most incredible building I’ve ever been part of” in a career of real estate development, mostly in the Philadelphia area. Partner and general manager is Allan Menegus, a culinary school graduate who for more than 30 years has driven Buckalew’s century-old tradition into the modern era with an added focus on sustainable ingredients and locally procured seafood and produce.

A pre-opening tour of the facility showed the expert craftsmanship of Tallent Construction Inc., the same general contractor of the renovation/expansion of Buckalew’s in 1996. Specialists were involved in outfitting Station No. 117’s workings with a state-of-the-art kitchen, zoned sound system, elaborate beer cooling and tap mechanisms.

The restaurant’s’conception is a story in itself, but first let’s distinguish the menu from the seafood, steaks, chops and comfort food served in the three dining rooms at Buckalew’s next door.

“Our thought was to go a little more upscale, and less tavern-pub food here,” Menegus said.

Brunch with the classics at Station No. 117 will feature eggs Benedict, lobster rolls, bagels and lox, crepes and much more. “Small plates and dinner classics” will include crab cakes, oysters, clams, chowders, salads, grilled fresh fish, prime rib eye and cioppino.

Executive chef Shelby Cadmus gave a preview of the menu’s focus.

“The Station 117 menu has been an evolution of multiple interpretations of classic coastal cuisine,” Cadmus described. “The end result fuses together a lot of classic old-school dishes and technique with the seafood our East Coast has come to know and love,” she said.

“The New England Bucatini is one of the first dishes that helped set the tone for my inspiration behind the menu. Utilizing Pete McCarthy’s local clams, Jones’ dry-aged bacon, and Hunter’s Farm fresh roasted corn, the chowder-inspired pasta is truly filled with love,” Cadmus offered. “I couldn’t allow New England and Manhattan to have all the glory, so I’m very excited to introduce the pork roll-inspired New Jersey chowder, because Jersey deserves a chowder to call our own.

“The rest of the menu is very ingredient-driven, delicately paying respect to our fresh seafood, produce and each flavor on the plate,” Cadmus said. Menegus’ brother, Todd, has rejoined the Buckalew’s family to head up the kitchen at Station 117.

Cranmer was born and grew up in Beach Haven, which brings his pride in its newest built-from-the-ground restaurant even closer to heart. (Interestingly, Cranmer can trace his ancestry directly to Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Henry VIII.)

The story of the restaurant’s birth sounds as if the building had been there in concept before it came into being by joint effort.

Cranmer had been thinking for the past four or five years about expanding to the neighboring block. One day, Beach Haven Mayor Nancy Taggert Davis furthered the thought with what became a key word: “garden.” As it resulted, 125 of the restaurant’s total 250 seats are outside, either on the covered porch or in the patio garden/bar area.

Cranmer sketched out some ideas and took them to architect Lara Lomer of Lomer & Meggitt Architects, Surf City. She advanced his and Allan’s thought of something maritime, a design that looked like the Jersey seashore, and “she suggested a lifesaving station,” Cranmer said.

“It’s incredible, it’s creative,” he said, praising the design. Roof gable windows add light to the vintage-style panes by the tables in the bar dining room, yet the bar itself is embracingly cozy. The beams are handcrafted in place. Sliding barn-style doors open or close to a separate dining room topped by a soaring cupola.

For a year, the restaurant’s makers were as linked as the ingredients to a recipe.

“Every one of us was thinking about some little detail all the time,” said Cranmer. “James Tallent said to me, ‘I wake up at 3 in the morning thinking about things.’ I said, ‘James, Allan and I do, also.’ And Lara stayed involved all the way to the end.”

Today’s state-of-the-art kitchen is a technological wonder. Appliances are “the latest and best you can buy” and are “designed to work more efficiently with less people,” Menegus remarked.

As a finishing touch, fine art framer Jonathan Law was scheduled to install pictures of lifesaving station and rescue operations, chosen with the help of Deb Whitcraft of the New Jersey Maritime Museum in Beach Haven.

“It has been wonderful working with Jay, Allan and everyone involved in this unique project and I can’t wait for the doors to open,” summed up Lomer.

The restaurant, at 117 North Bay Ave., can be reached by phone at 609-492-0117 and online at

— Maria Scandale






























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