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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BRUNCH, AT GAETANO’S

090316gaetanos6French toast garnished with fresh berries from the brunch menu at Gaetano’s. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Taking a metaphorical broom to the cobwebs left behind in Tom Capello’s old restaurant, Louis Andrianos, the new owner of Gaetano’s on Wallace Street in Red Bank, leaves PieHole gobsmacked by the refreshing updates he’s instituting.

Gone are the stale Sinatra-era infused soundtrack and the granny-style oilcloth-covered tables, replaced with more contemporary stylings. The menu’s also been altered to include a daily brunch.
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SEA BRIGHT: BRUNCH MAKES A BEACHHEAD

061415amaviewThe dining deck at Ama, with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Below, a brunchtime bloody Mary. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061415ama1For many years, options for Sunday brunch, the 10-to-2 repast that invites an eat-whatever-you’re-in-the-mood-for approach to breakfast and lunch, were limited on the Greater Red Bank Green.

Our only choices were expensive buffets at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn and Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, both of which required reservations and adherence to dress codes.

But the boom of new restaurants in Red Bank and Sea Bright has brought more a la carte options for brunch-seekers.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ‘BIG EASY’ EGGS BENEDICT

030315 turning point3The Big Easy Benedict at the Turning Point. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

030315 turning point2Appetite and easy parking were all the motivation PieHole needed to stop in for a quick breakfast-for-lunch at the Turning Point on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver.

Grabbing a stool at the sturdy oak coffee bar next to a woman who had just ordered a big bowl of oatmeal for lunch, we weren’t the only ones seduced by the smell of fresh coffee, the breakfast-all-day options and the clever menu selections.

“I don’t know why,” she said, “but the oatmeal here always comes out creamier than at home.”

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SEA BRIGHT: HEARTY FOOD, BY THE BOOK

120414 Alices3The Gaelic omelet at Alice’s Kitchen contains a little bit of this and that, just like those Alice Gaffney, below, remembers from her native Ireland. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120414 Alices2When Arlo Guthrie penned his famous “Alice’s Restaurant,” he didn’t have Alice Gaffney in mind: she was an ocean away from the scene of the Thanksgiving Day “massacree.” But that line, “you can get anything you want…” pretty much applies to Alice’s Kitchen, Gaffney’s restaurant in Sea Bright.

In addition to enjoying her varied breakfast and lunch offerings at the Ocean Avenue eatery, you can now take a book home with you for free.

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RED BANK: GROWING MENU AT WHIPPED BITES

whipped bites 15Nick Napoletano gives PieHole a sneak peak of the new savory crepes menu at Whipped Bites.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumWhipped Bites is busy. The dessert café and creperie on the corner of Broad and Monmouth streets in Red Bank has been in a near-constant state of transformation since this summer, when Nick Napoletano and his girlfriend Erica Lieberman took over the lease on the space from chef Marc Fontaine, who had been making crepes in the location.

When the couple first took over the space, it was a hodgepodge collection of tables and chairs, with empty refrigerator cases and a small sign in the window that read “crepes.”  Despite the less-than-inviting space, the Nutella crepes were enough to keep PieHole coming back again. And again.  Though frankly, we’d eat Nutella crepes while crouching over a cardboard box in a shipping container and still ask for seconds.

But over the past few months, the couple has revamped the café into a comfortable, welcoming space that invites you to take a seat and leisurely enjoy a coffee with your crepe or dessert.

Napoletano says the café is doing a brisk breakfast business, especially for Sunday brunch when it offers specials like Grand Marnier French Toast or Champagne-infused Belgian Waffles, and draws a steady after dinner crowd on Friday and Saturday nights.

Now, after sweetening up the space and honing the dessert side of the business, Napoletano is in the process of revamping the savory spectrum of the cafe’s menu. PieHole caught up with him as he was finalizing the new menu.
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