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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? LINGERING AT ANJELICA’S

011017anjelicas4Baked eggplant parmigiano served with casarecce arrabbiata at Anjelica’s Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Whatever the season, reservations may be needed to secure a dinner table at the family-owned Anjelica’s Restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

But in the off-season, the Ocean Avenue restaurant serves lunch, too, and on a recent visit, PieHole found it a delightfully relaxing spot to saunter into and while away part of an afternoon.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DRINKING TO OUR HEALTH

010417freshicasrb6An eye-catching peppermint-and-spinach-based Grinch Bowl topped with granola at Freshica’s. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?It’s the first week of a new year, which means PieHole is trying to stick to its annual get-fit resolutions. So we headed over to Freshica’s in the Red Bank’s West Side Lofts building on West Front Street for a convenient, quick, and healthy lunch.

Open just six months, Jessica Dalmedo’s second store is already busier at lunchtime than her original spot inside Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven, opened more than four years ago, she tells us. She and her experienced employee, Lee Ann Caporicci, patiently explained the benefits of some of the new-to-us ingredients in their recipes.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BEST OF 2016

091316redrock3Duck confit tater tots from Red Rock Tap + Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Soul-satisfying soups, beefy burgers, crusty pizzas…

From a year’s worth of lunches good, bad and inedible, PieHole‘s What’s For Lunch? feature picks the Top 10 of 2016.

Click to restaurant names to see complete individual reviews.
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CRAVINGS: CELEBRATORY PROFITEROLES

110116o-bistro-profiterole-2An iconic French dessert, a profiterole at O Bistro is what we crave. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsRinging in 2017 in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower sounds romantic, if not so practical.

But Francophiles on the Greater  Green can hoist a glass of (BYOB) Champagne at O Bistro Francaise in Red Bank while dipping a spoon into the best chocolate sauce in New Jersey.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GOOD GRAVY AND FRIES

121916taylorsams5The Prime “samwich” of sliced Angus beef, with fries and a memorable gravy, at Taylor Sam’s. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?When a reader tells us about a new favorite eatery in Red Bank, PieHole pays attention. And at a recent party, an enthusiastic fan suggested that we hustle over to the two-week-old Taylor Sam’s at 20 Broad Street. So we did.

The interior looks little changed from that of its predecessors at the address, The Spot and Mac Attack Cheesery, but the menu at the newest addition to the downtown restaurant scene is distinctive, owner Scott Spivak tells us.

“Everything is 100-percent from scratch,” he said. The dishes we tried lead to instant fandom as well.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SALADS AND PIZZA

120616urbancoal4Personal-size pizzas from the oven at Urban Coalhouse in the Galleria. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?PieHole stopped in for lunch last week at Urban Coalhouse Pizza and Bar, the former Tommy’s Coal-Fired Pizza in the Galleria of Red Bank, one of four restaurants that owners Andrew Cameron, Chris and Matt Lombardi and Mike Centaro have up and running around New Jersey.

We were happy to find few if any changes to what we enjoyed about Tommy’s, including the fact that the menu still centers around an enormous, coal-fired, 900-degree oven used to producing the signature pizzas and wings.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AN ORCA OF A BURRITO

120516queso7Queso Grill’s steak burrito: you’ll need a fork and knife to eat this “wet” behemoth.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?On Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, fast-food joints Luigi’s Famous Pizza, Stamna Taverna and Subway share a parking lot. It’s a bit like a food court, but in a strip mall.

A south-of-the-border lunch hankering nudged PieHole through the door of another of the center’s tenants: Queso Grill, where we were stopped short by the number of decisions that would need to be made before we could order lunch.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EUROPA GRILL TAPAS

111916europa3A hot sampler for two from the appetizer/tapas menu at Europa Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?New to the Shrewsbury Village strip mall in Shrewsbury, Europa Grill fills in the storefront left empty by Rosina’s Ristorante. Like its predecessor, it serves Italian food, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Mediterranean-themed frescoes, including an attention-grabbing celestially painted ceiling, brighten the decor. Tables set with linens, comfortable seating, and friendly, helpful service add up to a more formal but lively atmosphere.
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RED BANK: BREAKFAST & LUNCH SPOT TO OPEN

taylor-sams-111816A new restaurant called Taylor Sam’s plans to try its luck at 20 Broad Street beginning next week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAnother restaurant is joining the Great Dining Rush underway in downtown Red Bank.

With a breakfast-and-lunch-all-day menu of low-cost “home cookin’,” Taylor Sam’s is taking over 20 Broad Street, where three eateries have tried and failed to take hold in the last four years.

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CRAVINGS: EXPECTING AN OMELET

111916pallonettis1Kristin and John Pallonetti at the Inbetween Café for breakfast. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsWith a due date of Christmas Eve, parents-to-be Kristin and John Pallonetti have a lot more to look forward to than their next meal.

Still, when those cravings kick in, the Fair Haven couple respond, often heading into Red Bank for custom omelets at the Inbetween Café.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HAPPY HOUR RIBS

111516saltcreek2A plate of baby back ribs from Salt Creek Grille’s happy hour menu.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Timing is everything, especially when it comes to grabbing a good meal. Sometimes, the afternoon just gets away from us and before we know it, lunch is an unfulfilled yearning. What to do?

Salt Creek Grille, the craftsman-style restaurant at the foot of the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson, shows a 5 p.m. opening on its website. But happy hour is served from 4 p.m. to 6:30, and it’s a terrific bargain.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SLOW-PACED GRAZE

110816graze3Vegetarian choices on the lunch menu at Graze include bourbon-glazed carrot soup and a mac-and-cheese casserole.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?This past summer, Laercio “Chef Junior” Chamon finally fulfilled his goal of turning Zoe Bistro, which he acquired a year earlier, into Graze.

Now once again open for lunch, the Little Silver restaurant is luxuriously relaxed in pace, aesthetic and culinary concept, even as kitchen staffers thrive on challenging themselves to come up with dishes with a surprising twist.

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CRAVINGS: A LITTLE DANISH WILL DO

110216danishcafe3August Culbert stops by the Danish Café for lunch, coffee and a danish for dessert. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravings“It wouldn’t be the Danish Café without danish,” says August Culbert, a 25-year-old Fair Haven resident and owner of Apogee Technology Services, a Red Bank information technology business.

“The coffee is the best here, and they offer free refills,” says Culbert, who’s been a regular since about 2013 and has “tried everything on the menu.” But it’s the “soft, flaky European-style pastry” of the Danish’s danish that Culbert says he finds particularly appealing.

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RED BANK: JAMIAN’S, LADY K PLANS OK’D

jamians-elevation-110816-2The facade of Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street would nearly double in length with the addition of two storefronts to the right of the existing one, seen below. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

81 monmouth 080216A popular Red Bank bar/restaurant and a yet-to-open bakery won approval for expansion plans from the borough planning board Monday night.

Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street plans to expand by taking over the next-door spots formerly rented by Art’s Barber Shop, which closed this summer after nearly 50 years in business, and a space leased by a cellphone vendor.

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RUMSON: SIGN OF CHANGE

russell-bettes-110416
wyb-021269As part of the rebranding of Rumson’s What’s Your Beef restaurant, new owner Marilyn Schlossbach had the sign removed last week, and in the process uncovered evidence of a past identity of the place: Nolan’s. 

A quick search of the Red Bank Register archive indicates the business operated as Jack Nolan’s, a “gay ’90s night club,” in the early 1960s, but wound up in receivership. 

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DREAMY O BISTRO CREPE

110116o-bistro4Shrimp, scallops and chopped clams swimming in a creamy herb-flecked sauce are folded into a tender crepe and served with a side salad at O Bistro Francais. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?A big old barn of a building on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank is now home to the much anticipated French restaurant, O Bistro Francais.

Following the arrows along the side of the building to a door crowned by a French flag, PieHole finds a new entrance, an interior whipped up in cloud-like shades of white and dove-gray, and familiar faces. Traditional French fare from the kitchen of chef Marc Fontaine is all the enticement we need to slide into a booth and indulge.
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RED BANK: RESTAURANT SAFETY ASSESSED

Get queasy at the very thought of restaurant inspection records? You might want to avoid this report by NJ.com, which looked at the most recent Monmouth County Regional Health Commission violation reports on all 194 Red Bank restaurants and food stores.

The good news?

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FAIR HAVEN: TRUCKTOBERFEST AT LAST


102916trucktoberfest11
102916trucktoberfest6After two postponements over the past month, Fair Haven’s inaugural Trucktoberfest finally livened up Fair Haven Fields Saturday, bringing a Halloween egg hunt, horse-driven hayrides, live music and food by the truckload. Check out
redbankgreen‘s photos below to see who you know(Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ALL THE WAY ON A BAGEL

102016bageloven3An everything bagel with the works at Bagel Oven.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Occasionally, lunchtime decisions can be complicated, especially in Red Bank, where there are so many options.

Keeping it simple after a morning of too many decisions, PieHole heads to Bagel Oven on Monmouth Street, where the menu is so limited that lunch becomes a no-brainer.

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RUMSON: “IT’S NO LONGER WHAT’S YOUR BEEF”

what's your beef 020416After a remodeling, What’s Your Beef will reopen Monday with a new name: Russell & Bette’s. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Seven months after restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and partners acquired What’s Your Beef in Rumson, alarming some stalwart customers, the remodeled restaurant will reopen Monday with a new name: Russell & Bette’s.

It will also boast another change that’s likely to get some snouts out of joint: the salad bar where customers used to line up and load up while awaiting their self-selected steaks has been eliminated, Schlossbach told redbankgreen Wednesday.

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CRAVINGS: SCAMPI PIE NOT A TRIVIAL MATTER

101816rubinoPieHole catches Jen Rubino pre-bite at Jamian’s Food and Drink. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsJamian’s Food and Drink gets testy on Tuesday nights as brainiacs and know-it-alls vie for points at a trivia contest that fills the Red Bank bar to capacity.

Jen Rubino, a 43-year-old borough resident and Italian teacher, has been showing up with her team from the beginning of the weekly showdown two years ago. Is it the camaraderie, the challenge — or maybe a craving for her favorite pizza that brings her out every week?
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? LOBSTER CORN DOGS

101516b2bistro5A Lobster Corn Dog, served on a stick at B2 Bistro and Bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?PieHole doesn’t always plan in advance, so on more than one occasion, our desire for a bite and a drink at B2 Bistro and Bar on Shrewsbury Avenue didn’t work out.

The question of whether we had a reservation surprised us on one evening. We told the hostess that we were there for a cocktail and quick bite, but our lack of a reservation meant that even the empty high-top tables were not offered to us. Her blank stare told us we were expected to move on.
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