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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A FRESH TAKE ON TAPAS

110815belmonte2An unusual adaptation of taquitos, above, and a glass of made-to-order sangria, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110815belmonte4Gone are the heavy velvet drapes and dark, brooding atmosphere that once decorated Red in Red Bank. Renovated and re-dubbed the Belmonte, the Broad Street restaurant and bar with the panoramic front window is now lighter, brighter and much more inviting.

A cool, marble-topped bar elicits a bit of Old World charm. Banquettes lining the walls promise comfort, while high-top tables arranged down the center aisle of the room offer a variety of seating or standing options: playing off the primarily tapas menu, it’s a mixture of this and that.

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RED BANK: TALKIN’ TURKEY DOWNTOWN

downtown turkey burger 061915A turkey burger, with a view, at the Downtown in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels smallLet’s talk turkey: when it comes to the piquant aromas of summer, ground turkey on the grill is not the first thing that comes to mind. Has a turkey burger ever kicked anyone’s salivary system into high drool as surely as an onion-studded patty of juicy, red beef?

Still, even in summer, variety and health consciousness occasionally nudge PieHole in the direction of the turkey burger when we crave a hot, meaty sandwich, even if we’re a bit dubious it can come close to a real burger on flavor.

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RED BANK: ANOTHER RESTAURANT APPROVED

18 broad 061315At 18 Broad Street, now concealed by scaffolding, the Art Deco foyer seen below will be replaced by one more reminiscent of the building’s 19th-century origins, the architect said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

18 broad 040615Accelerating downtown Red Bank’s flight from retail to food, the zoning board approved the conversion of a longtime shoe store to a restaurant Thursday night.

Dominating the two-hour hearing were two issues: whether the new owner of 18 Broad Street should be permitted to have three apartments upstairs, rather than the two allowed under the zoning ordinance, and whether the Art Deco foyer should be saved or replaced.

Barely mentioned: the impact of the 76-seat restaurant on parking.

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RED BANK: FOCUS ON FOYER WINDOWS

18 broad 040615The foyer of the former If the Shoe Fits store is the last remaining example of Art Deco design downtown, say preservationists. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[UPDATE: The zoning board meeting on the 18 Broad Street proposal was cancelled. The application was rescheduled for June 18.]

18 broad 010715A proposal to turn a former downtown Red Bank shoe store into a restaurant and replace its distinctive curved-glass entryway is slated for review at Thursday night’s zoning board meeting.

Preservationists have raised concerns about the plan for 18 Broad Street, which is located in the historic district, because, they say, it would eliminate the last remaining example of Art Deco design in the commercial district.

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CHURN: FRESH STARTS DOWNTOWN

14 w front 041315The building at 14 West Front Street, center above, has changed hands. The white one next door is the site of a proposed roof deck for the Downtown, at far right.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn takes note of news at three key downtown properties.

Two are in the heart of a strip of businesses undergoing rapid change on West Front Street.

The other, on Broad Street, is marking the completion of an overhaul that’s been underway for more than three years.

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RED BANK: MORE TABLES COMING?

12 w front 111114The owners of the Downtown, at right above, hope to expand into the vacant retail space at left for more seating, including a rooftop dining area. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThe already head-spinning rate at which downtown Red Bank is abandoning retail in favor of restaurants may soon accelerate.

Borough officials are weighing two new change-of-use proposals for eateries in the district.

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RED BANK: OWNER VOWS ‘NOT ANOTHER FIXX’

rb gotham 060514Gotham Lounge will have a dress code, a partner in the business said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_02By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to head off misconceptions, a partner in the Gotham Lounge, a proposed Red Bank nightclub, promises an “upscale, sophisticated” speakeasy-themed place with a dress code.

Joseph Squillaro tells redbankgreen that the Broad Street club will be respectful of local sensitivities.

“I know how important it is to the town that they not have another Chubby’s there, not another Fixx” he said, referring by the former and current names of a West Front Street bar that authorities shut down for three weeks earlier this year following two street melees within a month last fall.

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RED BANK: POWER OF DE VITO

Joe-DeVitoFunnyman Joe De Vito returns to The Downtown for a Friday night fracas, another Covert operation from the Jersey Jokers stable.

Red Bank may no longer be able to boast its own dedicated “Chuckle Hut” sort of comedy club, but it’s got something infinitely more valuable than another brick wall, low ceiling and two-drink minimum — it’s got Chris Covert, sandwich sculptor to the stars, and a man whose not-so-secret night gig (as impresario of the Jersey Jokers comedy collective) has almost single-handedly kept the laugh light burning for a new generation of standup stalwarts in and around the borough. Tonight — as he’s done every first Thursday of the month, for as long as anyone can recall — Covert plays ringmaster to an Open Mic Comedy card that commences 8 pm upside the Dublin House on Monmouth Street. Get there early for sign-up if you’d like to test your own comic kung foo at the friendliest “tough room” in the area — or just enjoy the show, and if you’d like to keep the laughter going, take it over to Front Street on Friday night, where Covert and company will be welcoming back a special guest stander-upper to the Downtown.

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RED BANK: NIGHTCLUB EYES BROAD STREET

rb gotham 060414Gotham Lounge would feature bars on two floors. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_02By JOHN T. WARD

Vacant for just a month, the former Red Bank home of Hamilton Jewelers could become a swank nightclub if approved by town planning officials.

A Shrewsbury anesthesiologist, Ted Kutzin, has proposed converting the storefront at 19 Broad Street into the Gotham Lounge, a “high-end bar/lounge with tapas food and occasional entertainment,” according to documents filed recently with the town planning office.

Gotham would become part of an rapid overhaul of upper Broad Street that includes half a dozen new restaurants, as well as two that have already failed, and another that’s about to add 200 seats to a competitive dining market. It would also join Red and the Downtown in competing for clubgoers.

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SEA BRIGHT: PAINT JOB TO END WITH BLAST

sb paint 1 051314 sb paint 2 051314Sea Bright’s business district is getting a free paint job this week, courtesy of Benjamin Moore, and the town plans to celebrate with a party this Saturday.

The free event, hosted by the paint manufacturer, is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a parking lot near the Hurricane Sandy-destroyed former post office, and will feature food from borough restaurants, a DJ, a scavenger hunt and the creation of a mural.   (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

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RED BANK: VALET PARKING GETS FEWER SPOTS

rb valet 2 032814A drop-off area outside Char Steakhouse has been eliminated under changes to the Broad Street valet parking program, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park_it_021Love it or hate it, downtown Red Bank’s valet parking service about to undergo some more changes.

Red Bank RiverCenter, the special improvement district overseer, has taken over administrative control of the program, which was previously loosely run by individual stores and restaurants, said agency executive director Jim Scavone.

In addition, two zones – one for drop-off and one for pick-up – have been reduced to one since Monday night. That means this weekend will be the first test of whether the new arrangement – which is actually a reversion to the original set-up – will be adequate, said Scavone, who plans to work Thursday night to observe the activity.

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RED BANK: PARTYING IN THE NEW YEAR

The bubbly flowed, hips shook and lips locked as Red Bank bars welcomed the start of 2014 Tuesday night, as captured in these photos by redbankgreen‘s Peter Lindner. Police responded to a number of slip-and-falls, and there was one DWI arrest – but overall, New Year’s Eve was a routine night for the RBPD, according to Chief Darren McConnell. (Photos by Peter Lindner.)

SEA BRIGHT: FOCUS ON STALLED BUSINESSES

A volunteer group wants to help owners of vacant stores spruce up their properties.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A group of Sea Bright residents is asking the borough to reach out to businesses that have stalled in the post-Sandy recovery process.

With a campaign for sand replenishment, a fundraiser to replace lost beach equipment, an open-house on recovery construction and more efforts already under its belt, Seabrighters Embracing Action – a community group that formed in February to help the town and each other recover from Hurricane Sandy – is now turning its attention to matters of appearance.

“We’re asking the town to enforce the codes when it comes to businesses that aren’t cleaning up,” SEA founder Heather Bedenko said Tuesday night after the bimonthly borough council meeting. Closed businesses “are like black eyes on the town. We have businesses opening up between two half-demolished places,” she said.

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RED BANK: A TOUCHY-FEELY SIDEWALK SALE

Downtown Red Bank is always a great people-watching scene, and that was the case when bargainhunters flooded the sidewalks for the 59th annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale over the past weekend. redbankgreen took these photos on Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

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