No walk ins! And good luck getting a reservation to this NJ restaurant
Along the Jersey Shore stands a true hidden gem of a restaurant that you may have to wait months to get a table at.
And that's the way they like it.
This restaurant isn't huge. It's not on a big highway or even on a main street. Thousands and thousands of people drive right past it every week without giving it a second glance. That's probably because there's no sign on the building saying it's a restaurant. In fact, there are no signs at all.
It's not in a touristy area — it's not on a boardwalk. You won't find any big billboards up for it. And they don't have a website (well, they do have a website, but it's password protected and you can't even see their menu). No Facebook page, either.
And you can't just walk in. There's a sign that says so. And not only do you need a reservation, but you need a confirmed reservation backed by a credit card. And to get a table, be prepared to wait weeks (or longer) or "know someone."
As one reviewer said, "Find it if you can, good luck getting in, unless you have a reference."
Defying practically every single thing any restaurant on the planet would do to get people through their doors, this restaurant has been thriving for generations.
To visit this restaurant, our travels take us to Atlantic City. 111 South Albion Place, to be exact. There you'll find Chef Vola's.
Albion Place is squeezed between the Boardwalk and Pacific Avenue, roughly between Tropicana and Boardwalk Hall. There's no foot traffic here (or much car traffic, for that matter).
Towards the middle of the block, you'll see what looks like a well-kept black and white house with a green cover over its front patio. Again, no sign and nothing to say this is a restaurant.
But inside is one of the most exclusive restaurants not only in Atlantic City but in the entire state of New Jersey.
According to atlasobscura.com, before it became a restaurant in 1921, the building that now houses Chef Vola’s was a rooming house owned by brothers Joe and Pina Vola. Joe took to cooking nightly dinners for their tenants while selling liquor in the basement.
Fast forward to today, Chef Vola's pulls close to five stars on any restaurant website that you can find. This is even more impressive given that it's in Atlantic City, surrounded by casinos that try to out-restaurant each other with any famous chef that they can get to open an eatery in town.
Should you find yourself inside Chef Vola's the portions are nothing short of huge (you're eating Italian here, after all), and their desserts are what dreams are made of. Their veal dishes are legendary. Well, everything is, actually. Eggplant parm, crab cakes, salmon, Chilean sea bass, lobster tails, and more are all typically on the menu. BYOB.
So, how do you get a reservation?
To start the process, you need to call (609) 345-2022. You'll most likely need to leave a message. Based on what other people have said, they will call you back at some point to make your actual reservation. You'll need to hold it with a credit card. Some people have said they didn't have to wait too long while others have had to wait several weeks or even a month or two to get a table.
Go there hungry (like, don't eat all day). Bring your favorite bottle of wine and some good friends, sit back, and enjoy one of the best restaurants in the Garden State. And be sure to save room for dessert.