After Hours at the CHEGG
Since 1993, the Chicken or the Egg has been frying up wings so large and legendary that folks flock from all over the state to consume them by the platterful. The Chegg, as the Beach Haven restaurant is known, literally never closes from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Anything on the breakfast, lunch or dinner menus can be ordered 24/7. But it’s not just the wings, eight varieties of egg sandwiches or the Southern-style chicken and waffles that have made the Chegg the Shore’s leading wee-hours haven.
“Our first location was right next to a nightclub, and we’d see people leaving at two in the morning with no place to go for food,” says co-owner Mark Cohen. “We decided we wanted to be that place.”
The scene revs up between 11 pm and 2 am, when the local bars close (3 am on Saturdays). Until then, the Chegg is BYO; after that, the law allows no alcohol. Doesn’t matter. A line forms outside as the music is cranked up inside. Suddenly the place teems with revelers gobbling wings, moving among tables, trading stories, singing along to cheesy pop songs. One night a young man in Elmo pajamas worked the room, giving hugs while bouncers kept their distance.
“It’s like an extension of the nightclub,” says Cohen. “On the weekends, you’ll see people hanging out sometimes till five or six in the morning.” For fuel there’s always wings—with a choice of 16 sauces, including ultra-spicy Ludicrous. It’s an apt name for the scene that never sleeps.
So which came first: Chicken or Egg? The name dates back to the Chicken or the Egg’s original location, which opened Memorial Day weekend, 1991. “We did a lot of breakfasts, but we couldn’t sell wings at the first location because it only had a flat grill,” says co-owner Mark Cohen, right. “But I knew we’d eventually start making wings. That’s when I thought of the name. You’ve got eggs for breakfast and chicken for later on. The best of both worlds.”
Photo courtesy of New Jersey Monthly