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BBQ JOINT EYES WEST SIDE; TEMPLE EXPANDS

The former home of Red Bank Pizza, on North Bridge Avenue, has been vacant for nearly two years. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Is it just wishful thinking, or is the tangy aroma of mesquite and beef about to join the pizza-dominated food scene in Red Bank?

Pit Boss Pure Barbecue, which has a restaurant on Route 35 in Middletown, is hoping to take over the former home of Red Bank Pizza on North Bridge Avenue, according to a representative of the landlord.

And in other Retail Churn news, Temple Gourmet Chinese has completed its doubling-down on Broad Street; another Chinese restaurant runs into a snafu; Hip & Humble Home finds a new, humble and possibly hip home, and an antiques business clears out.

Victor Kuo’s Temple Gourmet Chinese has doubled in size just 18 months after opening. (Click to enlarge)

• Pit Boss has filed plans for a 60-seat restaurant at 15 North Bridge, last home to Bobby Chiafullo’s pizzeria, which was shuttered for an extended period, reopened in October 2010, and closed again within days, without explanation.

Propety manager Joe Dreifus tells Churn that he’s been frustrated by delays at borough hall in getting Pit Boss up and running. Documents on file indicate planning board approval is needed because the prospective tenant wants to turn an upstairs apartment as an office. A hearing was tentatively scheduled for October 1.

No one from Pit Boss returned a call seeking details.

• Temple Gourmet has completed an expansion that doubled the size of the 18-month-old restaurant, taking a bite out of space formerly used by Jonathan Salon. The Broad Street restaurant now features a bar – but don’t expect to wet your whistle right away. Owner Victor Kuo’s aim is to buy a liquor license – a tall order. Meantime, the grander Temple is open for business, with tables indoors and on the sidewalk.

• Jade Garden, a takeout Chinese joint just down the street from Temple, has run into problems with its remodeling project. Borough inspectors issued a stop-work order against the restaurant last week, according to a posting on the door. Further details were not immediately available.

• Hip & Humble Home, the imported-furniture store that vacated 58-60 Broad in July, has landed new space, off the beaten path. Owner Danny Weinberg tells Churn he’s signed a lease in a small warehouse owned by Tony Bush off Mechanic Street, behind a music rehearsal studio. He plans to open in a few weeks.

• Tower Hill Antiques & Design, vacant at the corner of Broad and Harding Road since the death of owner Raymond Valerio in October 2010, is now gone, having held a two-day auction of its inventory.

•In Fair Haven, popular ‘tween girls outfitter Skye Blue and BeTween, featured in a redbankgreen article back in February, has cleared out of its River Road store. Owner Debbie Mishan could not be located for comment.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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