Butcher Stew Goldstein is the new owner of 110 Monmouth Street, where Max Olivera and Alberto Bautista, below, plan to open a restaurant called El Azteca Grill next door to Monmouth Meats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
With a butcher shop, recording studio and, until recently, a restaurant under its roof, 110 Monmouth Street could serve as a neat little microcosm of downtown Red Bank.
Now, with butcher Stew Goldstein‘s recent acquisition of the modest-sized two-story brick building, plus a deal to fill the first-floor restaurant vacancy with a new Mexican-American eatery, the tableau seems to have been secured for the foreseeable future.
The seller was an LLC controlled by Paul Noglows of Little Silver, whose father and uncle started Monmouth Meats in 1955. Goldstein bought the business from Noglow’s father, also named Paul, about 15 years ago.
Goldstein tells redbankgreen he saw buying the building not only as a good investment — it’s directly across the street from the Count Basie Theatre, which is preparing for a $20 million expansion project — but as a matter of self-preservation.
“I bought it because I wanted to stay,” he said. “You don’t know who’s going to come in, and what they’ll want to do. This is my home, the home of my business.”
In addition, his upstairs neighbor, Retromedia Sound Studio, was at the end of its lease, and owner Adam Vaccarelli “could have wound up out on his butt,” Goldstein said.
If Goldstein hadn’t acquired the building, “who knows what would’ve happened if an outside buyer were to come in?” said Vaccarelli, who began working in the studio in 2005 and bought it from founder John Noll four years ago. He’d have had to try to scrape up financing to buy it himself or relocate the business — not a trifling matter for a recording studio, he said.
“Stew being the new owner is the best thing that could’ve happened aside from me buying it myself,” said Vaccarelli. “He wants me here as long as possible, so it’s nice to know my landlord is someone who won’t kill me with the rent.”
The final piece to fall into place is El Azteca Grill. The restaurant, the first business venture for partners Max Olivera and Alberto Bautista, is taking over the space last used by Runa, a Peruvian restaurant, and for many years before that, the Eurasian Eatery.
The pair have long experience working as cooks in kitchens on the Greater Red Bank Green, and both put in time at the Americana Diner in Shrewsbury.
Now, “we’re getting older,” said Olivera, 44, of Tinton Falls.
“The time is right,” said Bautista, a Long Branch resident.
Bautista and Olivera plan to serve three meals a day in the 48-seat space, or at least start out doing so, and see how it goes. Their menu, they said, will be a mix of Mexican and American dishes, but the Mexican part will be “real Mexican, not Tex-Mex,” said Bautista.
They hope to open with a matter of weeks, they said.
Goldstein said he rented the space to the pair because “they want to work hard. That’s basically it.”
And with the three pieces in place, “everybody stays, and everybody’s happy,” he said.