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GET READY FOR A SMOOCHFEST

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Remember those great old Valentines that used to run each year in the classified sections of newspapers? Getting one was a thrill. But just sitting and reading them was a delight, too — a window on the ways people saw their relationships, and a great showcase of love, lust, affection, pathos and laugh-out-loud humor.

On February 14, redbankgreen will launch its first-ever Valentine’s page, which we’re calling Smooch. It’s a place where lovers, swooners and others aglow with amore can send their beloved a special message while proclaiming their love to the world.

But unlike the Valentine’s messages newspapers used to print, this one’s both mess-free and interactive, and comes with nice prizes.

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RED BANK: TIME-LAPSE OF VANISHING BREAD

NJ.com video reporter and Red Bank resident Brian Donohue and a colleague set up time-lapse cameras in the bread aisle of two supermarkets, including the SuperFoodtown on Broad Street, to capture a slice of the predictable, pre-blizzard stockup on staples Friday. Enjoy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: DUXIANA DEPARTS; SUSHI COMING

37 broad 011416The Duxiana store has vacated the building dubbed the Temple of Fashion, built in 1894. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn: a flurry of activity to report from Broad Street in Red Bank, including:

• a new vacancy in a historic building in the center of the downtown

• the recent opening of Red Bank Family Pharmacy

• plans for a new sushi restaurant

Plus, there’s interesting news about a new restaurant coming to the Grove in Shrewsbury.

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RED BANK: PET SHOP CITED FOR NOTICE ISSUES

just_inA Red Bank pet shop was among more than two dozen retailers statewide cited for violating a law aimed at giving consumers more information about animals for sale, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office said Monday.

Bark Avenue Puppies, on East Front Street, was cited for 50 alleged violations of amendments to the Pet Purchase Protection Act that went into effect last year, according to the state.

Gary Hager, who acquired the shop last summer, told redbankgreen that he had been unaware of the law, and “immediately rectified” the problems upon being notified by the Department of Community Affairs in August.

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RED BANK: MR. PIZZA SOLD; SICILIA CLOSES

mr. pizza slice 010116Two downtown restaurateurs have acquired Mr. Pizza Slice on Monmouth Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallA non-nonsense staple from the days before Red Bank became flooded with chic eateries, Mr. Pizza Slice has changed hands for the second time in two years.

This time, the buyers are the owners of two downtown restaurants. They closed the pizzeria last week for what they expect will be a month or so of interior and exterior renovations, one of them told redbankgreen’s Retail Churn Monday.

Also closed last week: Sicilia Cafe, on Broad Street, which was acquired by first-time restaurateurs just six months ago.

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FAIR HAVEN: HALFACRE JOINS BEER DEALERS

mike halfacre 2007Former Fair Haven mayor Mike Halfacre, who left his job of three years as head of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control division to join a law firm last May, is changing jobs again. He’s just been hired as executive director of the Beer Wholesalers Association of New Jersey. He’ll continue as “of counsel” to the Newark law firm of Genova Burns, working on select matters, he tells redbankgreen. (Archive photo from 2007. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: 10TH AVE. BARMAN SMOKES ‘EM

dudley delhagen 080515 2Dudley Delhagen, bar manager at 10th Ave. Burrito Company in Red Bank, was named the winner of a national contest to come up with a new cocktail using DeKuyper’s-brand cordials Monday.

Launched in September, the contest invited bartenders across America to craft a signature cocktail; fans were then asked to vote for their favorite creation online. Delhagen’s employed the company’s JDK & Son Fleur Elderflower Liqueur. A press release announcing Delhagen as DeKuyper’s first-ever “cocktail master” described his concoction as “the perfect balance of sweet and smoky.”

The recipe for Delhagen’s creation, called the Smoked Blossom, is below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAYRAP SITE?

RayRap site 121015 2The zoning board shot down a plan to build 22 townhouses and condos on a parcel bound by Clay Street, Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, throwing the future of the site into uncertainty. (Google Earth image courtesy of Ray Rapcavage. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It’s hard to avoid the use of the word “eyesore” when talking about the RayRap site at the Five Corners in Red Bank.

With a vacant lot that was once home to a gas station; the burned husk of a house destroyed by fire; and another notorious for having once been spray-painted black — windows, shingles and all — it’s easily one of the borough’s least visually gratifying parcels. The fact that it sits on a heavily traveled street bordering the downtown and a residential area only heightens the effect.

So now that the zoning board has shot down a plan to develop the site with 22 new homes, what happens? Are we stuck with an eyesore forever?

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FAIR HAVEN: OLD BUILDINGS TO BE JOINED

810 River Road elevation 120915 2Architect Matt Cronin’s design would link the two River Road buildings shown below with a new glass-filled central section. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh 810 812-14 riv rd 120815A plan to connect a pair of 150-year-old structures in Fair Haven with a window-filled central addition elicited unanimous praise from the planning board Wednesday night.

ForeFront Incorporated, a web tech firm headquartered in a stately Victorian two doors away, intends to use the conjoined buildings as expansion office space, company principal Michel Berger told the board.

With a patio, yoga space and “mom’s room,” it’s designed to attract millenial coders and developers to his company, where the average employee is 24 years old, Berger said.

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SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

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RED BANK: ZONERS ZAP RAYRAP PLAN

bill brooks 120315 2Resident Bill Brooks studies a RayRap exhibit prior to the zoning board hearing. Below, a rendering of the proposed six-unit condo building that would front on Harding Road at Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815After a half-dozen hearings over 16 months and numerous revisions, a plan for 22 condos and townhouses on the edge of downtown Red Bank failed to win zoning board approval Thursday night.

Board members told developer Ray Rapcavage that though they appreciated his flexibility in accommodating the concerns of nearby residents, he hadn’t gone far enough.

“It’s just too dense,” said board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia, whose motion to reject the plan was backed by all but one other board member. Read More »

RED BANK: YOUR 15 MINUTES HAVE ARRIVED

rb white meter 112415One of the new 15-minute meters on Broad Street, near White Street(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Street meters, off-street meters, permits, kiosks, an app: now, add one more element to the Red Bank parking mix.

The borough recently installed nine white meters on downtown streets to enable shoppers to park for just 15 minutes, at 25 cents a pop.

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CHURN: FAST GREEK AND EASY WEDDINGS

lyristis bros 111615Brothers George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis plan to open Greek Eats on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of Retail Churn:

• Three brothers with a long track record as linen-napkin restaurateurs open a fast-food eatery rooted in their Greek heritage Tuesday.

• A wedding planning business that has its roots in a flower shop throws off a new shoot in Red Bank.

• A ginormous pharmacy chain opens a controversial store here.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP TRAFFIC PLAN RAPPED

rayrap 110515 1Planning consultant John Jahr addresses a question from Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan as builder Ray Rapcavage props up an exhibit Thursday night. Below, a view of the six-unit condo building fronting on Harding Road, which was to have been a greenmarket. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815For the fifth time, developer Ray Rapcavage has revised his plans for a residential development on the edge of downtown Red Bank, this time to accommodate complaints that eight homes on Hudson Avenue were too close to the street.

But nearby residents voiced concerns at a zoning board hearing Thursday night that the 22-unit project would worsen traffic and parking on an already busy and narrow street.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP PLAN ON ZONING AGENDA

rayrap clay 011515rayrap 090315 2Developer Ray Rapcavage is scheduled to return to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his proposal to build 22 homes on a block bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street. Hearings on the original plan began in August, 2014, with a nine-month interim during which the proposal was revised.

Another project, the proposed 35-unit Element, opposite Riverside Gardens Park at 55 West Front Street, was also to have been heard, but has been rescheduled for December 10, according to a revised board agenda(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)