Talula's - Asbury Park, NJ
When it comes to the art of combining expertly crafted sourdough pizzas with beautifully crafted beer, it is no secret within the Central Jersey beer community that Talula's is the place to go. Open since late 2014, Talula's wasted no time in establishing itself as a premier place to eat and drink in Asbury Park. Blending in perfectly with the culinary community within this booming town, it also sought to climb to the top of this restaurant sector by producing fresh, creative, and delicious food that brings people from all walks of life together for a unique dining experience.
If you're a craft beer drinker looking for a safe haven in Asbury Park to grab a pizza, Talula's is the place to go. If you're a culinary connoisseur looking to dabble in some house wine or some beers on taps that aren't available in much of the area, Talula's is the place to go. After many visits over the course of their 18+ period of existence, it's almost mind-blowing to find out that this successful restaurant is the product of owners who come with backgrounds in mechanical engineering and business marketing. And yet, here is Talula's, growing with notoriety within the gastronomic industry and the craft beer forums.
I can't remember the last time I walked into Talula's and I didn't see people waiting to be seated. You have been warned, it's always crowded. Fortunately, I usually can find a spot at the bar area and am easily served. The place is pretty small as far as tables are concerned, so you might want to plan in advance for that. Still, the ambiance is nice with a communal feeling to it which is sure to inspire a desire to delve into the culinary world along with a nice, cold craft beer.
I wish I could recommend specific beers from Talula's, but the taps and cans/bottles rotate so often that it's hard to do so. They have had local breweries on tap such as Carton, Kane, Dark City, and Cape May while also having other options like Victory, Evil Twin, and Against the Grain. This is one of the few places you'll find some rare cans and bottles to try that you may not have had before. Pictured above is the Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewing Co. It's a delicious IPA with a malt backbone that is more to the stylings of the West Coast IPA. In the past I've had offerings like Carton Brewing's SS CREAM, Maine Beer Co's MO, Against the Grain's Citra Ass Down. If you are deep into craft beer, you will never be disappointed with anything on tap here at Talula's.
If you are here for brunch and are looking for something a little lighter, the organic yogurt with house-made granola is a great, sweet treat for you. If they have a porter/stout, go all out and pair it with this. If you're wondering, this isn't a small bowl either, it's a regular sized bowl so there is quite the nice portion of this.
For brunch, they also do "sammies" with eggs and cheese on focaccia bread. Some of us cool people decide to throw some bacon in there just for kicks because who doesn't like some bacon on a Sunday Funday late morning? Make no mistake, this sandwich is pretty sizable and hits the spot for those Sunday morning blues. Pair this with anything, it's fantastic.
Ah yes, the pizzas. My absolute favorite part of Talula's are the variety of sourdough pizzas within their menu. They have a regular menu set of pizzas and a brunch set of pizzas. If you're a wine drinker, go ahead and pair it with some house wine. If you're a beer drinker and have your sights set on the New Yorker, just grab a nice session IPA or a regular pale ale. I paired this with a Stillwater Mono which is an American Pale Lager style beer. The New Yorker is a really superior combination of fresh and aged mozzarella along with aged provolone and their awesome tomato sauce.
If there is a pizza I'd order again and again and again, it is The Beekeeper's Lament. This pizza is a favorite and rightfully so. The hot calabrian soppressata is done to perfection. The tomato sauce is excellent. The house mozzarella and ricotta are on point every single time. It doesn't hurt that the honey drizzled on the pizza blends in spectacularly with the soppressata. Want to take this experience to the next level? Have a hoppy IPA that'll further elevate your taste buds and accentuate the spicy and sweetness of one of the best pizzas in all of Monmouth County. Yes, I said it and I have no problem in saying so - The Beekeeper's Lament is even known by name within the craft beer community, it's the one pizza I've seen recited over and over. I'd recommend you an exact beer to have with this, but as previously mentioned, they change the offerings so constantly, that it's hard to do so. Either way, the beer menu is descriptive or just ask your server.
Fair warning #2 - If you are going to go, call ahead. There have been a few times that I and people I know have gone to Talula's and either half of it has been taken up by a bridal or baby shower or a private event. Even sitting at the bar isn't guaranteed since they have about 10 bar stools, so just make sure you know what the situation is before you decide to head on over. But if the light is green and availability is good, you are in for a treat.
Asbury Park has seen its fair share of restaurants help evolve the town even further and Talula's is absolutely one of them. The menu is eclectic, creative, and delectable. I've droned on endlessly about the pizzas but there are plenty of options to choose from. Just try the meatballs as an appetizer to share with someone else. The chocolate cake with its coconut coffee ice cream have never disappointed.
Still, the sticking point for myself and any other aspiring craft beer drinker looking for a great restaurant to further indulge their habit of food and drink should go no further than Talula's in Asbury Park. It doesn't matter if you stroll on up to the bar, sit at one of the communal style tables, or grab a seat outside - the dining and drinking experience are sure to excite.