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CHURN: RED GOES DARK, SOUTH MOON RISES

red-restaurant-030215-1-500x375-7163380The first-floor restaurant at red, now closed for remodeling, will reopen under a new name in coming months. The upstairs nightclub remains open on Friday and Saturday nights. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Calling his Red Bank restaurant “red” 12 years ago turned out not to be the smartest choice in the era of the search engine, Dan Lynch admits with a laugh.

But that’s not why he shut down the Broad Street restaurant for a first-floor makeover and rebranding last Saturday, he tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

“The red model is just outdated,” said Lynch. “We built it 12 years ago for a different economy.”

The new restaurant, which has neither a name nor a specific menu yet, will shift from an entree-dominated menu to the casual, small-plate, tapas-style dining approach that’s now popular. Most dishes will be priced at under $20, Lynch said.

Another change: the new restaurant will offer lunch, brunch and dinner, whereas red was dinner-only.

The remodeling now underway will “basically gut the first floor” except for the staircase to the second, with no increase in the number of seats, Lynch said. The second floor bar and night spot will remain open on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the construction, he said. Lynch expects the work to take several months.

Lynch, a former bond trader who has owned or was a partner in nine restaurants – seven in New York City and two in Red Bank –  at the peak of his holdings has winnowed them down to three: PS 450 in midtown Manhattan, red, and the Downtown, just a coaster’s throw away from red, on West Front Street.

He expects to go before the borough zoning board next month on his request to expand the Downtown into an adjoining structure with a roof deck overlooking the Navesink River.

Meantime, a plan to put a deck atop red is on hold, he said.

*****

South Moon Under, a multibrand women’s and men’s clothing store, plans to open in the Grove at Shrewsbury on Thursday. This is the 23rd store in a chain owned by CEO Frank Gunion.

South Moon Under takes over a space vacated by furniture retailer Platypus, which plans to reopen in a new three-storefront building that’s nearing completion on Newman Springs Road, also in Shrewsbury, on the site of the former Memory Lanes bowling alley. Metrovation owns both the Grove and the new project.

*****

The asking price for the former home of the ARC thrift store at 77 Monmouth Street in Red Bank has been reduced.

Offered at $825,000 when it hit the market a year ago, the 4,200-square-foot, one-story space next door to Jamian’s Food and Drink bar/restaurant is now priced at $795,000, according to listing agent Ray Smith of Stafford Smith Commercial Realty.

The non-profit ARC, which owns the building, operated the thrift store there for three decades.

*****

Red Bank RiverCenter will boost its spending on business recruitment efforts by 35 percent this year, to $21,000, executive director Jim Scavone told the borough council last week. There will also be more money for sidewalk maintenance and litter removal, he said.

RiverCenter, an autonomous agency that oversees the borough’s special improvement district, operates on an assessment levied on commercial properties within its borders, and gets no money from borough taxpayers. That assessment remains unchanged, for the seventh year running, at $512,000, Scavone said.

This year, the district expects to generate an additional $340,000 on the revenue side, in part from sponsorships and vendor fees for events like the International Flavour Festival, which is scheduled for Sunday, April 26, in the municipal parking lot on White Street.

“Most of it goes into marketing and advertising Red Bank,” he said.

*****

Red Bank’s arts district was voted favorite by participants in a recent online “people’s choice” ballot sponsored by Discover Jersey Arts.

The district topped those of Montclair, Princeton, Morristown, New Brunswick and five other municipalities.

 

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