Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City was jammed with cars this morning. But it wasn't because of the start of Memorial Day weekend.
Gov. Chris Christie paid a visit to Scojos on the Boulevard, to meet and greet people tucking into omelets and pancakes at the popular restaurant.
The crowd of about 150 waiting for him outside whooped and whistled when his caravan of black of SUVs pulled in. Christie, in short sleeves despite chilly weather, cloudy skies and strong northwest winds, plunged into the crowd immediately, shaking hands and posing for pictures.
"Thanks for coming down, governor," one man yelled, as drivers passing by honked their horns.
"Don't leave Jersey," another yelled. "We need ya."
Christie's entourage was about 20 minutes past the scheduled 10:30 a.m. visit.
"It's gonna be lunch by the time he gets to breakfast," another man in line said.
Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little joined the crowd waiting outside for Christie.
"The governor has stood with the Ocean County Board of Freeholders and our county since day one of Superstorm Sandy," Little said. "He has worked diligently to provide all the resources so we can rebuild and restore. We are so thankful for his leadership. He's been terrific."
Little - a Surf City resident - said Long Beach Island was hard hit by Sandy, especially Holgate, Ship Bottom and the Brant Beach section of Long Beach Township.
Christie's visit was part of an Memorial Day weekend effort to signal that the shore is open for business.
"We are ready for the tourists," Little said.
While many businesses on Long Beach Boulevard were open, many were not. Some were vacant, some boarded up, some with for sale signs.
Traffic on the Boulevard was steady, but light for a holiday weekend.
Some Scojos patrons didn't know the governor was coming. Liz Oliner of North Beach was one of them.
"I had no idea," she said. "I had a pack of kids in my house. "
Christie had no formal speech prepared. He worked his way around the restaurant and the crowd. About 25 minutes later, he was back on the road.