The wait is over. Charlie’s of Lincroft has opened its doors with two Brookdale Community College alumni serving in leadership positions. Chef Josh Sauer is the executive chef, and Alison Clark is the sous chef.

“We couldn’t be prouder to have our graduates excel in their careers and serving in these executive roles,” said Michelle Zuppe, Professor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Brookdale. “It is going to be exciting for our Brookdale community to visit and enjoy Charlie’s of Lincroft right down the street from our campus.”

male with short brown hair wearing an apron and white chef jacket
Chef Josh Sauer

Chef Josh Sauer, formerly executive chef of Avenue Le Club in Long Branch, became passionate about cooking at an early age. His grandparents are German and Polish. “They were always making fresh pierogies, kielbasa, and pies,” he said. Those young experiences prompted him to enroll in the Brookdale Culinary Program and stage at the Grenville Hotel in Bay Head, where he developed patisserie skills.

After graduating in 2004, Chef Sauer worked at another shore-area landmark, Doris & Ed’s. Then, he worked at the acclaimed Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton, NJ. Again, he was invigorated to work at a place that prides itself on made-from-scratch menu items and focused attention to detail.

female chef in the kitchen
Sous Chef Alison Clark

Alison Clark, formerly sous chef at Avenue Le Club, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature from Montclair State University. Then in 2016, Clark attended Brookdale Community College to obtain an Associate of Arts in Culinary and a Pastry Arts Certification. She graduated with honors in 2018.

“We are proud of Alison’s continued advancement in her career,” said Chef Chad Schoonveld, Instructor of Culinary Arts at Brookdale. “Serving as sous chef is a fantastic accomplishment.”

The new restaurant site has continuously housed an eating or lodging establishment since 1697. The Hess family, owners of the restaurant and the property, kept the historical perspective with the architectural design inside and out. In addition, the upscale tavern-like feel of the restaurant will carry over to the menu.

The new restaurant has a smoker and a charbroiler, with steak and poultry on the menu, in addition to brick oven pizza and vegetarian items.

Chef Sauer enjoys preparing homestyle and comfort-style food (but with a twist). So, you can be sure there will be something for everyone on the menu.

Charlie’s of Lincroft has seats for up to 264 people. It will feature two rooms for private events, a wine room, and a great room that can accommodate about 70 people for regular dining. In addition, a dining room and a barroom will also be downstairs.

The restaurant will open in phases. It is now open for dinner, soon for lunch, and eventually events.

The Hesse family also owns Charlie’s of Bay Head, where they are tied to the community and plan to do the same in Lincroft by supporting the schools and local organizations.

For more information about Brookdale’s Culinary Program, please visit