CHINESE, VIETNAMESE AND TATS ON TAP

temple1Temple, a Chinese restaurant, is expected to open in the former home of Torcello by the end of December. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Tired of Italian and pizza yet?

Soon enough, if plans hold, culinary options will broaden in Red Bank, with Chinese and Vietnamese eateries competing for customers on opposite sides of Broad Street.

And after dinner, if you’re up to it, maybe you can skip dessert and head across town for a tattoo.

rb-strip-mallThe planning board will hear an application Monday night for a tattoo parlor to move into the basement of this strip mall on Newman Springs Road. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

In addition to Blue Water Seafood, which won planning board approval for a Broad Street space in October, two additional eateries are set to move in.

The ovens at Torcello had no sooner cooled before Victor Kuo filed an application with the planning and zoning office to set up at 91 Broad.

Kuo, whose parents once operated Peking Pavilion on Oakland Street — the current site of the Red Bank Charter School — is already moving into the space, and intends to open Temple, a Chinese gourmet restaurant, before Christmas.

“That’s the plan,” he said, “but you know how plans go.”

He appears to be on track. He has a chef hired and already has a menu framed to offer, in addition to Chinese, Southeast Asian and Korean cuisine.

“Kind of a best of all ethnicities, but our main menu will be Chinese,” Kuo said. “We’re looking to bring in premier Chinese food.”

Soon to join the mini-Asian explosion on Broad — right across the street, in fact — will be a Vietnamese restaurant, which also has zoning approval, at 90 Broad, where Haagen-Dazs had operated before closing early this year.

The two pending moves into that section of downtown represent a sliver of hope for an area that has struggled to keep activity in its storefronts of late. Another business, Lux, a beauty shop, opened in September, and another, Double Take, a consignment shop, is set to open soon at 97 Broad, joining Pizza Fusion, which opened in March.

Adding to Red Bank retail churn may be an ink-based business on the edge of town. Two West Long Branch men are seeking a change of use from business to tattoo parlor in a small strip of stores on Newman Springs Road, next door to Butch’s Lube N’ Wash. If approved, the parlor would be located in the rear basement of the strip, where other businesses currently operate, said the building’s landlord, who did not want to be quoted for this story.

Mary Kouvel, secretary for planning and zoning, said that section of town is the only one zoned for tattoo shops.

The application will be heard by the planning board on Monday night, bumping a rescheduled borough council meeting, which is now scheduled to meet on Wednesday, December 8 at 6:30p.

At that session, the governing body is expected to discuss the terms of a tentative settlement of a lawsuit over 51 Monmouth Street, the former borough hall and police station that is now owned by the Community YMCA and serves as home to its Children’s Cultural Center.

The council will meet one additional time in 2010, on Wednesday, December 22, at 6:30p.

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