WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EUROPA GRILL TAPAS

111916europa3A hot sampler for two from the appetizer/tapas menu at Europa Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?New to the Shrewsbury Village strip mall in Shrewsbury, Europa Grill fills in the storefront left empty by Rosina’s Ristorante. Like its predecessor, it serves Italian food, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Mediterranean-themed frescoes, including an attention-grabbing celestially painted ceiling, brighten the decor. Tables set with linens, comfortable seating, and friendly, helpful service add up to a more formal but lively atmosphere.
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CRAVINGS: SCAMPI PIE NOT A TRIVIAL MATTER

101816rubinoPieHole catches Jen Rubino pre-bite at Jamian’s Food and Drink. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsJamian’s Food and Drink gets testy on Tuesday nights as brainiacs and know-it-alls vie for points at a trivia contest that fills the Red Bank bar to capacity.

Jen Rubino, a 43-year-old borough resident and Italian teacher, has been showing up with her team from the beginning of the weekly showdown two years ago. Is it the camaraderie, the challenge — or maybe a craving for her favorite pizza that brings her out every week?
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RED BANK: MR. PIZZA SLICE RETURNS

mr pizza 030316HOT-TOPIC_03After a two-month gut-job remodeling, Red Bank’s beloved Mr. Pizza Slice was back in business Thursday morning, according to a Twitter post by Red Bank RiverCenter. The fully renovated Monmouth Street mainstay features longtime owner Steve Napolitani‘s pizza recipe, as well as dishes by new owners Tom Cappello of Gaetano’s and Nick Napoletano of Whipped Bites.

Also expected to be back in business: the restaurant’s long-busted Ms. Pac-Man machine. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MR. PIZZA SLICE TO KEEP RECIPE

010916pizzaslice1Nick Napoletano shows one of the windows discovered beneath the paneling at Mr. Pizza Slice. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

HOT-TOPIC_03After getting pounded flat and spun in the air by commenters, the new owners of Mr. Pizza Slice in Red Bank have reversed course and decided to keep the old pizza recipe on the menu.

As the cheesy paneling came down inside the Monmouth Street slice-and-soda joint earlier this week, new co-owner Nick Napoletano told PieHole that longtime owner Steve Napolitani‘s pizza recipe would be preserved, along with his “signature” fries and hot dogs.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CALZONE AT OLIVIA’S

081915olivias3Prima calzone from Olivia’s Trattoria in Little Silver, with alfresco seating, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

081915olivias1The phone is buzzing, a waitress is taking orders, and the door opens and closes more times than we can count while we wait for our lunch at Olivia’s Trattoria.

A tiny gem of a restaurant tucked into the corner of the A&P shopping center on Prospect Avenue, it’s the best kept secret in Little Silver, a customer tells us, while another eating an enormous sub asks us not to write about it.

Sorry folks, PieHole is spilling the beans. Owners Giovanni and Dawn Sommers have a good thing going here.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEETUP AT DELFINI

071715delfinis3A Buffalo shrimp salad from Delfini, above. The Big Lou sandwich shown, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071715delfinis6Keeping lunch hour social, PieHole joined Red Bank Lunch Meet at Delfini Gourmet Catering, at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, on a recent outing.

What’s Lunch Meet? Created by borough resident and redbankgreen webmaster Kenny Katzgrau, it’s a loose assemblage of epicures in which any member can suggest a get-together, whether it be for lunch, happy hour or dinner. It’s all coordinated through the group’s Facebook page.

This meetup was called by another Red Banker, Tom Musumeci. No one attending had eaten at Delfini before, but everyone came away impressed by the fresh ingredients and array of choices.

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SEA BRIGHT: TOMMY’S DOUBLES DOWN

tommy's tavern 062315Tommy and Yvette Bonfiglio, below, expect to open Tommy’s Tavern + Tap on Ocean Avenue within the next month. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bonfiglio 062315When Tommy Bonfiglio first toured the property that was long the home of Sea Bright’s post office, he was so fixated on an idea that he barely noticed the building at all.

“I only wanted the land,” on which he envisioned putting up an 18-room hotel and restaurant overlooking the Shrewsbury River, Bonfiglio told redbankgreen on Wednesday. Because of that tunnel vision, he never even stepped inside the two-story building fronting on Ocean Avenue, which he expected to tear down because of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

But when he realized he’d have to run a gauntlet of environmental permitting that could take years, he decided to examine the building out front. What he found shocked him.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PIZZA AT DANNY’S

061115dannys4Danny’s has been using the same tomato sauce recipe since 1969 on its pizza. Sidewalk seating is available, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061115dannys3Danny Murphy had his hands in the restaurant business long before the current incarnation of Danny’s Steak House on Red Bank’s West Side.

Murphy’s mother owned a place called the Friendly Luncheonette on West Front Street, where he worked in the 1950’s. In his teens, he learned pizza-making a few doors away, at Brother’s Restaurant. He opened his own restaurant around the corner, on Bridge Avenue, in 1969, starting with Italian dishes, and later adding steak and fish to the menu.

It’s his pizza, though, that PieHole remembers first eating 23 years ago. Read More »

RED BANK: BROTHERS REOPENING DELAYED

brothers 012215A notice on the door at Brothers Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The work required to reopen HOT-TOPIC_03Brothers, damaged earlier this month by a water leak, will keep the Red Bank bar and pizzeria closed for at least another month, an owner tells redbankgreen.

“The good news is we were approved by our insurance company” on a damage claim, Ralph Ventre said Friday. “The bad news is it’s going to take four-to-five weeks to make the repairs.”

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RED BANK: BROTHERS STILL CLOSED

brothers pizza 011015A frozen pipe that burst was the culprit. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The Brothers, a Red Bank bar and pizzeria darkened for the past week by a water leak, is likely to remain closed for another week or more, an owner tells redbankgreen.

Ralph Ventre was awaiting word from his insurance adjuster for the go-ahead to embark on extensive repairs to the building he and his partners own at West Front Street and Morford Place, he said Wednesday.

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FAIR HAVEN: WAITING FOR SANTA

120514 fhsanta13There was no shortage of pizza as kids awaited Santa, who arrived with an assist by the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120514 fhsanta12A drizzly night didn’t stop the hearty kids and adults of Fair Haven from coming out to greet Santa Claus Friday night.

Leaving his sleigh at the North Pole until Christmas Eve, jolly old St. Nick got a lift to the annual Christmas tree lighting from the Fair Haven Volunteer Fire Department.

More pictures await, just around the corner…

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A COUPLE OF SLICES

pacinis slice

The Margarita Sicilian slice at Pacini’s Pizzeria: delicious, but a bit lightweight for a Sicilian style crust. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumPieHole was out running some mid-day errands at the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road in Red Bank – visiting the bank, the cleaners and the Post Office – you know, that tiny little sliver of downtown that caters to people who actually live here.

It was close to lunch time and we were overcome by a need to nosh, and so decided to grab a couple of slices of pizza from Pacini’s Pizzeria on Broad.

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LITTLE SILVER: SANDWICH SWAP AT GIANNI’S

111214 giannis1The Neopolitan Panini served on fresh house-baked bread at Gianni’s. Below, the spacious dining room.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111214 giannis3Lunchtime at Gianni’s Pizzeria in Little Silver is busy. Between the hours of 11:30 and 2:30, the tables fill up with people from all walks of life. Mothers with small children stop in for a slice while truckers pull over to pick up an order of subs or a full pie.

Helping PieHole watch its waistline, Jeff Lopez, the always-smiling counterman and pizza maker, suggested the Neapolitan Panini ($8.95).

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RED BANK: SPICING UP A MONDAY NIGHT

110314 pazzo1The granite bar at Pazzo is as inviting as any table in the restaurant. Below, complimentary dishes of  olives and warm bread and butter served at the bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110314 pazzo3After a fun weekend, the blow of facing another Monday is sometimes enough to bring the strongest person down. Enter Pazzo on West Front Street in Red Bank, though, and Monday night gets a little easier to bear.

“Pazzo,” in Italian, means crazy, but it’s nothing short of brilliant that this restaurant has given customers a reason to look forward to that first workday of the week with a deal of half-price pizza and pasta dishes. Any pie or pasta dish listed on the menu is fair game for this Monday night offer.

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CIAO, BASIL’S. IT’S ‘BIRRAVINO’ NOW.

091014 birravino ralloVictor Rallo in the bicycle-decorated atrium of Birravino. Below, one of the long communal, or feste, tables in the dining room.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091014 birravino5The Old World charm of Basil T’s Brew Pub is gone, along with its popular mug club, where members had personalized mugs hanging at the bar. Remodeled and repositioned as Birravino, however, the Red Bank trattoria is just as welcoming, warm and suds-friendly as its predecessor.

Nursing a broken leg from a running accident, Victor Rallo showed up earlier this week to make sure everything was running smoothly after a makoever that included completely restructuring and redecorating his Riverside Avenue institution in about a month. Before some customers even realized  the restaurant was temporarily off-line, a new name was on the building and the changes were well underway, he said.

The result? “I wanted an industrial, rustic look like you see in the trattorias or osterias of Italy,” he told PieHole,  amid the exposed brick walls, honed wooden tabletops, galvanized metal seats and an open kitchen. “Definitely something more casual” than Basil’s, he said.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: PIZZA WITH INTEGRITY

072214 rbnewcornerwfl Red Bank’s New Corner Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, personal size pizza. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumThough I’ve lived in New Jersey longer than anywhere else, my New York roots still dictate when it comes to pizza.

There’s an expectation of a not-too-sweet marinara and ample cheese, with enough toppings to be able to taste them – but not too voluminous. Undergirding it all should be a shell that’s as well-baked at the center as at the outer edges, so that it can be folded and held without the ingredients gooping off the sides.

That last requirement – structural integrity – seems to be one that too many pizzerias don’t take the time to get right. But the specials menu at New Corner Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on East Front Street in Red Bank earlier this week offered a personal pan pizza that delivered on all counts.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TUNA PANINI IN RUMSON

undici 062614 3 The tuna panini, at Undici in Rumson. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumHere’s a zesty lunch that conveys the bite of summer.

It’s  the “sette,” or number seven, on the panini menu at Undici (“eleven”) at 11 West River Road in Rumson.

A sturdily built yet somehow light combination, the sette layers Italian tuna in olive oil, fresh arugula, hot peppers and black olive tapenade, which are hot-pressed in house-made wood-oven pizza bread.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CLAM PIZZA, IN RED BANK

DSCN1865Puglia’s clam pie, called the Mulberry Street. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumBy SUSAN ERICSON

A town that has more than 20 pizza venues at any one moment has some serious competition.

In Red Bank, one goes out (Biagio’s) and another is on it’s way in (Patrizia’s). For restaurateurs, breaking the habits of diners who rarely step out of the box on on their usual Friday night order is a challenge.

Dining out, though, with pizza specifically in mind, well, there’s a chance for diners to try something different.

One of the new kids in town is Puglia. If this Bridge Avenue pizzeria, located in the former home of Red Bank Pizza, seems remotely reminiscent to another time and day, that might be due to the Little Italy vibe. The place pulls you in with its promise of good Italian food, and keeps you there with comfortable atmosphere and good service.

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PIEHOLE: BRINGING WARMTH TO A COLD WEEK

Gail Doherty from Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank Good Karma Cafe’s Gail Doherty transports PieHole readers to the south of France. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories . . .

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? THIS, IN SEA BRIGHT

sb pizza 1 011014Chicken roll with dipping sauce, at Sea Bright Pizza. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumAn Italian chicken roll? What’s that?

“If you go to Italy and ask for an Italian roll, they’ll look at you like you have three heads,” says Sea Bright Pizza owner Cono Trezza.”It doesn’t exist. It’s like ‘chicken parm.'”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TURKEY SUB IN LINCROFT

joyce's turkey sub 011514The turkey sub with hot peppers at joyce’s. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumJoining a stream of paint-spattered tradesmen, women in businesswear, hungry young guys from Christian Brothers Academy and others streaming into Joyce’s Subs and Pizza, PieHole expected good, cheap What’s For Lunch eats.

Located in a characterless but busy strip mall on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, the 40-something-year-old shop is a mainstay among neighbors that include Pat’s Market and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

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RED BANK: DOMINO’S ALLEGES WORKER THEFTS

AUTHORITIES_RB2-2014The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of December 18, 2013 to January 09, 2014. This information is unedited.

CRIMES:
12-21-13 A report of criminal mischief at 261 S Pearl St. Victim reported that the front door was damaged. Ptlm Quispe investigated

12-18-13 report of a theft from 283 Spring St. Victim reported that his phone was taken from laundry room Ptlw. Dawn Shields investigated

12-21-13 report of theft from 3 Broad St. Victim reports his Pea coat jacket valued at $659. was stolen. Sgt. Frank Bitsko investigated.

12-23-13 a report of theft at 301 Spring St. Homeowner stated that $5000.00 in jewelry was taken. Ptlw. Dawn Shields investigated

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IN PIEHOLE: CREPES AND PIZZA

puglia (1)Michael Mancuso of Puglia, where he’s the saucemeister working alongside his father, Ben. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories . . .

• Red Bank’s Whipped Bites is bolstering its menu of crepes to include lunch and dinner offerings.

• There’s a new restaurant called Puglia at the long-vacant former home of Red Bank Pizza, one with roots in Manhattan and a Sandy story.

Follow the links to the stories, and check out PieHole’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter feed @RedBankPieHole for up-to-the-minute postings.

 

 

RED BANK: FOOD FROM THE HEEL OF ITALY

puglia (2)The former Red Bank Pizza is now home to Puglia, named for a Manhattan restaurant with an almost 100-year history. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

The exhaust vents of Red Bank’s numerous Italian restaurants already send up a Vesuvian cloud of aromatic garlic that envelops the Green.

Well, that cloud just got a little thicker.

A few weeks ago, Ben Mancuso quietly opened the doors to yet another Italian restaurant and pizzeria in the long-vacant space that once housed Red Bank Pizza.

But Mancuso isn’t especially worried about adding another entry to the already long roster of Italian restaurants in town.

“I’m bringing the name,” he says of Puglia, which shares a moniker with his family’s Manhattan-based restaurant.

“If I opened up here as Joe’s Pizzeria or Joe’s Restaurant, I’m just an ordinary guy on the block. But that name is a name that’s been in business since 1919 so we’re doing something right.”

 

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RED BANK: HOW DID YOUR GARDEN GROW?

transition monmouth (2)Transition Monmouth organizer Sarah Klepner discusses local food with a group of gardeners at Earth Pizza.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

PIEHOLE logoWith winter edging nearer, a dozen or so area residents of the Green got together at Earth Pizza in Red Bank last week to discuss this past season’s gardening and brainstorm ways to encourage local food production and consumption.

During the discussion, organized by Transition Monmouth, participants shared their recent gardening experiences, noting what grew well and what didn’t.

Jonas Forssell of Red Bank, owner of an edible landscaping company, Ecologic Landscapes, noted that this year, Red Veined Sorrel was a standout.

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