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DOUG PARENT // CAFE VOLAN

It makes sense that baristas are often plugged into the most interesting things in any community. We talked with our pal Doug Parent at Cafe Volan (510 Bangs Ave.) and here is what he had to say about some of his favorite things about life in Asbury Park.

Perfect bar or place for a beer? Beers, for me are best done in the company of friends – outdoors and away from crowds, ideally. I also like to visit my buddy Phil over at the Annex for an after-work drink sometimes – we hail from the same small town near Lavallette so there’s that camaraderie and he makes a killer cider concoction that I’m not allowed to have anymore.

Favorite Asbury Park building/architecture? I love the details of the classic Victorians in town. There’s also a bunch of hidden gems. I recently had the pleasure of touring the Savoy Theater on Mattison. The interior is stunning, particularly the way the light is diffused through the old skylight and cast onto the old theater curtain. It’s a photographer’s shangri-la.

Most relaxing night out? Low-key evenings with a couple of friends over a simple & seasonal dinner – bed by 11.

Best place to see art? I see art in the spirits of our customers in their own unique ways. Everyone has a story and it serves as inspiration for my own work – it runs full circle for me at the cafe.

Your ideal breakfast or lunch spot on a day off? Asbury has a great selection for this category – Cotija up on Main Street is my current favorite. The pastor tacos are dynamite. However, on my day off I like to escape town – the ideal setting is early evening dinner at Bar Tabac on Smith Street in Brooklyn with friends and live music.

Best pizza? Undici in Rumson or Lucali, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Best place to buy seafood? Jody’s in Neptune is a good bet, but i prefer the fish caught by friends and family. I’m not much of a fisherman so i leave it to the pro’s. My buddy Dave Shoemaker came through the cafe with some excellent fresh mahi mahi a couple of months ago that he caught 90 miles off the coast.

Favorite grocery store/market or other local shop? Sweet Joey’s on Bangs Avenue. His father Vlad makes custom jeans that fit unlike any other pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. Well worth the splurge without question.

What book/s are you reading? All magazines at the moment. Apartamento, The New Republic and the World of Interiors. I am also a radio junky – WNYC, Al Jazera English and Monocle 24. I can’t get enough world news – it’s a passion.

Favorite music to play in the cafe? It definitely varies day to day. My current selections include a lot of jazz and world music. I love sitar music to start the day off when I’m opening.

Photo by Corey Asraf

David Spelman is an artistic director, curator, music producer and Ocean Grove resident. He enjoys cycling, yoga, coffee, and generally encouraging creative dialogue across disciplines and barstools.  www.davidspelman.com

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