ZULEYKA’S BACK ON THE BLOCK

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Zuleyka Farro has re-opened her Zuleyka’s Kitchen eatery in the West Front Street space that most recently housed Surf Burger Island Grill.

If you’ve found yourself doing a double-take as you pass by the storefront at 17 West Front Street, rest assured that you haven’t slipped into some time-warp vortex.

Zuleyka’s Kitchen, the restaurant that had occupied the space from December 2006 until last summer, has quietly returned to its location on the south side of the block between Broad Street and English Plaza. Situated just around the corner from the newly opened Urban Outfitters store, the space had been leased until a few weeks ago by Surf Burger Island Grill.

The Zuleyka’s sign is visible once again above the sidewalk, while some banner signage for Surf Burger remains temporarily on display in the storefront windows.

According to owner-chef Zuleyka Farro, the seasoned caterer and culinary school grad had “stepped away for a while” due to a “landlord dispute” that has since been resolved. The Christmas Day passing of Surf Burger co-owner Pat Nulle (formerly mayor of Barnegat and proprietor of the original Downtown Cafe) created a sudden vacancy that Farro was persuaded to fill, with a new menu (still being finalized as we post this) that promises a mix of Zuleyka’s trademark spicy Caribbean-infused fare with a few of the popular offerings from the Island Grill kitchen.

Farro is also in the process of fine-tuning her business hours, which presently run until 4p on weekdays and Saturdays, with selected evening and Sunday hours a possibility for the weeks to come.

It shouldn’t take long for the familiar neighborhood fixture — who did a brisk lunchtime business with local offices — to get back up to speed.

“I talk to all of my customers,” Farro told our satellite site Red Bank oRBit in 2008. “Even the ones who act tough and don’t talk…I soften ’em up. I get ’em talking.”