Despite trying times for the New Jersey dining scene in 2020, Edgewater welcomed its new waterfront restaurant, The Yacht Club late last month. Though the name may exude a sense of exclusivity, you don’t have to be a member to make a reservation.
Located on the Pier of the Edgewater Commons Shopping Center, this lighthouse-shaped restaurant boasts great views of the Hudson River and has the perfect combination of surf and turf dishes. Plus, of course, boozy crafted cocktails to go along with it. The best part is that unlike other seafood restaurants facing the changing seasons, there’s no expiration on when you can enjoy The Yacht Club because it’s open year-round.
In classic yacht club fashion, you feel as if you were transported to a resort the moment you walk in. The decor features an upscale, nautical theme with an expansive marble bar at the center. Though the bar is the restaurant’s focal point, the space offers full panoramic views of the Upper West Side of Manhattan with its floor-to-ceiling windows. (A fun fact about this restaurant is that all the furniture is imported from Greece so imagine yourself there in Athens or Mykonos as you sit there.)
Now let’s get to the menu and drinks, shall we?
Why I Enjoyed The Yacht Club in NJ
As a Connecticut native, it always makes me happy to see restaurants around New Jersey offer Lobster Rolls done the right way—and The Yacht Club did it. They offer two options of Maine and Connecticut Lobster Rolls that are super packed with lobster meat at such an incredible price. They also offer other fresh seafood favorites. These include dishes such as Maryland Crab Cakes, Fish and Chips, Popcorn Shrimp, Lobster Claw BLT, oysters and more.
Another reason why I enjoyed this place is that even though they have more seafood options, they don’t neglect their other dishes. The Skirt Steak was seasoned to perfection and their serving did not disappoint again. Other non-seafood options include a Grass-Fed Beef Burger, a variety of tacos and more. And if you’re a sushi lover, stay tuned because hand-rolled sushi is coming soon!
When it comes to drinks, the Yacht Club thought very carefully to create the perfect drink menu to go with their restaurant theme.
They have their own section of flavored Martinis which channel island-tropical vibes that I’ve never seen before! The Bikini Martini contains coconut rum, grenadine, organic Prairie Vodka, Pineapple Juice, topped with Maraschino Cherries; the Upside-Down Pineapple Cake Martini is made with Stoli Vanilla Vodka, pineapple juice and grenadine; the Lavender Gin Martini composes of Bombay Gin, lavender simple syrup, dry Vermouth DashOrange bitters and sprig of Lavender plus more!
If you’re a huge fanatic for summer cocktails then you’re in luck all year round! Try out the twists they put on these classic drinks: the Watermelon Mojito is made with real watermelon, Cruzan Light Rum, fresh lime and mint leaves, the Grapefruit Botanical Spritz contains Ketel One Grapefruit Juice, Aperol Liqueur and is topped with club soda; the Golden Grand Margarita consists of Jose Cuervo Tequila and Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur with lemon and lime juices and more like their own take on the classic Sangria. Of course, they offer beer, wine, mocktails and more.
The man behind the scenes is Executive Chef Gregory Zapantis. Zapantis is best known for elevating Greek cuisine into gastronomical art at dining establishments such as Molos in Weehawken, NJ where he also manages the kitchen. From venturing into the Manhattan culinary world, he holds a long line of distinctions and awards but the one that means the most to him is his induction by the Hellenic Chef’s Club, which is the only club founded in Greece that strives to support Hellenic cuisine around the globe. He was also named the first culinary ambassador of Greece in North America which proved himself as one of the leading chefs of his home country.
The journey to the opening of The Yacht Club hit some detours along the way, of course, due to the chain of events of this year with COVID-19. After nine months of renovations, it was scheduled to open in April 2020 just in time for summertime. However, in March they halted construction when quarantine orders were put into place, according to owner Eliana Stefanitsis. “We remained patient but anxious. We didn’t know when we could open the restaurant we had worked so hard to get ready,” Stefanitsis told me.
Completing the Restaurant & Outdoor Dining in NJ
Once outdoor dining was reintroduced mid-June, construction resumed and they were finally able to open in late August. Stefanitsis describes being terrified to open in such a climate but was reminded that any feelings of being scared are normal when opening a restaurant regardless of a pandemic or not, “There will always be ups and downs and obstacles that come unexpectedly. In the end, you are doing what you love!” Stefanitsis said.
Of course, the management of The Yacht Club is constantly training the staff. They are particularly focused on how to better serve patrons. And most importantly, how to make sure that guests feel as comfortable as possible. The warm weather is on its way out. But they are equipped to provide a safe and clean indoor dining experience, even outdoor seating at the bar is currently tented.
Restaurants and small businesses have opened (and reopened) as of late. But they are still struggling in this climate, especially newly opened restaurants like The Yacht Club. The beauty of this restaurant is that it isn’t seasonal despite it being located on the water. Overall it’s hard to come by a reasonably-price place that has flavorful dishes with generous portions. Especially one with waterfront views. Don’t be intimidated by the aesthetic or decor, The Yacht Club’s vibe is a welcoming one.
If you’re looking to have a special night out, trying to live in summer as much as possible. Just want to enjoy great food with great company? I invite you to visit. They are even open for lunch starting at 12 noon and close at 11 pm seven days a week!