surf-taco-openCynda Raffensperger, forefront, and Emilie Hansen, take in the view of Broad Street while catching lunch at Surf Taco, which opened Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


With no advertising, and not even a storefront sign, Surf Taco opened for business in downtown Red Bank Thursday, and the place was immediately humming.

“It’s been a good turnout, and it’s all kind of word-of-mouth,” chain owner and founder Rob Nagel said.

At around 1p, the dining room was about three-quarters full with about 30 people tucking into burritos and tacos, a line about six deep waiting at the counter to place orders, and the phone ringing off the hook.

Not bad for a first day, but not unusual, owner Rob Nagel said. The real volume, he said, is yet to come.

The company purposely opens with little fanfare, letting the customers find out for themselves that the doors are open so the staff can ease into the new job and work out any kinks. he said.

“It’s a good, steady flow that helps us out. We just kind of want to let people find out and organically promote it,” Nagel said. “We’re just trying to make sure it’s the best product in a relaxing, familiar setting and give the experience people expect rather than rush it and you have people that are pissed off.”

Nagel and company seemed to be able to deliver that satisfying experience Thursday.

Emilie Hansen, who lives about a block away, said she was “very, very excited” to have Surf Taco open up in town. An avid fan, she brought a friend to lunch, and suspects they’ll be making it a regular happening.

“It’ll be my go-to, easy place to come,” she said.

The restaurant takes over the space at from River’s Edge Café , which plans to reopen in Ocean Township, according to a notice on its website.