By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Guiseppe “Turtle” Sorrentino has long wanted to own a tattoo parlor in Red Bank, but strict regulations put that plan on the shelf for the near 20 years he’s been working a needle.
The recent move of a business out of a small strip mall on Newman Springs Road the only zone a tattoo shop is allowed in town opened the door for Sorrentino to fulfill his goal.
With the approval of the planning board Monday night to change the use from business to tattooing at 168 Newman Springs Road, the ink will start flowing within the next three months, the Asbury Park native told redbankgreen.
“I was born on the Jersey Shore. This is my home,” Sorrentino said. “I don’t plan on being anywhere else.”
Sorrentino will take up a space in the shopping center owned by Mario Melillo, who owns Angelina’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, also listed as 168 Newman Springs. Sorrentino’s business, Infamous Tattoos, will be located in a separate, 2,000 square-foot space in the rear, lower level of Angelina’s.
Which led planning board members, who all voted in favor in the change of use request, to question how anybody would ever know Infamous is there.
“I’ll be in the phone book,” Sorrentino quipped. “It’s a word-of-mouth business. They find me. Believe me, they always do.”
Sorrentino, who lives in West Long Branch, has made a name for himself in the Shore area since he started tattooing in 1992. He recently returned from Virginia Beach after a year of consulting and helping open up new tattoo shops. Prior to that he was the owner of Turtle’s Tattoos, now called Tattooville, in Neptune.
And Sorrentino believes in his brand. He apprenticed under a Shore legend, “Tattoo” Gene Bernardo, who Sorrentino said planted the seed in his head to open a shop in Red Bank. Although he’s on the edge of town, and surely one of the least visible ones, Sorrentino thinks he’ll leave an indelible mark on Red Bank, one way or another.
“Believe me, I’d rather be on Front Street or Broad Street,” he said. “I show these guys I do good work and maybe they’ll let me in one day.”