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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A RETURN TO YESTERDAY

092615brothers3A pizza burger from The Brother’s Restaurant, with its disco-lit dining room below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092615brothers5

We hadn’t been back to Brother’s Restaurant in years. A town institution at the corner of West Front Street and Morford Place in Red Bank, it’s a throwback that’s perhaps taken for granted because it’s always been there.

That is, until it’s not there.

Back in January, the 100-plus-year-old building had a flood from a burst pipe, and leading to extensive repair work that shut the place down for a few months. For many in the Greater Red Bank Green, that was a blow, because this bar and pizzeria is the family restaurant that was the meeting place after a big game or dance recital. It’s nostalgic. So it was time for PieHole to stop by and see what if anything had changes since we last visited.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SLOW-BRAISED COMFORT

121014 zoe4The tender short rib sandwich comes with a mountain of made in-house potato chips. Below, the delicious crispy chicken sandwich.   (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121014 zoe2Strip mall restaurants, especially those with a closed facade, can sometimes surprise. Expectations dictate fast food and plastic seating, but at Zoe Bistro in the Markham Street Plaza in Little Silver, our assumptions were incorrect.

The large, modern dining room with its back-wall-spanning banquette, rustic farmhouse-style touches, and easy-on-the-eyes creamy beige color scheme sets an elegant tone.

The lunch menu offers a mix of Mediterranean specialties such as hummus, feta, and grilled octopus, as well as and more filling burgers, sandwiches, and entrees. All come with a gourmet touch.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? COMFORT FOOD W/ RIV VU

120414 potpieChicken pot pie at the International Bar in the Molly Pitcher Hotel. Below, the pot pie scooped out of its baking dish. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120414 potpie3The days of the Mad Men-style two-martini lunch have been over for decades, but there is a staunch holdout in Red Bank where you can still enjoy this throwback indulgence if you have the luxury of time.

With wood-paneled walls, carpeted floor, and a beckoning fireplace creating a dark, masculine, club feeling, the International Bar at the Molly Pitcher Inn makes a terrific traditional martini. A sense of luxurious comfort abounds, and the bar’s menu of standard American choices adds to that feeling of well-being.

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RED BANK: NEVER-ENDING SOUP SEASON

102914 soupmeisterGary Sable wraps up a lunch-to-go order for one of the many customers who wait patiently in line. Below, the 32-ounce Portuguese sausage and kale soup. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

102914 soupmeister2Twenty years ago, Red Bank was a veritable desert for takeout food. For this PieHole correspondent, then plying a different trade, there were maybe two or three delis in town to choose from for lunch.

Enter Gary Sable with his unique idea for a quick lunch: of hot dogs to go. Many of us were delighted to have a new option.

That Hot Dog Place, located off Monmouth Street in a little alley next to the Dublin House, was a convenient two-minute walk away, and appreciated, especially when the weather got colder. The only problem with that we soon tired of hot dogs.

One chilly autumn day, we sniffled our way over to Sable’s nook and told him how much we would prefer a hot cup of soup. It took him all of one day to add chicken noodle and tomato basil bisque to his menu. We have been grateful customers ever since.

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FAIR HAVEN: COUCH POTATO CUISINE

cravin haven (2)At Cravin Haven, Fair Haven’s Anthony Mazzucca is building some seriously big sandwiches. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Couch potatoes around The Green: put on your cleanest pair of dressy sweats and your going-out slippers, for it is time to worship and rejoice at the newest alter of salty meats and fried foods.

Cravin Havena lunch and dinner sandwich restaurant, has opened in the Acme Shopping Center on River Road in Fair Haven. PieHole stopped in to have a look at the renovated space and talk comfort food and cheesesteaks.

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