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COOL INSIDE: SOME CRAZEE WAFFLING HERE…

CRAZEES waffle bowl cool insideA homemade waffle bowl from Crazee’s in Rumson. (Photos by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

By SHERRI HALL

CRAZEE'S 052516 2With this weekend’s unofficial kickoff of the summer of ’16, a redbankgreen fave from a summer not-so-long-ago is also back: the Cool Inside series.

As we did in the scorching summer of ’10, each week we’ll showcase a signature cold or frozen dessert from a local treatery — something guaranteed to excite the taste buds while cooling down the body’s core.

To start things off, we stopped in at Crazee’s in Rumson.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CHINA MOON SHINES

051616chinamoon3From the lunch special menu: beef with black bean sauce. The artwork, below, is by the delivery guy. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

051616chinamoon5If it’s not already on your radar, you might never notice China Moon, squished into a corner of a Red Bank strip mall between the Windmill hot dog stand and Crate’s Beverages.

But PieHole is putting the North Bridge Avenue eatery front and center, because when it comes to lunch, China Moon offers an affordable, extensive menu — and the food is delicious.

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RED BANK: LOCAL SMOKE SET TO WAFT

local smoke 051816 1Steve Raab, right, with partners Loren Raab, his wife, and Eric Keating, left, outside their new restaurant Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallEntering a crowded Red Bank restaurant field that seems to grow more packed each week, Local Smoke BBQ stands out.

Why? In part because Steve Raab’s new place is at a highly-trafficked corner, making for a convenient stop. Partly because it has its own parking lot, without a meter in sight.

But mainly because it will be the first purely-barbecue restaurant in Red Bank proper, and is run by a pitmaster with an avid following.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BODEGA TACOS

051616towncountry2Bistek tacos chosen from the “Spanish” lunch menu at Town and Country Deli, a convenience store selling more than food, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

051616towncountrypatelInternational cuisine has become ubiquitous in Red Bank, adding to a plentitude of lunch options. But there are still some gems hidden away, and so when PieHole readers tell us about flavors unknown, we listen.

That’s how we wound up at Town and Country Deli in Red Bank.

Tucked away next to a laundromat in a Shrewsbury Avenue strip mall at the corner of Bank Street, this place is more bodega or convenience store than delicatessen, but looks can be deceiving.

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RED BANK: ANOTHER RESTAURANT APPROVED

132 broad 040416The Red Lantern restaurant won clearance to open at 132 Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The dizzying transformation of downtown Red Bank into a place to dine, for those who can find parking, got another boost Monday night.

The borough planning board approved a plan to convert retail space at 132 Broad Street to a restaurant, despite a shortfall of 25 parking spots.

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RED BANK: BUY A BOWL, FEED A SOUL

bowls 4Artist Gina Navon at work on a bowl for the event, and a sampling of the bowls available for purchase, below. (Photos by Bob McKay. Click to enlarge)

bowls 3For the second year in a row, the Red Bank-based Art Alliance of Monmouth County will host its Empty Bowls Project at JBJ Soul Kitchen this weekend.

A joint fundraiser to benefit Soul Kitchen and the alliance, the event features a sale of one-of-a-kind, locally made ceramic bowls.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CREATIVE BAGELRY

051016hotbagel7A bacon cheeseburger deluxe on an everything bagel, above, and a chocolate chip bagel with a schmear of Nutella cream cheese, below, at Hot Bagels Brooklyn’s Finest.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

051016hotbagels1James Beard, “the dean of American cookery” according to the New York Times, once said that “too few people understand a really good sandwich.”

Nikos Zaires and Mike Gambale, owners of Hot Bagels Brooklyn’s Finest in Red Bank, understand, and they’re turning that humble sandwich into a higher art, making creative use of quality ingredients layered on fresh baked bagels and other bread varieties in their month-old deli.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MR. PIZZA’S SLICE & DOG

050416mrpizza7An original-recipe pie fresh from the oven. Carlos Rosas tosses dough for a pizza, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

050416mrpizza10Self-styled devotees of Mr. Pizza Slice raised quite an uproar when redbankgreen reported the Red Bank stalwart was under new ownership and — heaven forbid — would be updating both the decor and menu.

The beloved Monmouth Street hole-in-the-wall on has now been refurbished with, among other touches, exposed brick walls that replace cheap paneling, giving the room a cozier feel than the laundromat vibe of its predecessor.

More importantly, new owners Nick Napoletano and Tom Cappello had a fantastic idea when they decided to keep a favorite menu item while bringing in plenty of new ones, including impressive sandwiches and gourmet, New York-style pies.

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RED BANK: PAZZO FRIDGE GETS COOL WELCOME

pazzo 050216 1An illegal expansion into a breezeway beside Pazzo Restaurant drew criticism, but won planning board approval. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank restaurant’s request for permission to keep an already-built extension drew pointed criticism from borough planning board members Monday night.

“I hate it,” board vice chairman Dan Mancuso told an owner of Pazzo Restaurant.

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RED BANK: STARBUCKS GOES FOR A REFILL

sbux 050316Fear not, Starbucks junkies: the store at Broad and White streets in downtown Red Bank is only closed for renovations, and will reopen May 14, according to a posted notice.

Meantime, there’s no shortage of java in the area, including the locally owned Rook Coffee Roasters store just two doors away on White Street.

Coffee drinkers: what’s your favorite coffee joint, and why? (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LIQUOR STORE TO REOPEN

228 drs. parker 042816 2Closed for two years, paperwork filed in connection with the sale of the former Yogi’s Liquors license indicates the store will also offer groceries and deli products. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A liquor store on Red Bank’s West Side that’s been closed for two years appears to be gearing up to reopen.

The borough council last week approved the sale of packaged-goods license of Yogi’s Liquors, at Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Leighton Avenue, and documents on file indicate the new owner intends to reopen the business there.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANTS ON PLANNING AGENDA

132 broad 040416The former storefront at 132 Broad Street is the subject of a request for an Asian restaurant called Red Lantern, which needs a parking variance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE: Borough planning and zoning director Glenn Carter tells us the plan for the former firehouse at 40 White Street has been amended to a proposed retail use, from an earlier request for a restaurant. The original version of this story has been changed to reflect that.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Plans for two restaurants and a retail space the agendas of Red Bank’s planning and zoning board meetings this week.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GLOBAL CONCEPTS

042616globaleatery5Global Eatery’s mix-and-match international choices include Mexican enchiladas, Korean beef in a cabbage wrap and Italian meatballs. Below, a customer fixes a salad to go.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

042616globaleatery4With a focus on office workers and schoolkids in downtown Red Bank, Mark Arabadjis has gone global.

Araabadjis closed the Sicilia Café on Broad Street late last year, less than six months after he bought it, and has now opened Global Eatery in its place.

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