By JOHN T. WARD
Red Bank got a new, upscale seafood restaurant Monday, even as its owners were a few blocks away, at borough hall, getting approval for an expansion.
But not the approval they originally sought.
In a compromise with neighbors worried about noise and impaired views, Greg Milano and other investors in 26 West on the Navesink scrapped their plans for a new open-air deck overlooking the Navesink River.
The space approved by the planning board Monday night won’t feature a bar, or a retractable roof, as previously proposed. Its back wall, the one nearest the river, will be pulled in 11 feet so as not to adversely impact views of the next-door neighbors, a move that cut the size of the room by one-third, and the number of seats to 38, from 69.
All of the changes appeared to have been made ungrudgingly, though the neighbors did hire former Mayor Ed McKenna as their lawyer, and the Milano group went through at least four rounds of designs.
In the end, Milano told redbankgreen, “we wanted to have the room, but we also wanted to have happy neighbors. Having that room was more important than having a big room.”
The restaurant opened in a building recently occupied by 10th Ave. Burrito Company and, before that, Fixx and Chubby’s Waterside Café.
In earlier hearings, 26 West lawyer Rick Brodsky described its vibe as “polished, casual, upscale dining.”
Shrinking the size of the new room reduced the added parking deficit from 14 spaces to 9. It also allowed for the elimination of a planned second staircase that would have put the addition within feet of the living room of Tony Busch Sr., a condo owner in the building next door.
“It worked out well,” Busch told redbankgreen. “They took half a loaf, and we took half a loaf.”
Here’s the menu.