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Funnel Cakes, Cheese Balls, Lemonade.

Boardwalk Fried Delicacies

Field review by the editors.

Seaside Heights, New Jersey

This is an aggregate tourist attraction of many spunky little businesses, here long before reality TV show Jersey Shore exploited the area's unique vibe. Along the Seaside Heights boardwalk, trashed by 2012's Superstorm Sandy, then torched by 2013's boardwalk fire, is the scariest ghetto of snack stands, concession booths and piercing/tattoo parlors you'll ever see. Scary, at least, for out-of-towners; for native Jerseyans and Garden State ex-pats, it's strangely comforting, like eating a deep fried Twinkie.

Everything in the world.

Steaks Unlimited Pirate and Mermaid.

A stroll down the boardwalk between Sherman Ave. and Stockton Ave. spans the commerce strip connecting the two storm-destroyed piers. The amusement piers and larger rides are taking longer to be restored (the half-submerged roller coaster next to the Casino Pier was removed in Spring 2013), but by summer the squirt-a-clown booths and Jersey Girl glitzware boutiques were in full operation from what we observed.

The variety of fried food available is remarkable -- it seems you can get almost anything dropped into a boiling oil vat. Cheese Balls, Fried Pickles, Fried Oreos... or go heart-healthy with a non-fried Reese's Cups and banana sandwich.

We suspect some of these must be offered simply for the comedy.

"No fried Twinkie for me, today I'm sticking with the Italian hot dog and sausage on a waffle."

Games are in force along the boardwalk, with brash Jersey barkers luring strollers to try their luck. And the prizes for big winners may even be... food! Or at least candy, as we spotted at one concession of chocolate and gummy goodness, similar to the fabled Wheel of Food, a late 20th century grocery-money alternative in Keansburg -- another Jersey Shore town flattened by Sandy.

Evolve or Die.

One block off the boardwalk is Steaks Unlimited, where signs clear up any confusion about where you'll find the "Home of the Original Cheese Balls as seen on MTV and Chelsea Lately." In the sit-down dining area, the cartoon murals of swashbuckling steaks and hook-handed pizza slices were clearly contrived for TV fan consumption, but they're still funny.

September, 2013.: Steaks Unlimited still stands, but all of the boardwalk businesses in this report were destroyed in a multi-block fire on September 12, 2013. This can't-keep-us-down community will rebuild; it wouldn't be the Jersey Shore without deep fried Twinkies.

Boardwalk Fried Delicacies

Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ
The half-mile stretch of oceanfront boardwalk between Sherman Ave. and Stockton Ave.
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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