While many business owners who lost everything in the wake of Superstorm Sandy might despair, Anthony Cioffi saw it as an opportunity.

Cioffi, who has been a restauranteur at the Jersey Shore since 1986, was the owner of Antonino's Sunset Grille in Brick. The restaurant was completely destroyed by the storm.

"It had about three and a half feet of water in it," Cioffi recalled.

A few days after the storm, Cioffi was able to return to his business to see the destruction for himself. The force of the waves that rushed through the building destroyed equipment and compromised the structure to the point that it was deemed unsalvageable.

"I told the landlord I would rebuild it," he said. "It was too far gone."

With little help from insurance or grant and loan programs, Cioffi persevered and used the opportunity to start fresh. And so Black Pearl was born.

Located in the Anchorage Plaza at the corner of Hooper Avenue and South Shore Drive in the Silverton section of Toms River, where residents know all too well the pain of loss after Sandy, Cioffi's goal is to create a dining experience for anyone and everyone.

Last month, Black Pearl Restaurant opened to rave reviews.

"I just wanted to upscale everything," Cioffi said of his vision for the restaurant, which features a modernly appointed dining room and a menu including all certified black angus beef and fresh, local seafood.

The restaurant also boasts an affordable early bird menu on weekdays and live music at night on the weekends.

Adjacent to the restaurant, Black Pearl Grill (which opened just two weeks ago) serves lighter, more casual fare including burgers, wraps and salads. Cioffi says that plans for the grill side include full pizza service and a seafood market with both cooked, prepared entrees and fresh seafood.

Find more information about Black Pearl on their website.

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