RED BANK: RESTAURANT SCENE IN CHURN

After months of idleness, gut-job renovations are underway at the Melting Pot in the Galleria on Bridge Avenue. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank restaurant is preparing to reopen after a long hiatus and change in ownership.

Meantime, another eatery has shut its doors after only six months in business, and a bicycle retailer has pedaled off into the online ether.

Details are below in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

JJ’s Organic lasted just six months at the corner of Broad Street and Peters Place, above. Below, a rendering of the bar area being created at the Melting Pot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

• The Melting Pot,  a fondue restaurant that closed in October, 2016, plans to reopen this spring under new ownership.

Barry Berkowitz, a Floridian who spent his first 15 years as a Lincroft resident, tells Churn he and two partners will reopen the eatery in the same space it occupied in Galleria of Red Bank office and retail complex.

But the restaurant is being completely overhauled as a prototype design for the 115 Melting Pot franchise locations across the United States, he said.

Whereas the original concept focused on two-hour communal dining and melted cheese or chocolate, the new design calls for distinct seating areas offering customers that conventional option as well as a “quick, casual” option at or near the bar, said Berkowitz, who owns three Melting Pots in the Washington, DC area and with his Red Bank partners owns two others, in Pennsylvania and New York.

The Red Bank restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch, Berkowitz said. Under former owner  Ken Kruse, it was opened for dinner only.

Berkowitz and partners Brian Neel and Jeff Nichols are also acquiring the liquor license, he said. Kruse used the license to serve alcohol at both the Melting Pot and the adjoining Taste restaurant, which he also owned. But he failed to renew the license in July, 2o16, over what he said were “some issues which the accountant and state” over taxes, and when Taste was closed as a result, Melting Pot went BYOB before closing two months later.

Berkowitz said he’s hoping for a May reopening.

• JJ’s Organic, which opened at the corner of Broad Street and Peter’s Place last August, has closed.

A January 31 post on the restaurant’s Facebook page attributed the closing to “some unforeseen circumstances.”

• After almost six years on West Front Street, Red Bicycle, owned by Jonathan Erdelyi, has also closed.

“I am operating through the internet right now and closed the brick and mortar for the moment,” Erdelyi told Churn via email. “I may reopen, but am sorting through details, and it won’t be in Red Bank.”

 

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