By JOHN T. WARD
As live-reported by redbankgreen, Johnny’s Pork Roll & Coffee truck made its debut by risking a summons for doing business where it wasn’t allowed: on the streets of Red Bank.
Now, five years later, John Yarusi’s two-truck enterprise is going legit with a brick-and-mortar stake in the borough’s downtown.
Read all about the plan, and other recent turnover activity, in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.
A staple at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market, North Beach in Asbury Park and food-truck festivals, the two-truck enterprise has leased space at 8A Monmouth Street, as first reported by the Asbury Park Press.
“I still don’t understand why they don’t allow food trucks downtown,” Yarusi said of the borough’s ban, except on private property. But the former ad man and partner Dan Strack don’t see the move to a storefront as capitulation to convention. Rather, it’s an “extension” of a business that resonates deeply with customers, particularly lifelong residents of New Jersey, where pork roll was created, in 1856.
“It’s the oldest processed food in America,” said Yarusi, who said his truck is actually named for Trenton-based pork roll inventor John Taylor rather than himself. “It’s older than the hot dog, for god’s sake.”
Johnny’s takes over a prominently positioned, if tiny, downtown space that got an extensive makeover under Fizz owners Canio Paradiso and Kevin. But the business, a lovingly created 1950’s-style diner, lasted just seven months.
With just eight stools at the counter, “I look at it as a food truck without wheels,” Yarusi said. Johnny’s, he said, “is more of a walk-in, walk-out business like the Bagel Station or Bagel Oven,” both also located on Monmouth Street.
Yarusi and Strack are shooting for an early October opening. The trucks will continue to operate as usual, Yarusi said.
• After three years in the basement of 80 Broad Street, at the southwest corner of Broad and Monmouth Streets, Valerie Herman’s Coastal Pointe Dance Company has relocated to 166 Patterson Avenue, suite 3, in Shrewsbury.