As if the already popular restaurant in Belmar needed any more public support, several elected officials from state, county and local offices came out Thursday to promote the shore's newest hot spot and give their blessing at its official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The restaurant and tiki bar, which opened just last month in the Belmar Marina, has already enjoyed smashing success with hundreds, if not thousands, of nightly patrons.
And just as significant, Mayor Matt Doherty said, is that the between Belmar and Chefs International, Inc., the pier's operator, will bring $100,000 in additional revenue, increasing by 3 percent each year for 25 years, to the borough.
"[It's] a great source of revenue outside of property taxes so that we can keep property taxes in check," Doherty said.
On Thursday, Doherty, state Sen. Robert Singer, Assemblyman David Rible, county freeholders, and the restaurant's owner and operator Bob Cooper, president of Point Pleasant Beach-based Chefs International, Inc., were on-hand to officially mark the pier's grand opening.
The officials hailed April's deal that brought the 9th Ave. Pier to Belmar as a perfect example of private-public partnerships that are key to local economic development, tourism and job creation.
"Probably the three most important things in Monmouth County are shared services, economic development and tourism. Belmar has achieved all three of them (with the 9th Avenue Pier)," said Deputy Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone, who has spear-headed the county's "Grow Monmouth" initiative.
Singer and Rible presented Cooper with a special resolution, which commended Chefs International for creating more business and attracting tourism to the Jersey Shore.
"Think of what a win-win this is," Singer said. "First of all you're creating jobs... Creating 60 new jobs, that's fantastic. Second of all, think about our major industry of tourism, bringing people down to the shore. This is the kind of facility people want to come to and want to enjoy. And lastly, certainly the winners are the residents of Belmar."
Freeholders Arnone and John P. Curley, freeholder director, also presented a special proclamation to Chefs International.
"As a private businessman... I know the necessity of reaching out, reaching beyond government boundaries and doing all that we can in shared services and doing all we can in joint partnerships," Curley said.
Curley commended Belmar and Chefs International for being "at the forefront of making sure Monmouth County stays first and foremost the best place to live in New Jersey."
Cooper, a Wall resident who grew up in the area, said opening a restaurant in his own backyard — the company owns 10 others across the country, including several in Point Pleasant Beach — was a "dream come true."
Cooper credited strong support from Belmar's elected officials and professionals for making the project a reality.