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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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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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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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SEA BRIGHT: RUM RUNNER RESURRECTED

rum runner 050316 2The bar in a glass-walled room one patron called “the aquarium” offers panoramic views of the Shrewsbury River. Below right, restaurant principal Tim McLoone with an opening-night guest. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

tim mcloone 050316Three and a half years after the original was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy, McLoone’s Rum Runner reopened Tuesday night in the form of dazzling behemoth of a “jewel box” beside the Shrewsbury River in Sea Bright.

Above the river, actually. Unlike its modest predecessor, which sat barely above high-tide, the new one is elevated to keep all but the lowest part of a stairwell dry even during the worst storm surge, and provide parking underneath at other times, said its designers.

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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: 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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RED BANK: SUBWAY ARRIVES FOUR YEARS LATE

rb subway 031716just_inFour and a half years after it won planning board approval, a Subway sandwich shop finally opened for business at 60 Broad Street in Red Bank Thursday morning.

The debut ends a saga that included years of inactivity, an eviction by the landlord and the signing of a second Subway franchisee. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: A TASTE FOR VOLUNTEERING

The Oyster Point Hotel 3Press release from Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County

On the evening of Monday, May 16, The Oyster Point Hotel will be the host venue as Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County hosts its inaugural food and wine tasting event, A Taste for Homes. Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., the event celebrates the impact and difference that volunteers and companies can make to providing people in the community with a decent place to live.

Over two dozen local vendors and restaurants are slated to participate in the tasting event, with all proceeds going to support the organization’s efforts this year throughout their service territory that covers 83 percent of Monmouth County.

During the event the nonprofit organization will pay tribute to a set of individual and corporate honorees, in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!”

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RED BANK: EATING ‘CLEAN’ TO SAVE HER LIFE

Amie Valpone returns Monday to Red Bank’s Front St. Trattoria, where she once waited tables, to promote “Eating Clean,” her memoir and cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Valpone_EatingCleanAmie Valpone was a healthy woman in her early 20’s when a cascade of ailments began, taking her to the brink of death.

Battling numerous diseases and beyond the help of conventional medicine, Valpone said she spent most of the following decade curing herself through better eating — and clearing her body of toxins.

Now 33, she’s chronicled her journey in a new book, titled “Eating Clean,” which tells the the story of “how food saved my life,” Valpone told PieHole last week. Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BELLYING UP AT SURF BBQ

041616surfbbqsandwichesAbove, a smoked-brisket sandwich, left, and a pulled pork sandwich. Below, smoked maraschino cherries at the bar. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

041616surfbbqcherriesPieHole had been itching to try Surf BBQ in Rumson for lunch, but the newly opened East River Road restaurant and bar hasn’t yet expanded its hours and is only serving lunch on weekends.

Last Saturday, we finally made it there, and found the place not too busy at mid-afternoon, with no wait at the counter and plenty of available seating at the bar and picnic tables. Maybe everyone was attending their kids’ T-Ball games or working on landscaping, but we think we’ve found a sweet-spot in this smokin’ hot restaurant’s schedule.

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