Richard Schmollinger is the kind of diner brothers Steve and Anthony Cozzi dreamed about when they opened Fuze in Avalon last year.

Not only does the Stone Harbor summer resident dine at their restaurant nearly every week, he also has a taste for the finer things in life … like Louis XIII. Schmollinger routinely orders the cognac as an after-dinner drink. Price? $230 for a 2-ounce pour. He has also been known to ask Chef Steve Cozzi, of North Wildwood, to make an au poivre sauce with the cognac.

Schmollinger, who co-owns a Philadelphia machine shop that makes parts for government helicopters, recently indulged in a whole other level of fine dining — and drinking — when the Cozzis pointed out a special “rare cask” brand of Louis XIII that wholesales for about $15,000. Naturally, he told the Cozzis to order a bottle. He has been enjoying the rare treat — only 30 bottles were released in the United States — and raised the ante once again Friday when he asked Steve to make an au poivre sauce from the rare cognac. Price? $2,500, just for the sauce.

“You can definitely taste the difference,” said Schmollinger, who visits the restaurant with his friends and family. “Is it worth it? I don’t know. They all think I’m a little nuts.”

The Cozzis sure don’t.

“We love it,” said Anthony Cozzi, of Somers Point. “We’re all about someone who really appreciates fine dining and great liquor. This is the kind of stuff you open a restaurant for.”

Beach Haven girl, 13, 

on NASCAR fast track

While many teenage girls are thinking about boys and taking dance classes, Amanda Harrison is dreaming of becoming a NASCAR star.

The 13-year-old Beach Haven resident, however, isn’t just dreaming. She races a half-size stock car throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as her parents — Tammy and Bruce — and four siblings make the treks and root her on.

It all started three years ago when the racing fanatic went to Camp Motorsport at Virginia International Raceway. As soon as Harrison returned, she told her parents she wanted a car, which range in price from $5,000 to $11,000. Her parents obliged, buying her the car that can hit 90 miles per hour.

Harrison, whose main sponsor is The Chicken or the Egg restaurant in Beach Haven, has done well. She was ranked ninth this year in her age group in the Miniature Motorsports Racing Association, quite an impressive feat since she was the only girl in her series.

The car enthusiast had one close call when another racer crashed into her car, which was split in half from the impact. She walked away with a bruised wrist, while the other racer had to have knee surgery.

Ironically, there’s another driver in the family that makes mom Tammy even more nervous: 17-year-old Jenna, who just received her driver’s license.

“I am more nervous about her being on the road than Amanda being on the race track,” Tammy said with a laugh. “On the road, you don’t wear helmets and your car doesn’t have a roll cage.”

Everyone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. To share your story, call Scott Cronick at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at