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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? WHITEFISH ON BIG BAGEL

121715bagestation4A sesame-seed bagel teeming with whitefish salad, lettuce and tomato from the Bagel Station, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121715bagelstation2Red Bank has seen its fair share of restaurants come and go over the years. Loyal customers wax poetic about eateries long gone.

Bagel Station on Monmouth Street, across from the train station, has managed to keep its doors open for 28 years now. Rolling with the times, the breakfast and lunch spot is as relevant as any of the newcomers to town, and more affordable than many.

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RED BANK: SUBWAY DEPARTS WITHOUT A STOP

b subway 091715 2The sandwich shop has sat ready for months, said the landlord. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallMore than four years after it was approved, a never-opened Subway sandwich shop has been evicted from its prospective home on Broad Street in Red Bank, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

The action puts a period, if not a satisfying answer, on one of the downtown’s persistent mysteries: whatever happened to the Subway?

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TOAST TOSSED SALAD

110515toastsaladA Chopped Greek salad with grilled shrimp, above, and a plate of hash and eggs, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

103115toast1Peace, Love and Pancakes: How can you go wrong with a slogan like that?

The newest foodie haven in Red Bank, Toast is slinging all three, along with hash and other comfort foods, in a glossy retro-American-meets-Scandinavian style luncheonette in the former home of the Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AUTHENTIC MEXICAN

091515chaparrita3Enchiladas in salsa verde at La Chaparrita, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson and John T Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

la chaparrita 091515

Authentic Mexican food that brings serious heat, if that’s what you want, can be found at La Chaparrita, a grocery store and restaurant on Red Bank’s West Side with an affectionate slang Spanish name meaning “shorty.”

Lunch at one of the three cozy tables in the Shrewsbury Avenue gem is probably not so different from your mom’s — that is, if your mom has music blaring while she prepares hundreds of tamales just steps away.

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RED BANK: WTF? UPS ITS OWN CHALLENGE

unterman orderingJason Unterman keeping the lunch tab low at Jr’s Burgers in Red Bank. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumWhether it’s sticking to locally-sourced produce or trying to avoid gluten, it’s not uncommon for people to set food-related goals.

As previously reported by PieHole, Jason Unterman has imposed another kind of limit on himself: eating at a different lunch spot somewhere on the Greater Red Bank Green every week, and trying to keep the tab under $10. But the developer at Red Bank-based Defined Logic has managed to lead his colleagues on more than 200 such outings, and has the blog to prove it.

Now, with some changes to the endeavor he calls WTF? –  for Where’s the Food? – Unterman met with PieHole at Jr’s Burgers on West Front Street recently to share some of the wisdom he’s gleaned after all those restaurant meals.

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LINCROFT: LUNCH AT THE INN

032115 lincroftinn2A pastrami Reuben  at the Lincroft Inn served in the antique dining room, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032115 lincroftinn1From outside, the Lincroft Inn, located on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of Middletown, appears a lot like many of the buildings in the strip malls surrounding it: blandly contemporary.

But step inside, and the exposed rafters and wood-paneled walls exude an Old World charm that’s real, because it dates back to 1697, according to the backstory provided in the vast tome of a menu.

As PieHole discovered on a recent What’s For Lunch outing, the inn offers a range of dishes, from elegant Continental fare to a grubby Jersey favorite: a porkroll and cheese sandwich.

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SHREWSBURY: NAME THAT HOME-STYLE MEAL

031715 sisterskitchen6A dish known as “Carl’s Hankerin’ Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Peas and Carrots” from My Sister’s Kitchen, where Michelle Paone, below, is co-owner and baker. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031715 sisterskitchen4When Michelle Paone rented the space next door to her New Outlook Salon in Shrewsbury some months back, the idea was that it would house a catering business, with her sister working as the chef.

Family obligations on her sister’s side led to the deal falling through at the last minute, however, leaving Paone partner-less. But then Rich Lopazanski, a “fabulous cook” and Paone’s husband’s best friend since elementary school, stepped into the role of chef, clearing the way for the opening of My Sister’s Kitchen about two months ago.

The sister may not have stuck, but the name did – just like the old-school, stick-to-your-ribs meals the kitchen now produces six days a week.

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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A WALT STREET CUBAN

022415 walt st pub4The Cuban sandwich, served in a retro-fun basket, comes with chips and a pickle, while the order of Crabby Fries is served in an oversized cone. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

022415 walt st pub3In the man cave Walt Street Pub on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, women held forth on which dish is best.

“I order the boneless wings,” said barmaid Kelly Martin. “Mild, though, always mild.”

Sitting next to PieHole at the bar, Jen Disney, informed us that “the beef chimichangas are the best. We go elsewhere, but always come back here.”

Jen Rodriguez, our waitress, said her son, “who is one of the pickiest eaters ever,” gets the chicken cheese steak, but she likes the chicken burrito.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PICK A # @ BRENNAN’S

110514 brennans1The smoked-salmon on sesame-seed bagel from Brennan’s. Below, the menu board behind the deli counter. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Brennan’s Deli in Rumson is all about the numbers.110514 brennans3 The board hanging above the deli counter lists 26 sandwich options – and those are just the regular suggestions; a daily special that can also be found on the website.

Having no time for a leisurely lunch this week, the takeout option brought PieHole to this old West River Road favorite. And while we ordered a number 17, a quick chat with owners Caryn McCann and John Yurish brought some of these numbers into perspective.

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WHATS FOR LUNCH: SOUP’S ON

090114 cjmcloones1The oversized Reuben lunch platter with  fries, above, and French onion soup, below, from CJ McLoone’s.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

090114 cjmcloones2The calendar flips to September, and just like that, thoughts of bathing suits and salads are gone, replaced by hankerings for sweaters, coats and heartier lunches.

A soup-and-sandwich pairing is a favorite for many who want a little more than just a quick bite, and to this soup lover, it doesn’t matter that it’s still hot outside: September is the start of soup season.

CJ McLoone’s on Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls offers a soup of the day, oversized burgers, and many typical sandwich options.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? INBETWEEN BREAKFAST

062014inbetweenThe Inbetween aces the hollandaise sauce on the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

062014inbetween2Sharing a table at Red Bank’s Inbetween Café is par for the course. This little luncheonette is much too busy to stand on ceremony, and even if you do manage to nab a table, unless there are six in your party, a stranger is likely to sit down right next to you.

Such is the happy situation we found ourselves in on our latest visit to this English Plaza institution. The two young strangers sitting at the table with us were familiar, and yet, I couldn’t place them.

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RED BANK: WHO’S MAKING YOUR NEXT SUB?

subs5Now open in Red Bank’s City Centre Plaza: Jersey Mike’s. Yeah, a chain. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

Does Red Bank need another sub shop?

The folks at the Jersey Mike’s chain clearly think so. They opened a store in City Centre Plaza on Water Street Wednesday, adding to an already deep bench of sub shops in town.

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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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