SALON PLANNED AT FORMER EATERY
Kim Johnson plans to set up a hair styling business in the former Itri’s Luncheonette space.
Looks like the griddle at the long-dormant Itri’s Luncheonette won’t be getting fired up again after all.
Guy Johnson’s dream of reviving the tiny, beloved hash house died late last week when he won approval from the Red Bank zoning board to convert the West Front Street space to retail.
Johnson, who owns the adjoining Antique Center of Red Bank, said the economics just weren’t there for an Itri’s comeback. In trying to lease the space as a restaurant, he heard from plenty of people with big dreams, but none with the scratch to invest in kitchen upgrades, he says.
Plus there was a dispute with the owner of the nearby Grandville Towers over the use of an easement that might have prevented a tenant, and customers, from having access to parking behind the building.
That dispute, which went to court, was amicably resolved, Johnson’s lawyer, Ted Parsons, told the board last Thursday night. But by then, it was clear that the 525-square-foot eatery space wasn’t as attractive to potential restaurateurs as it once had been for its clientele.
Johnson says his daughter, Kim Johnson, will likely set up a hair salon there.
“It’ll be good to see something done with that space,” board member Tom Williams told Johnson after the unanimous approval.
An attached street-level residence, long used by the Itris, will be allowed to remain, the zoning board ruled.