In 2017, Liam and Carmen Moloney opened Amelia’s By The Sea, previously Bareli’s By The Sea. At the time, their restaurant was seasonal, and they were commuting from Nutley, NJ so they could simultaneously run Bareli’s Restaurant in Secaucus. After three summers of getting to know the Spring Lake community, they decided to move here full-time only a few weeks before their oldest son, Liam Jr. was to start kindergarten. Like so many, Liam and Carmen fell in love with Spring Lake, and their hearts knew it was where they were meant to raise their growing family.
The summer before the Moloney’s permanent migration south was an arduous one. Liam was making the commute between Nutley, Secaucus, and Spring Lake almost every day, while Carmen was working full-time and helping on the weekends in the restaurant. This was all happening while also taking care of their sons Liam Jr. and Leo. On the weekends, they would stay in an apartment at the Grand Victorian to be able to attend to both the restaurant and their boys. Carmen, who grew up in Long Branch, had been slowly chipping away at Liam about the idea of moving to Spring Lake permanently. Growing up at the beach herself, she knew it was a wonderful place to raise children, and she could see the stress the commute was taking on Liam. Being a devoted husband and father while being fully committed to growing their restaurant and business was becoming a lot to balance. Liam, a city boy at heart, was easy to convince after spending the previous two summers falling in love with the people and places in Spring Lake.
It was a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle up north and they could still be passionate and thrive in their work while waking up to see the ocean every day. What could be better than that? Their change in location also meant a transformation for Bareli’s By The Sea. With Liam and Carmen living in town, they were able to open up their restaurant year-round. Carmen was able to work from home continuing her affiliate marketing career while supporting Liam at the restaurant on a more consistent basis. Their new home-life balance was exactly what they needed.
Liam went to St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, while Carmen attended Long Branch High School. After graduating, Liam went to Iona College to play football and Carmen attended Montclair State University as a professional dancer. Liam suffered a football injury his sophomore year and made the difficult decision to transfer. As fate would have it, he chose Montclair State University and met Carmen at a fundraising event. Their love story, told by Liam, claims Carmen “chased him for years before he finally caved.” Anyone who is well-versed in Liam’s witty and tenacious personality knows the real truth. Liam said it was love at first sight. He was immediately taken by Carmen’s ambition and free spirit. As they grew to know each other their love of family and loyalty stood out.
Today, Liam and Carmen have three beautiful children, Liam Jr. (9), Leo (5), and Amelia (2) and their Shih Tzu, Juliet. Sadly, Juliet’s partner, Romeo, passed away a couple of years ago. Liam and Leo attend H.W. Mountz and Amelia can’t wait to join them in a few short years. The kids are involved in many local sports and Amelia is excited to begin dance class this summer and follow in her mom’s footsteps. Like many, the Moloneys are busy juggling their growing business and family, but they make sure to find ways to connect. Liam enjoys coaching and is the kids’ biggest supporter. Despite his hectic work schedule, he never misses a game. In the fall, Carmen will be the new Vice President of the Mountz PTA and is the Advertising Sales Chair for the Spring Lake Kitchen Tour. The family are members of Saint Catharine's Church and are passionate about supporting the Common Ground Grief Center in Manasquan.
Liam has been a restaurateur for 15 years and has owned or co-owned several restaurants including his first, DelMonico Steak House in Cedar Grove, with the late James Gandolfini. They both love the chaos of the restaurant atmosphere and the connections they’ve made over the years. It is obvious from the stories they tell and the passion they have for their business that The Moloneys embrace the challenges that are involved with running a restaurant. They are appreciative of the rewarding experience and the opportunity to build memories for customers while providing amazing food and first-class hospitality.
In addition to owning Amelia’s by the Sea in Spring Lake, Carmen and Liam are excited for their next endeavor in nearby Avon. This spring, they will be opening The Promenade Restaurant and concession stand (previously Avon Pavilion), as well as the adjacent boutique named Beach House Boutique. They are ecstatic to have this opportunity and can’t wait to strengthen their ties in the extended shore community.
The Moloney’s LLC is ALL Hospitality after their kids' initials (Amelia, Liam, and Leo). Their motto is, “We may not have it ALL together, but together we have it ALL.” “It’s a crazy ride, and we feel so fortunate for our family and community that supports us. The saying ‘it takes a village’ really holds true here. We will forever be grateful for the people in the Spring Lake community who have welcomed and supported us along the way.”
Photography by Kelly DiFiglia Creative