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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EARLY DINNER IN RUMSON

Vegetarian French onion soup with complimentary pimento cheese and crackers at the bar of Russell and Bette’s.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Skipping lunch in lieu of a date for early happy hour at Rumson’s charming new Russell and Bette’s on West River Road proves to be smart thinking, as PieHole finds a superabundance of dining choices here.

Pansy-filled window boxes and white stucco give the outside of the restaurant a cheerful veneer. Inside, we find an engaging old-world mood, with dark wood paneling and brick interior walls. Vintage stained glass chandeliers add color, while the bar to the right of the entrance is original to its predecessor, What’s Your Beef.

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ON THE GREEN: A TIME-TRIPPING WEEKEND

The Allen House in Shrewsbury’s Historic District is just one of many history-kissed homes, museums and houses of worship open for public perusal during the annual Weekend in Old Monmouth.

It’s a step back in time that includes Little Silver’s Parker Homestead — at more than 350 years of age, a house that’s every bit as old as the colony of New Jersey; the homes and graves of rebel patriots and Tories alike; and centuries-old structures that have served as worship houses, museums and even venues for some Reckless Steamy Nights.

If it’s the first Saturday and Sunday in May, this must be the Weekend in Old Monmouth — and if you’re sufficiently curious about the rich history of the place where you live, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with the Greater Red Bank Green’s historic sites.

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RED BANK: JAZZED AND ENCHANTED

Master of ceremonies Bob Tuzzo (above) and the Belle Tones (below) are among the performers joining Joe Muccioli’s Red Bank Jazz Orchestra Saturday night at the Two River Theater.

The partnership of the borough-based nonprofit Jazz Arts Project with the Count Basie Theatre has yielded some swingin’ly successful results, from the young-musician Jazz Arts Academy to April’s recently wrapped Talkin’ Jazz series; and from December’s annual Sinatra Birthday Bash to other big-stage events showcasing our very own Red Bank Jazz Orchestra.

That said, just as Red Bank’s connection to America’s classical music is bigger even than the legendary “Kid from Red Bank” Count himself, so too does the Jazz Arts brand bust out of the boundaries of the Basie from time to time — witness the summertime slate of open-air concerts at Riverside Gardens, or the Summer Jazz Cafe series that candle-lights up the warm weekend nights at Two River Theater.

This Saturday night, the organization under the artistic direction of conductor-arranger-scholar Joe “Mooche” Muccioli returns to the Two River stage for the latest edition of what’s fast become a rhythmic rite of spring — the fundraiser concert event known as ‘An Enchanted Evening of Song.’

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RED BANK: FISH KILL INVESTIGATED

navesink fish 051415 1Dead fish at the Navesink River Rowing facility in Red Bank in 2015. Another widespread die-off of menhaden, or bunker fish, has been underway in the river in recent days, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is investigating, according to a report by NJ.com.

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RED BANK: A FORTUNE HAPPY HOUR

The T. Thomas Fortune House, as it appeared in November and as it’s expected to appear after rehabilitation. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Not so many months ago, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank was a place whose own fortunes were in doubt, prior to the announcement of a development deal (reported here in redbankgreen) that set the deteriorating structure on the path to a new life as a community resource “dedicated to human rights, journalistic integrity, (and) advancement for all people.”

The announcement was certainly a happy one for the volunteers of the T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee — and on Thursday, May 25, the nonprofit entity hosts “a festive night out to celebrate the rebirth, now underway, of the National Historic Landmark and support the opening of our soon to be T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center,” as well as the legacy of the pioneering 19th century African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

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LINCROFT: ROOM FOR TWO MORE, AT UUCMC

Folk singer Joe Crookston takes the mic at the Unitarian Meetinghouse this Saturday at the latest in the slate of Earth Room Concerts.

A little more than a year since sounding its first note in spring 2016, the Earth Room Concert Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation has established itself as a successful and genuinely “alternative” outpost in the midst of a big music-mad backyard.

Even as other area towns and venues have made a name for themselves as go-to places for classical music, jazz, blues, bluegrass and rock, the organizers of the Earth Room series sensed something of a deficit when it came to connecting folk music fans with national/international touring acts — the kind who often couldn’t stake out a place to play, other than the odd summertime festival.

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RED BANK: SICKLES BREWS BOOSKERDOO DEAL

The Anderson Storage building, where ‘Sickles Market Provisions’ plans to occupy the ground floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sickles Market, the Little Silver grocer that traces its roots back 350 years, has partnered with the fast-growing Booskerdoo coffee-shop chain on its planned foray into Red Bank, the two companies announced Tuesday.

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LINCROFT: ART AND MUSIC FEST IS A BIG TENT

Live artist demos are just some of the attractions at Thompson Park during Saturday’s Creative Arts and Music Festival.

While it doesn’t really qualify as a “best kept secret,” the annual Creative Arts and Music Festival in Lincroft does keep a bit of a low profile, relative to such  parking-lot-packers as last weekend’s Red Bank International Beer Wine and Food Fest.

But if your idea of a mid-spring’s afternoon is to enjoy a comfortably paced introduction to some of the Greater Red Bank Green’s  most inspired purveyors of sight and sound — mixed with ample breathing room, free admission, and plenty of free parking — then Saturday’s daylong happening at Thompson Park could be just the pre-season appetizer you’re looking for.

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RED BANK: CRIMES AND ARRESTS

The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of April X to April 15, 2017. This information is unedited. For additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

CRIMES

Theft: On 4-23-17 in the area of Broad St it was reported that a wallet was taken from a table. The wallet is described as a black Louis Vuitton wallet with brown logos on it valued at $800.00. The wallet contained $200 cash, several credit cards, NJ license. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

Criminal Mischief: On 04-27-17 in the area of Broad St it was reported that a door to a business was attempted to be forced open. Multiple scratches around door lock and frame partially bent causing an estimate of $500.00 in damages. Ptl. David Smith.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANT PLAN STILL IN FLUX

A rendering shows the proposed roof deck on the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company building, as seen from Union Street. (Rendering by Michael Unger. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After two planning board hearings, a proposal to convert the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company space in Red Bank to an upscale seafood restaurant remained undecided Monday night.

Still at issue: the impact of a planned roof deck on residences in the condo building next door.

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RUMSON: POLICE BLOTTER

Crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Rumson Police Department for April, 2017. For additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

Arrests

4/2/17 – Christopher Defelice, 26, of Red Bank was arrested for Eluding by Ptl. Michael Berger.

4/6/17 – Daniel Pilszak, 34, of South Amboy was arrested for Credit Card Theft and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card by D/Sgt. Christopher Isherwood.

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RED BANK: ART, ABANDONED AND SEDUCTIVE

Ellen Martin’s ‘Abandoned’ series of photographs (above) are on display beginning Thursday at the Oyster Point.

From painted portraits of nature’s splendor to photographic captures of commercial ruins and other scenes of gorgeous desolation, the galleries  of the Greater Red Bank Green offer up an eyeful in the days and nights to come with an art walk that begins Thursday evening with a new installation on the walls and walkways of the Oyster Point Hotel.

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RED BANK: FRAMES, FLOWERS AND BEARD CARE

The New York Shaving Company has leased 65 Broad Street, at the corner of Wallace Street, according to the broker. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See corrections]

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallRed Bank is about to get another tonsorial parlor, one whose arrival would end a sore-thumb vacancy in the heart of town, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

Also in Churn: we identify the business that’s taking over the former Prown’s Home Improvements space on Monmouth Street, in the building that’s about to be acquired by the Red Bank Charter School.

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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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RED BANK: RIVER BACTERIA SOURCES LOCATED

Busted sanitary sewer lines in two locations along Marion Street in Red Bank were significant sources of bacteria winding up in the Navesink off Fair Haven, investigators said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Environmentalists and government officials have found two culprits, just yards apart in Red Bank, believed to be contributing to a spike in human waste bacteria in the Navesink River, they said Thursday night.

And the mystery could not have been solved without a trio of specially trained sniffing dogs, an ecstatic Clean Ocean Action leader Cindy Zipf told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: FOOD FEST TO PACK PARKING LOT

More than 20 local food purveyors will be present  when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.

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RED BANK: ‘BEAUTY’ ON THE BASIE STAGE

The interlude between the end of April and beginning of May signals the traditional rising up of a real Red Bank institution — Phoenix Productions, the borough-based theatrical company that for more than two decades has presented its musical entertainments on the boards of one of the region’s most legendary stages: the Count Basie Theatre.

This Saturday sees the curtain go up on the first of the 2017 offerings from the Phoenix fun factory — and, it as they did with last year’s season-opening production of The Little Mermaid, the troupe will be delving into the Disney Broadway playbook for a fresh and family-friendly staging of the romantic fantasy perennial, Beauty and the Beast.

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RED BANK: 5K TO RUN AGAIN IN 2018

Runners head down Branch Avenue in the 2015 edition of the George Sheehan Classic, which was cancelled a year later. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Filling a gap left by the departure of the George Sheehan Classic a year ago, Red Bank will again host a 5k race in June, 2018. And this one will be run entirely within the town’s borders.

The borough council gave a green light Wednesday night to the event, which is being organized by the Red Bank Business Alliance.

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RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

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