By JOHN T. WARD
Also in this report: a pilates gym takes a portion of a long-empty former drugstore, and a pop-up holiday shop… pops up for the holiday season downtown.
Signage on the windows at the former Belmonte, above, proclaims the coming of Bodega Cubana. Pilates Blast is moving into a portion of the former Professional Pharmacy store, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
• New window signs in at the former Belmonte (and before that, Red) space at 3 Broad Street, near East Front Street, say a restaurant called Bodega Cubana is coming.
A countdown clock on the restaurant’s website indicates that it will begin serving “authentic Cuban and Latin cuisine” on January 11. And rum, too, as there’s a liquor license associated with the address.
A message left at the phone number on the restaurant’s Facebook page this week did not get a reply.
• The space that was home to a Jimmy John’s sub shop for just a year at 21 West Front Street has a new tenant, or will sometime in the late winter or early spring.
Jerry Chen tells Churn he plans to open an eatery called JJ’s Delicacies there, offering three distinct food types: cold-rolled ice cream, bubble tea and poke, the Hawaiian seafood-based based salad dish that’s something of a rage and is pronounced PO-keh.
Before Jimmy John’s, the store was vacant for four years following the 2012 death of Wayne’s Market owner Wayne Fisler. Given the extensive remodeling done by the last tenant, Chen says he doesn’t need to do a lot of work to prepare the space, which has seating for about 40 customers. But he’s holding off on opening until the weather starts turning warmer again, he said.
Chen said he also owns a Chinese restaurant, Tung Hing Kitchen, in Neptune, and his partners own two restaurants in Columbia, Tennessee.
• At 26 Monmouth Street, another poke place is being readied. Owned by Si Wang, this one will be called Poke Hale (the latter word is Hawaiian for ‘house’).
Most recently home to Evan John Diamantaire, which relocated to 15 Broad Street, the restaurant won approval from the borough planning and zoning office for seating up to 12 customers. No cooking will take place, Wang said.
Wang, who also owns a bagel store in Forked River and three nail salons in Monmouth and Ocean counties, said he hopes to open on February 1.
• Five years after the Professional Pharmacy closed at 134-136 Broad Street, ending a 61-year run, a portion of the unusually large retail space — which totals 7,300-square-feet — is about to be put to strenuous work.
A post on the Pilates Blast Facebook page says the business is relocating to the space from Tinton Falls, and that work is almost completed on its new home, which is in the rear portion of the former drugstore.
The building is still owned by former pharmacist Michael Yura, according to property records. It has 25 dedicated parking spaces out back, accessed via Peters Place.
• A pop-up store called Red Bank Holiday Bazaar has opened in the former Faustini Wines space, at 43A Broad Street.
Operated by Red Bank Artisan Collective founder Debbie Eisenstein, whose mother ran a store called Junior Bazaar on Broad Street for over 35 years, the shop offers jewelry, pottery, photography, art work and other creations by local artisans, and will operate until December 29, Eisenstein said.