The phone rings nearly constantly at Federico's Pizzeria.
One of numerous employees politely excuses himself as he moves past throngs of media and serious, official-looking people trailing Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno as she converses with restaurant owner David Morin in the kitchen.
It's going on noon, lunchtime for the growing line of nearby St. Rose High School kids trying to get a slice before heading back to class.
It's one of three scheduled stops today for Guadagno as she touts the Jersey Shore's readiness for commerce, despite the blow struck by Hurricane Sandy. Belmar, she announces during her stop, is "open for business." And it means a lot to the 140 small businesses in Belmar.
"You almost can't put a price on what this means to our small business community,'' Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said. "It benefits Federico's, but her being here benefits all of our small businesses.''
Morin, who has owned Federico's for 17 years, agreed that the Lt. governor's visit carried some import.
"I think this helps to showcase what's going on in town,'' Morin said. "We're back. We're open for business. The beach is going to be back before summer and it's going to be better than ever.''
Guadagno was joined by Doherty and Assemblyman Dave Rible, whose district includes Belmar.
"Businesses had every reason to pull out after the storms,'' Rible said. "But they're not. And that they're not giving up is positive. It's what Jersey is all about.''
Guadagno is also scheduled to make stops in Lavallette and Ship Bottom Wednesday.