You are likely aware of the JBJ Soul Kitchen because of the name attached to it: Jon Bon Jovi. The original location is in Red Bank and in the last several months a second one has opened on Hooper Avenue in the Silverton section of Toms River.

I am aware of it because my wife is one of the many (and I do mean many) volunteers who staff the non-profit community restaurant. However yesterday was the first time I actually dined there during a special luncheon for community leaders hosted by OceanFirst Bank and its President/CEO Chris Maher.

First let me fill you in on some of the details. The Soul Kitchen serves paying customers as well as those who are in-need. It is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. and also serves a Sunday Brunch from 11:30 a.m. -2 p.m. Paying customers are asked to “pay it forward” with a $20 donation for their meal and those in-need are always provided a nutritious, hot meal at no cost although they are asked to volunteer in some capacity.

To clear up an obvious misconception, it is not just for homeless people although they are very much welcome. Especially in Ocean County there are many working families in need and the Soul Kitchen wants you to encourage them to come with their family for dinner.

The restaurant itself is charming with an open kitchen and warm atmosphere. As for the food, well it’s very good and I enjoyed Autumn Squash Soup along with a Bistro Burger…I passed on the Chocolate Mocha Mousse but it l heard it was delicious. The menu changes daily and provides several choices.

The Soul Kitchen is just one aspect of the B.E.A.T. Center and I’ll tell you in more on that next week. For more on the restaurant visit

On an unrelated note congratulations to the Saint Peter School in Point Pleasant Beach which was one of only ten schools in New Jersey named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

The K-8 school is the oldest catholic school in Ocean County and Principal Tracy Kobrin, former principal Kathleen Berlino and kindergarten teacher Eileen Baglivio will represent the school at an awards presentation in Washington DC in early November. Quite an honor for all involved.