I’ve had the opportunity to dine all over the world and many restaurants here in New Jersey and New York City. New Jersey boasts some of the best restaurants in the country and most of these outstanding eateries don’t get the recognition they deserve because they are located here in New Jersey.

google street view
google street view

One of my all time favorite restaurants is Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport. Drew and his outstanding staff serve up Cajun American fare that will make you crave for more. Go with few people so that you can sample some of his great dishes.

Here’s a little background on Drew’s with their signature Jambalaya recipe, Oh is It good!

Drew’s Bayshore Bistro

Keyport, NJ


Chef/Owner Drew Araneo serves up Cajun cuisine like no other in his hometown of Keyport, NJ. In my many trips to his restaurant I’ve had the opportunity to sample all but a few of his dishes and have been blown away by his infusion of spices, menu selections and specials that become customer favorites.

Chef Drew’s talent has been duly recognized with many awards including being named a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for Chef of the Year Mid-Atlantic region. Chef Drew also had a throw down with Chef and TV personality Bobby Flay serving up his signature dish VooDoo Shrimp and walked away with the win. Chef Drew had some great influence and honed his craft by working with Jersey Shore legendary chef and my good friend the late Joe Romanowski.

Joe had a great restaurant Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands, NJ that became the starting block of many of these fine chefs that are in this book. Hurricane Sandy came and wiped out Bay Avenue Trattoria and sadly Joe Romanowski died of cancer shortly after that.

As so many businesses in Keyport and up and down the Jersey Shore were wiped out during Hurricane Sandy, so was Drew’s. Chef Drew and his wife Tracey regrouped with hard work and resilience and moved the restaurant to higher ground to the location where it sits today on Church Street.

You have to go to Drew’s. Try the VooDoo Shrimp, the Gumbo when available, the duck, the pork dishes and the desserts are outstanding! All the desserts are house made including the ice cream!

I am thrilled that Chef Drew is sharing his famous Jambalaya recipe with me for this book. Drew’s is a great place to go with friends and family; the servers are friendly, knowledgeable and have longevity with Chef Drew. Bring your favorite wine or beer and bring your appetite, then you’ll see why Drew’s Bayshore Bistro is on my Top 5 list and soon to be on yours.


Food Regional Jambalaya

Drew’s Bayshore Bistro Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille Jambalaya

¼ cup Canola Oil

1lb of Andouille Sausage (sliced)

1 lb of Tasso Ham (sliced)

1 Onion (med diced)

3 Stalks of Celery (diced)

1 Green Pepper (diced)

1 Red Pepper (diced)

¼ cup of Chopped Garlic

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add Andouille Sausage and cook until begins to render.

Add vegetables and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften. Then add:

½ cup of Cajun Seasoning (recipe follows)

1 tbsp of Cayenne Pepper (optional)

2 tbsp of Brown Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Stir seasonings into vegetables and let cook for about 2 minutes to “wake up” seasonings. Then add:

2 lbs of Chicken (diced)

2 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce

1 tbsp of Tabasco sauce (or more!)

2 cups of Diced Tomato

4 cups of Chicken Stock

2 ½ cups of Converted Rice

Bring Jambalaya base to a simmer on lower heat. Let simmer for 12 – 15 minutes and stir in:

2 lbs Shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Cover, return to low heat, 5 minutes, then shut off heat and let stand until rice is cooked. Garnish with Chopped Parsley and Green Onions


The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

50 Most Popular Chain Restaurants in America

YouGov investigated the most popular dining brands in the country, and Stacker compiled the list to give readers context on the findings. Read on to look through America's vast and divergent variety of restaurants—maybe you'll even find a favorite or two.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM