The Union Landing Restaurant & Marina is a chef owned and family operated business. We opened our doors in 1979, and have become known for our friendly service and atmosphere.
Our motto has always been, "You are only a stranger once."
In Pre-Revolutionary War days, this community was an outlying section of Squan Village or Manasquan. It took the popular name of Union before the Declaration of Independence - when there was a wide-spread debate on uniting the Thirteen Colonies as an independent nation. Roads were few, muddy, and almost impassable so most traffic into and out of Union was by water. Access to this settlement was at Union Landing - right where you are at the foot of Union Lane. Union Lane is the oldest main throughfare still in use. In those days it connected with the stage route (approximately today's Route 70) and also joined roads leading to the county seat at Monmouth Court House, now Freehold.
Union Salt Works
You also are on the five-acre site of the large and famous Union Salt Works. It was built with government funds - and an exemption of workers from militia duty to be security guards - about 1777. Salt, imported for food and food preservation, was scarce with war restrictions on shipping. And there was no natural supply in the State of New Jersey. Here a complex of buildings housed equipment for treating 5,000 gallons of seawater. Salt water was pumped from the rivers by windmills, partly evaporated for treating by exposure to sun and wind and then boiled in huge copper and iron pans. One of a number of similar plants on the New Jersey Shore, the works were destroyed in a British raid on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1778. It was rebuilt by 1779 and probably operated into the early 1780's when major warfare had left New Jersey for the South and improved salt was easier to obtain. No proven artifacts remain, but remnants of foundations are believed to have been part of one building.
Main travel terminals usually had hostelries for food, drink, and lodging - and maybe a post office, and later a telephone. From small beginnings around 1850, there developed the popular Union House, a resort on the riverfront across Union Lane from where you are. Among its prominent guests and visitors were Robert Louis Stevenson, author, who reportedly conceived "Treasure Island" here as a fantasy on an uninhabited isle in the Manasquan River. Others were Ulysses S. Grant, famous soldier and future President; Charles Scribner, publisher, and Augustus St. Gaudens, sculptor. The structure was destroyed by fire on February 15, 1914.
A year-round residental community, named for its sister town in the Netherlands. Its 1.8 square miles contains about 4,500 residents in 1,800 homes, apartments and condominiums. It is known as the charter fishing boat capital of New Jersey. When you visit the Union Landing Restaurant you can moor your boat at our guest dock right in front of our building. The Brielle Land Development Company, formed in 1881, sold lots and developed this portion of the town. The name - suggested by one of the company's organizers - marked the similarity of the Dutch Town's long protected harbor and, more importantly, the windmills, of which parts of one still remain.