jill-green-2senzaJill Green says she may stay on to help the owners of the restaurant that will replace hers at the Galleria.

2Senza Ristorante owner Jill Green was none too pleased a couple of weeks ago when a pair of fledgling restaurateurs showed up at her eatery, with a redbankgreen reporter in tow, to show off their new place of business.

Green, you see, was still very much in business herself. And with some six months left on her lease at the the Galleria Red Bank, she hadn’t yet told her staff and customers that she’d be closing the popular eatery she’d started 15 years ago.

Moreover, she hadn’t put out word because she had not decided if she’d relocate the restaurant to another site or just shut it down. The visit caught her “completely off guard,” Green said afterward.

More recently, though, Green has signaled she may take an interim to work with husband-and-wife Tom and Yvette Bonfiglio of  Monmouth Beach to help them get their restaurant off the ground. They want to get into the space before the start of the holiday season, and Green says she’s doing what she can to make that happen. She may even stay on for a time afterward, she says.

“I like this new group,” she said. “They’re trying to get a head start, and we’re working with them on this.”

As reported by redbankgreen last week, the Bonfiglios say they’ll open a place called Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza by the end of the year.

Green says she didn’t renew her lease with the Galleria-owning Sourlis family over a dispute related to the family’s plans to erect a parking garage topped by offices directly outside 2Senza’s front door. The dispute, she said, centered on the construction period.

“Long-term, the deck would be fine, but there were hurdles that were not favorable” in the interim, she says. She declined to go into detail, she said, because she has moved on from the dispute and has come to terms with her decision to shutter her restaurant.

“Have I cried? Yeah. It’s been my life, my home, my passion,” she said. “It’s been my identity for 15 years.”

But like the son she raised who is now approaching college age, Green, of Lincroft, finds herself at the cusp of something new, even if she’s not quite sure what that might be.

“I have a lot of options,” she said. “There’s a lot of momentum after 15 years.”