Poised on what downtown Freehold's busiest junction, the borough's latest all-ages hot spot is an eye-catching corner hub that many will find familiar.
Zebu Forno, situated at the intersection Main and South streets, is an old-world Italian bakery and cafe with a modern twist -- and not the first of its kind at the Jersey Shore.
With locations in Red Bank and Morristown, Zebu has fortified a reputation for quality food served in an inviting, vibrant setting. Now, with its newest location in Freehold, the cafe in incorporating live music into its daily offerings.
According to owner Johnny Marc, the decision to spotlight live, local entertainment stemmed from his desire to supply the area with a "friendly, neighborhood meeting place'' that fans of any age could enjoy.
Bands who have played the venue include Last Days of Empire, Shakedown and the Riverwinds. There's never a cover, and shows are always all ages.
Even with these accoutrements, though, the cornerstone of Zebu's business, according to Marc, remains its freshly prepared food served with quality in mind.
"There are no fryers in here. If we can't bake it, we don't make it,'' Marc says.
In addition to its rich selection of coffees, baked goods, salads and sandwiches, Zebu Forno serves a variety of hot food such as omeletes, pizzas, parm sandwiches and paninis.
One of the highlights of the menu is the oven-roasted pesto chicken sandwich, topped with provolone and bruschetta and served on semolina bread ($7.89).
According to Freehold resident Jamie Sanchez, who on a recent sunny afternoon skirted over to Zebu to enjoy her lunch break, the cafe's is a simple one.
"Best sandwiches in town. Hands down, '' she said.
There you go.