Breezy Owner Paul Bailey is ready to open the new restaurant for the season.
Garrett hemmerich photo
By Garrett Hemmerich WEST MILFORD – The Breezy is putting on the finishing touches for the restaurant’s season opening, which kicks off Friday. “I’m determined to make this place iconic,” said owner Paul Bailey. “It should be. It’s got the view. It’s got the history. It’s got the structure” Bailey, along with family members Aileen and Morgan, took over what was then The Breezy Point Inn last July. The family initially opened their new restaurant as Tortuga before deciding to shut down for a few months to do some much-needed renovations. It was during that time that the Baileys realized that locals and longtime customers still referred to the restaurant as its shortened moniker, so they renamed it The Breezy. While the name is similar to the original, much else has changed, including an updated menu that specializes in seafood-American cuisine. Some of the German food staples of the previous menu, however, did make it over to the new one. “People come from like Staten Island expecting to get German food when they get here,” said Bailey. The Baileys also converted the bar area into what they’re referring to as the “gallery,” which will now feature original artwork by Carla Hicks as well as a piano. Bailey himself, along with other pianists, will play live on certain nights and weekends. Some of the other changes the Baileys made include the addition of a salad bar as well as a Jersey Shore-style sub shop, inspired by Paul’s childhood in Atlantic City. “The culture down there is the sub shop thing,” Bailey said. “On Arctic Avenue is a place called The White House. It’s world famous.” When Bailey moved up north, however, he found that the subs just didn’t taste the same. “It’s just doesn’t have the same combination of textures and flavors and crispness,” Bailey said. So, he decided to call the baker supplying the famous Atlantic City sub shop to ask about getting his bread directly from the source, which he did. The sub shop will function as a “take out” service catering to boaters as the subs are made to travel. Adults of legal drinking age will also be able to purchase beer and cider to go. “All you’ve got to do is pull up, run up to (the deck) and then we can hand you your stuff and you can go back and have your fun,” said Bailey. Bailey believes the sub shop will also be perfect for customers who just want to come in, grab some food, and eat at home. The motel rooms have also been renovated, but possibly the biggest change the new owners have made is the general brightening of the space, which now makes the scenic view of the lake the focal point. As far as why these and other changes were needed, according to Bailey, it was all about creating an environment that he would love and appreciate himself. “We’re sitting here with new tabletops in a brightly lit, brightly finished room and it’s cleaner than clean because I’d eat here,” Bailey said. “I won’t accept a place that I wouldn’t eat in, so welcome to my home.” That level of dedication is evident not just in the larger changes to the space, but also in the little details, such as the enlarged text on the menus and the extra comfortable chair by the entrance to give people a place to relax. “I’m here just to be of service to my community and the community of the lake, and the people that want to come here and hang out,” Bailey said. Between the spectacular views, the piano bar, the sub shop, and the motel, the combination truly does make for a unique experience. “My goal in life is to just have a place that you just don’t want to leave,” said Bailey. The Breezy’s season opening kicks off this Friday, April 12, and its annual Shrimpfest is running through the entire month.