Antique Charm at Nagle's Apothecary Cafe

An old-time pharmacy turned soda fountain parlor turned restaurant and ice cream parlor offers an eclectic dining experience

Nagles, located in historic Ocean Grove, offers great food and amazing character at a low price.

The walls are adorned with the old-fashioned pharmaceutical instruments that were typically used in the very same building in its previous life as a pharmacy. The dining tables consist of local newspaper clippings of the early 1900s, complete with photos of what local towns looked like in the days of old.

The original counter, once used as a soda pop fountain, is still operational as a counter-seating alternative to tables.

Everywhere you look, there is something that is historic that will take your mind back to before you were born. Or at least before I was. The dining room is a decent size but not large by any means. The tables are set somewhat close to each other but still far enough away that you won't have to whisper your conversations. In the large front window, they offer a few higher tables for those whom like to look out onto Main Street during their meal. During warmer months, Nagles also offers limited outside seating.

They do not offer reservations. In the summer getting a seat can prove difficult. You'll often have to wait a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes and for good reason too. They offer great food in extremely large portions at very reasonable prices.  

Most recently, my party consisted of myself, my girlfriend and three friends.  Our cumulative order consisted of: two broccoli and cheddar omelets, pancakes, two black and white milkshakes, three sides of bacon, a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich and four sides of toast. 

Three out of five of our party had never eaten there before. Aside from being taken back by the decor, they were floored at the sheer size of the portions.

The sides of bacon were entire plates with grapefruit sized balls of bacon. The omelets took up almost three quarters of the plate. Where most places give you just the glass with your milkshake in it, they give you an over-sized glass filled to the brim as well as the metal mixing cup over half full as well. The pork roll, egg and cheese looked like it belonged on a an entire sub roll, not a kaiser roll, with all of the contents hanging out all over the place. It seemed as though a side of home fries came with everything. 

As for the taste, everything was great and cooked to all of our specifications. Bacon, extra crispy, toast not burnt, nothing was too hot or too cold and everything tasted fresh. The omelets weren't too cheesy but just cheesy enough. The milk shakes were really thick but not too thick that you couldn't drink them with a straw.  I did not taste the pork roll but judging by how quickly it was consumed, it had to be amazing. 

Where they do seem to fall short, however, is service. I have eaten there probably 15 times at this point. With the exception of two visits, things have taken much longer than expected, especially when it comes to getting the check, despite seeming overstaffed.  The hosts are usually not very friendly but are not outright rude. Staff members are sometimes sitting on a stool when guests walk in the door.

All in all, I recommend Nagles to anyone and everyone looking for a unique place to eat breakfast. You're guaranteed to leave with leftovers. 

susan taylor February 11, 2011 at 12:22 AM
nagles is not only great for breakfast, but really for any time of day or mealtime. their only deficit is with dessert. they only serve ice cream...but beyond that small detail their food is wonderful, the service and atmosphere warm and friendly. it's an easy place to be, that's part of their charm...there's no pretense or formality...go there and just relax, have fun with the staff and other diners....you'll love it and will come back often!!


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