By JOHN T. WARD
Right around the “read more” corner are details about big changes planned at Brannigan’s Bar & Grill, plus word of two national food chains hoping to get in on the head-spinning restaurantization of Red Bank: Jimmy John’s Deli and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
A request for Chipotle signage has been filed by City Centre Plaza, above. Below, details from the plan for Branningan’s, which will be renamed, though not ‘River Rock,’ as shown. (Click to enlarge)
• As reported here in April, Brannigan’s, on Wharf Avenue, has a new majority owner anxious to elevate the place from dive bar status. Paul Marcotte’s first priority, he told Churn then, would be to improve the restrooms and kitchen.
Formal plans filed with the borough on Friday go beyond that, including the construction of a two-tiered wooden deck along the eastern and northern side of the irregularly shaped building. An outdoor bar is also shown. “The new improvements to the property will take advantage of the river views across [Marine] park, says a description of the proposal filed by architect Michael James Monroe.
Plans call for new, barrier-free restrooms and kitchen without any increase in indoor seating, Monroe says.
Though architectural drawing indicate signage for “River Rock,” Marcotte tells Churn that he’s still looking for a new name because another bar is already called River Rock.
The planning office had not yet reviewed the plans to determine what if any variances will be needed and to schedule a hearing.
• The former Wayne’s Market, at 21 West Front Street, is to become a Jimmy John’s Deli franchise, Churn has learned.
Owned by Nima Nilli and partners, who have extensive property holdings in the neighborhood, the building has been vacant since the death of merchant Wayne Fisler three years ago.
The 20-year-old Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Illinois, has more than 2,000 franchises nationally, according to its website.
• We now have our first official sign that the long-rumored debut of a Chipotle restaurant is true. The owner of City Centre Plaza, at Maple Avenue and Water Street, has filed an application for a Chipotle signage at the strip mall.
Featuring Mexican dishes, the chain of more than 1,500 restaurants would take over the space vacated by Manhattan Bagel in February. An opening date was not immediately available.