Neighbors came, cameras in hand, Friday to say goodbye to the Berkeley Restaurant and Fish Market, which shut down in September after 77 years of serving fresh seafood to the Jersey Shore area.
The Berk, as locals called it, opened in 1937 and later expanded to the two-story building that sat near the gate to Island Beach State Park ever since in the South Seaside Park section of Berkeley Township. A bar was added in the 1990s, solidifying the restaurant’s status of an iconic Shore establishment where dates, laughs and plenty of fresh seafood and drinks were served day and night.
The restaurant was torn down Friday. By 2 p.m., a wrecking crew had all four walls down and the entire place – which survived Superstorm Sandy – had been reduced to rubble.
Nick and Carol Barulic, the restaurant’s owners, said they decided to close The Berk because they were retiring. In an announcement made on Facebook in August, the couple said it was a “bittersweet” decision for them to make after running the restaurant for 40 years.
“We thank everyone in our past; our friends, our family; our employees past and present and all our patrons over the years,” they said.
As for the demolition, “So many memories, lives, and loves will disappear in a matter of hours,” the owners said earlier this week, in another social media post. “So many memories, lives, and loves will disappear in a matter of hours.”
The property on which the restaurant was built has been sold to the state in order to expand Island Beach State Park.