New bar and restaurant to open near Stockton's Atlantic City campus

April 27, 2019 Press of Atlantic City

Avalon Zoppo

 John Murphy admittedly doesn’t know much about the food business. For the past six years, he has rented vacation homes to families around the border of Ventnor and Atlantic City.

But the 50-year-old former marketing director knows the area and is ready to learn. He’s opening a bar and restaurant called Ryfe at the site of a long-vacant, two-story brick building near Stockton University’s city campus. It was once a liquor store, and a gas station before that.

“Rife means full of life, energetic, bustling, that sort of thing,” Murphy said standing inside the Atlantic Avenue building.

It’s one of several new businesses in the works around the new Gateway Project, as interest in the Chelsea neighborhood among investors and developers swirls.

Murphy’s new restaurant and bar is replacing the former Sherlock’s Liquor and Pub, which closed a few years ago, and will give (of age) Stockton students a casual spot to drink in walking distance. He hopes to open it by July, but that hinges on securing a liquor license.

Two yellow construction permits were taped on a window of the recently repainted brick building Tuesday, and inside, an electrical company was turning the power back on.

At Thursday’s Zoning Board meeting, Murphy will seek a parking variance and permission to build a small cafe area. He also wants to build a space for outdoor eating on the roof of the building. More windows will be installed to brighten up the dimly lit main room.

According to property records, Murphy bought the property and its adjacent lot for $480,000 in September, a month after Stockton opened its 675,000-square-foot, $220 million campus a few blocks away.

He doesn’t expect students to keep his eatery afloat but says the extra foot traffic factored into his decision to buy.