By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Eight months after Dieter Bornemann ended a 30-year run as owner of The Little Kraut, he’s sold his Red Bank building, moved out of the upstairs apartment and is hitting the road for Las Vegas.
Moving into the prominent space at the corner of Oakland Street and Bridge Avenue will be another authentic European restaurant, San Remo, now located on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road, owner and chef Giovanni Boudour tells redbankgreen.
Terms of the property transaction, which Boudour says were finalized last Tuesday, were not disclosed, and documents were not yet available on the Monmouth County Clerk’s website.
The new San Remo will be a BYOB, as Bornemann’s liquor license was transferred last week to Jack Anderson, owner of Jack’s Music Shoppe and the Broad Street building that houses the River’s Edge Café, whose owner is seeking a new location.
The move will give Boudour more space he intends to have a party room where Bornemann had his residence though the menu will be unchanged.
There’s no timetable yet for the move. A complete overhaul is in order, Boudour said. Once it’s complete, San Remo’s current home of 12 years will become a seafood and Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, he says. “I’m changing the whole style, the whole thing,” he said.
The inside of the two-story building should be free of any memories of Bornemann’s long-lasting relationship with Red Bank. Over the weekend, the proprietor of Monmouth County’s most durable purveyor of authentic German cooking held a firesale, unloading tables, glasses, chairs and other schnickschnacks amassed in the last 40 years he did business in town.
Bornemann said that by Monday he’d be heading West to the City of Lights to settle into retirement.
Bornemann, who emigrated from Germany in the mid-60s, got his start in Red Bank on the east side of the train tracks, where Jamian’s now calls home. In 1979 he moved the well-known Little Kraut to Bridge and Oakland, just steps from the railroad station.
Three years ago, Bornemann caught up with political correctness and dropped the epithetic name to rebrand it the Oakbridge Tavern, an organic food and beer establishment that also happened to have German fare. But the business struggled to find a following, and a foreclosure action was initiated by a lender a year ago, county records indicate.
After the most recent Oktoberfest, Bornemann said he decided to call it quits because his staff was becoming reliably unreliable. Money was often missing, he said, and there wasn’t a proper level of respect for the trade or management.
“I felt, like, put against a wall,” said Bornemann in his heavy German accent. “I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Now Boudour will write the next chapter for 115 Oakland Street. He’s convinced that it won’t take long to supplant Oakbridge as a popular fixture on Red Bank’s West Side.
“I have no problem,” he said. “I have my own customers.”