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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? RELIABLE FRIED CHICKEN

Lunch specials numbers 1 and 3 from Chicken Kitchen in Shrewsbury Plaza. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Shrewsbury Plaza in Shrewsbury has seen its share of transition, with businesses coming and going, but the Chicken Kitchen, shoehorned into a spot next to a tile store and a nail salon in the strip mall, can boast that it’s been there longer than most.

Matt Kascsak, the restaurant’s third owner, tells PieHole he was born the same year, 1982, that the restaurant was launched. Working for the second owner, he got a feel for what was good and what could be improved. Which was not a lot, apparently.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ‘ALL IN’ IN SEA BRIGHT

Shrimp, arugula and capellini pasta at the newly opened GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Admiring the new street lights installed as part of a streetscape makeover on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright earlier this week, PieHole spied the equally new GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant.

Located next door to Melonhead in a space that most recently housed the Black Swine restaurant, which moved to a larger spot a block away, Gigi’s turns out to be owned by familiar faces: chef Kenny Gambella and his wife, Kelly, who also own Sonny’s Sandwich Shop just down the street.

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RED BANK: YARN, SNEAKERS, JEWELRY & MORE

Customers at the community knitting table at Chelsea Yarns, which opened on Mechanic Street two weeks ago. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

A retail business moving into Red Bank from out of town. An existing business rebranding itself. Another one moving a few doors away. And a fourth calling it quits.

You might say this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has it all, churnwise.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TUSCAN OPULENCE

Tortelloni and house-made sausage from Buona Sera’s lunch menu. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

On a warmer-than-expected spring day, the flung-open doors of Buona Sera Italian Ristorante in Red Bank offer a welcoming sight.

At night the restaurant, at the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street, can be crowded with party-goers and dates trying to impress, but lunchtime is a different, quieter scene.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CLUCKIN’ GOOD CHICKEN

A grilled Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese sandwich from Cluck-U Chicken. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, did the culinary world a big favor when it invented what has become a widespread favorite, Buffalo wings. Just about every eatery on the Greater Green, it seems, has a variation of the recipe on the menu, but Cluck-U Chicken in Red Bank stays pretty close to the original.

Queuing up behind a lunchtime crowd in the City Centre strip mall restaurant, PieHole eavesdropped on customers placing orders while formulating its own plan to taste a few items.

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RED BANK: PARTIES TAP COUNCIL CANDIDATES

This year’s council candidates include Democrats Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard, center, and Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, right. Missing is Schwabenbauer running mate Dana McArthur. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The primary races for two Red Bank council seats will be uncontested in June, with the Democrats and Republicans having firmed up their two-person tickets Monday.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A READIE’S FISH FRY

The Buena Place fish fry combo platter, a recent addition to the menu at Readie’s Cafe. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Restaurants come and go in Red Bank, maybe more often than we like. But there are a few that can brag of longevity and customer loyalty.

Opened in 1957, Readie’s Café is celebrating a big anniversary this year. Tom Fishkin, owner since 2001, tells PieHole that the deli had its launch on Monmouth Street as the Village Pork Store the same year that Elsie’s Subs, another lunchtime institution, opened its doors. It became Readie’s Fine Foods under owner Jack Readie in the 1980s.
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RED BANK: RESTAURANT DECK PLAN SCRAPPED

26-w-front-elevation-011117A rendering of the remodeled former 10th Ave. Burrito Company building. An open-air deck proposed in January would now be enclosed under a revised plan. (Rendering by Cahill Studio. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The proposed conversion of the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company in Red Bank to an upscale seafood restaurant will have to wait at least two more weeks to move ahead.

The borough planning board scheduled a second hearing on the project Monday night after the West Front Street establishment’s new owner agreed to scrap plans for a second-floor deck.

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RED BANK: BOUTIQUES PLAN FASHION SHOW

The new rooftop deck at Teak, with the onetime borough hall in the background, is the setting for a fashion show featuring stylings by downtown shops. (Photo by Life as Fine Art. Click to enlarge)

Downtown Red Bank will be the scene of its first open-air fashion show in recent memory next month.

The aim of the event is to “showcase that retail is very much alive in our amazing little city,” said Angela Courtney, owner of the Sweetest Sin lingerie shop on White Street.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GUILT-FREE SWEETNESS

A “Stupid Cupid” from Playa Bowls. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

From the day it opened last month, Playa Bowls in Red Bank has drawn long lines of teens and tweens waiting to get inside, and the after-school and weekend mania hasn’t let up. This might give the impressions that one, it’s a place for kids, and two, that it’s a fad.

Time will tell if the craze lasts, but on the coldest day of the year so far, What’s For Lunch paid its first visit to the West Front Street business and found a full house of mixed-age customers at midday. Manager Robin Krieger tells us that many are employees of Riverview Medical Center, just two blocks east.

 

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RED BANK: TAPAS OUT; CLOTHES, ICE CREAM IN

The short-lived home of a Subway shop at 60 Broad is slated to open as Luigi’s Ice Cream. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

A restaurant departs as an ice cream shop and a clothing store prepare to open in downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

Details below.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A JIMMY JOHN’S SUB

The Jimmy John’s Italian Night Club sub. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumGleaming subway tiles and a mix of communal hightop tables and booths seem to be the template for modern fast food joints today.

The Jimmy John‘s franchise on West Front Street in Red Bank, with Gaslight Anthem bassist Alex Levine on board as a partner, has the decor and menu down to a science. But how does it stack up against other sub shops on the Greater Red Bank Green?
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CRAVINGS: A LIBRARIAN’S WEEKLY BENTO

Red Bank library director Elizabeth McDermott indulges her craving at Sogo Sushi. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

World traveler-turned-Red Bank Public Library director Elizabeth McDermott has a weekly itch that she scratches at Sogo Sushi on Monmouth Street: a bento box.

“It’s like comfort food to me,” says McDermott, whose previous job as a software consultant for Oracle took her all over the globe.

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RED BANK: APARTMENTS & EATERY ON DECK

Up for review at Monday night’s meeting of the Red Bank planning board: the Element, seen above, a 35-unit apartment complex proposed for a vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. The controversy-stirring plan could go to a final up-or-down vote.

Also scheduled: a proposed makeover for 26 West Front Street, right, last operated as Caliente Cantina, and not long before that, 10th Ave. Burrito Co. The plan calls for the addition of a 1,000-square-foot outdoor deck with views of the Navesink River. Here’s more info about the plan.

And here’s the full agenda for the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. (Renderings by Rotwein + Blake, above, and Cahill Studio, right. Click to enlarge)

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SOME FRESH BOWLS

A Cobb salad, at left, with Genoa pasta, right, and primavera pasta at Fresh Bowl. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

A deja vu feeling came over us as we checked out the new Fresh Bowl, on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank. It resembles its predecessor, Salad Works, in layout, but owner Giuseppe Amato, has made some interesting and tasty additions to what was an all-salad menu.

A Wednesday special of two pasta bowls for the price of one  caught our eye. A bargain such as this is hard to pass up: we can always bring home the leftovers for dinner.

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RED BANK: TWO HOMEWARE SHOPS CLOSING

Pickett & White, operating at 15 Broad Street for just a year, plans to close, an employee tells Churn. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

Two home-themed retail shops that have operated in downtown Red Bank for only about a year are calling it rolling up their welcome mats, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

One specialized in home decor, while the other staked its claim on marinades, sauces and household tchotchkes with a southern American flavor.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? WAWA’D YA THINK?

110516wawa5Wawa’s Italian hoagie. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Long before a video espousing a similar message (albeit with coarser language) went viral this week,
several PieHole fans strongly urged us to include Wawa in our eternal quest for superior subs.

One eyebrow raised in deep skepticism, we decided to bite, and paid a visit to the ubiquitous convenience chain’s store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: BOWLING FOR FOOD DOLLARS

The scene at the newly opened Playa Bowls last Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has news on three downtown eateries: one that’s doing gangbuster business, one that got a recent makeover, and one that’s calling it quits.

Details follow…

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUPER SUB AT ELSIE’S

The #15 Italian sub from the 58-year-old Elsie’s Sub Shop in Red Bank.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

On a visit to Elsie’s Sub Shop in Red Bank back in September, PieHole met Michael Mullins, a retiree from Middletown now living in Arizona. Whenever he returns to his Monmouth County roots, he told us, he makes a point of stopping at Elsie’s.

“In 1959, I’d take the bus down to the Carlton Theater [now the Count Basie Theatre] from Middletown. Back then the bus was ten cents,” he said. “Before I caught the bus to go home, I’d stop at Elsie’s for a number five,” or a turkey-and-cranberry-sauce sub.

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RUMSON: SALT CREEK EVENT TO BENEFIT 180

Left to right: presenting the flag in preparation for the annual Salt Creek Grille wine and martini tasting benefit are Lynn Lucarelli, 180 Director of Development; Robert Fouratt, 180 Board President & Managing Partner of The Curchin Group; Cindi Westendorf, Program Cooridinator of 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program; Anna Diaz-White, 180 Executive Director; Robin Fitzmaurice, VP Two River Community Bank (Presenting Sponsor); Rob Habel, Beverage Manager; Steve Bidgood, Co-Owner, Salt Creek Grille and Mark Shopene, General Manager. (photos by McKay Imaging)

Press release from Salt Creek Grille

In the state of New Jersey, an act of domestic violence happens every 7.29 minutes and, alarmingly, in 31 percent of all domestic violence offenses children are involved or present.

Based in Monmouth County, 180 Turning Lives Around is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence in our community. It has served individuals and families who have been affected by domestic and sexual violence since 1976 — and on Thursday, April 6, the organization will be the beneficiary of an annual fundraising event at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille.

Since 2004, Salt Creek Grille’s Wine and Martini Tasting Fundraiser has raised approximately $900,000 for a variety of charitable and nonprofit organizations in the local area, with the restaurant designating a different beneficiary each year. With this year’s 14th annual event, co-owner and local philanthropist Steve Bidgood’s goal is to reach the $1 million mark of funds raised for local charities.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PAZZO SANDWICHES

Grilled chicken pesto panini, served with a side salad. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Keeping track of how many years it’s been in Red Bank is easy at Pazzo MMX. Architecturally defined by its red brick facade and bound between an office building and a parking garage on West Front Street, the start date is in the name, which translates from Italian to “crazy 2010.”

PieHole stopped in at lunchtime this week to find a bustling dining room and the aroma of garlic wafting from the open kitchen, where you can keep an eye on every dish delivered.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A BITE AT BUBBAKOO’S

Customize your meal by mixing and matching ingredients in a bowl, burrito or taco at Bubbakoo’s Burritos. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

For this week’s What’s For Lunch, PieHole takes a a lighthearted romp through a menu of fun ingredients at the new Bubbakoo’s Burritos on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

Taking some of the best features from other fast food joints on the Greater Red Bank Green — such as the ordering system at Jersey Mike’s Subs, where you watch as your plate gets prepared conveyer-belt fashion— and Surf Taco, where light menu options offset the heavier ones, Bubbakoo’s creates quick meals prepared from fresh, made-in-house ingredients.
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RED BANK: FOOTWEAR, FRUIT BOWLS, FACIALS

The Doc Shoppe, which moved to Red Bank from Fair Haven in 2014, plans to close at the end of March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank’s last-remaining shoe store is closing.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn includes news on the departure of the Doc Shoppe; the opening of an exotic-fruit bar and café; and plans by a high-end beauty products retailer to open downtown. Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HOWLING GOOD PIZZA

012417lupo1A “Grandma” pie fresh from the oven at Lupo Pizzeria. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?A sign cut out in the shape of howling wolf hangs at the corner of the building that’s home to the brand-new Lupo Pizzeria in Fair Haven, named in honor of a great-grandmother whose last name means “wolf” in Italian.

So of course, feeling a bit like Red Riding Hood, PieHole had to try the “Grandma” pie.

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