PLANNERS OK VEGAN EATERY, DESSERT BIZ

frozsurt-monmouthHome to a newsstand for more than half a century, 6 Broad Street may next see duty as a frozen yogurt shop.

Call it dinner and dessert lite.

The latest additions to the growing roster of businesses planning to open in Red Bank now includes a vegan restaurant focused on the ‘grab and go’ trade and a frozen yogurt shop.

The borough planning board last night quickly approved variances that would allow each to operate in downtown spaces not previously used as food business.
The vegan restaurant is the brainchild of Gail Doherty, who won a reputation for her culinary skills as the co-founder of the much-beloved Down to Earth restaurant, located below street level on upper Broad Street from 1999 to 2006.

Doherty and then-partner Lacey Sher sold the business that year, and it soon failed, but Down to Earth lived on in the form of a popular cookbook and in the memories of customers.

The proposed new eatery, with the working name of Conscious Counter, is to open in the one-story building last occupied by the Red Bank Visitors Center, at 17 East Front Street.

Though it will have two or three tables, the business will primarily be take-out food, Doherty told the board. “We’ll focus on lunch and grab-and-go dinners,” she said.

With the approval, the board also granted the business a parking variance. Nine spaces are required under current code, and none are being provided, meaning the business will have to make an in-lieu contribution to the town’s parking fund.

That payment, however, will be based on the requirement in effect at the time Doherty seeks her certificate of occupancy, the board agreed. The borough council, meantime, is expected to adopt changes to the parking ordinance that, in this case, would reduce the requirement to five spaces.

The board also cleared the way for a business called Frozs├╝rt to operate at 6 Monmouth Street, the longtime home of Red Bank News, which briefly morphed into a general store before closing earlier this year. The business is owned by Dan and Eileen Natale of Red Bank and Aurelio Ramos.