We hadn’t been back to Brother’s Restaurant in years. A town institution at the corner of West Front Street and Morford Place in Red Bank, it’s a throwback that’s perhaps taken for granted because it’s always been there.
That is, until it’s not there.
Back in January, the 100-plus-year-old building had a flood from a burst pipe, and leading to extensive repair work that shut the place down for a few months. For many in the Greater Red Bank Green, that was a blow, because this bar and pizzeria is the family restaurant that was the meeting place after a big game or dance recital. It’s nostalgic. So it was time for PieHole to stop by and see what if anything had changes since we last visited.
Not much. The bar is still the same-old warn, wooden elbow holder it’s always been, and the long multi-seat tables in the dining room that can seat an entire cub scout troop are still there, too. Ditto for the disco-lit ceiling.
Original owners Bill and Tony Pecoraro sold the bar to Jim Turner and Ralph Ventre in 2003, with not much changing in the quarter century that PieHole has been coming here.
For lunch, we zeroed in on a special bar pie ($8.95) to keep us occupied while we chatted with Tanya, the bartender with the beautiful Russian accent who says she’s been working here for nine years.
Heaped with a sprinkling of green peppers and juicy sausage, and a crust that had the appropriate amount of crispiness that allows for the one-handed folding, the pie was inhaled in no time. Considering that a bar pie costs almost double in some of the more sophisticated spots in town, we agreed that it is one of the best and tastiest bargains around.
An item we haven’t seen on menus in years, the pizza burger ($8.95) was a must-try. It comes with fries. Yes, for that price, not only did we get a huge burger cooked exactly as ordered — medium rare — but it came with fries, pickle, coleslaw, lettuce and tomato on a seeded kaiser roll. Smothered in marinara sauce and topped with a melted coat of mozzarella, this blast-from-the-past burger had everything going for it. We wondered why something this good ever went out of style.
If the Brother’s Restaurant is missing that shiny new architecturally designed ambiance that so many of the eateries are trying to achieve, the regular customers haven’t taken notice. This is the place to meet and greet friends and servers alike while chowing down on reasonably priced comfort food. We’re going back for dinner. Soon.
The Brother’s Restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.