If you are a true foodie and the name Stephen Vermilyea sounds familiar, it should. Chef Vermilyea helped bring the flavor to The Speakeatery, Loteria, Triumph Brewing Company and other locations known for its signature authentic offerings. He is now bringing that vision to the Asbury Park Boardwalk as the new Chef for The Anchor’s Bend and Asbury Oyster Bar, both located in the iconic Asbury Park Convention Hall.
Chef Stephen Vermilyea moved back to Asbury Park in 2013 after a 5-year stint in Virginia where he learned southern cooking with a focus on comfort and flavor. He returned after Super Storm Sandy. What made him come back was a sense of community and to also help his cousin, who owns the much loved Speakeatery on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, to whom he attributes his love of ferocious flavors.
Stephen was part of the construction and launch of Johnny Mack’s, was with Loteria and then joined Triumph Brewing Company in Red Bank. He speaks with great gratitude to each and learned from each different aspects which he brings to making his dishes so crave-worthy. From integrating farm-to-table, cultural influences and flavor profiles, and use of different ingredients, Chef Vermilyea serves up truly “exciting” food.
Chef Vermilyea’s approach is definitely not “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to creating signature offerings for a location. For example, Stephen has been spending time in the Asbury Park Library as of late, researching dishes served in the area during the 1920s and 1930s and looking to add his own modern twist, as part of The Anchor’s Bend’s repertoire. The focus at The Anchor’s Bend for this time of year is warm, hardy comfort food with full flavors as well as vegan options. Right next-door, Asbury Oyster Bar, also led by Chef Vermilyea, will feature locally sourced – catches of the day, focusing on the seasonal and local.
Stephen’s love of the Convention Hall building, as well as the respect for James Douglas, Manager of The Anchor’s Bend, Asbury Oyster Bar and Beach Bar, led him to join the waterfront entities. James Douglas wanted someone with passion and knew Stephen was known for creativity and amazing food and so, together, they are creating must have dishes in an incomparable location.