132 broad 040416The Red Lantern restaurant won clearance to open at 132 Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03The dizzying transformation of downtown Red Bank into a place to dine, for those who can find parking, got another boost Monday night.

The borough planning board approved a plan to convert retail space at 132 Broad Street to a restaurant, despite a shortfall of 25 parking spots.

Resuming a hearing adjourned in early February, Yen Chung of Parsippany and Ke Ha Du of Harrison won unanimous approval for their proposed sushi and Asian cuisine restaurant called the Red Lantern.

No members of the public spoke for or against the plan, which required a variance because the restaurant would provide no parking, while 25 spaces are required, according to the borough planning office.

Parking was barely mentioned. Mayor Pasquale Menna, who sits on the board, quipped to restaurant lawyer Doug Freiberger that perhaps patrons could park in his firm’s office parking lot around the corner, on Reckless Place.

Menna praised the plan for adding business activity to a stretch of Broad Street that gets less attention than the blocks to the north.

With new businesses opening on both sides of the block, and Detour Gallery — formerly Wanderlust Gallery — nearing completion a stone’s throw away on Clay Street, “I happen to think the area is going to be very active, and I think this applicant will lend some vitality to the corridor,” Menna said.

No other board members spoke on the application, and the hearing took less than 15 minutes.