Menz Restaurant & Bar – Rio Grande, New Jersey - Gastro Obscura

From the outside, Menz appears to be a restaurant that always seems to be busy on any given summer evening, which is surprising given its out-of-the way location. If you can find a parking spot in the gravel lot, watch out for what appears to be a shipwreck, or perhaps just a sailboat that seems to have mysteriously washed ashore many moons ago.

While Menz does take dinner reservations, there is so much to see that it almost seems like a shame to show up on time for your meal. In that case, one would walk under the large swan planters, through a set of doors, and might miss all that the exterior and interior waiting area has to offer.

If you do find yourself on the waitlist, a stroll outside the building is strongly recommended. On the side of the exterior, there is what may be thought of as a sculpture garden, but it’s a far cry away from what comes to mind in any traditional sense. While the head of a great white shark is notable, the real showstopper is the large statue of a one-legged man sitting on a chair atop the HVAC system (or some other major electrical appliance). He’s wearing red suspenders, smoking a giant cigar, and has lollipops in his pocket. This is a tribute to the original proprietor, the late Franklin Menz. Even though he lost his leg to diabetes, Menz still enjoyed sitting outside the restaurant, where he’d greet guests and give out lollipops.

On the inside, there is taxidermy as far as the eye can see, including a two-headed calf. For some, one visit is more than enough to get the gist of the place. For others, another visit is the only way to know what delights await in the incredible collection that the Menz family has curated over the years.

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