Erica Lieberman and Nick Napoletano opened Ce La Vi this week in the Monmouth Street space last occupied by Lil Cutie Pops. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Demonstrating adaptability in an increasingly competitive dining market, a Red Bank dessert shop has remade itself into a three-meals-a-day restaurant.
Also in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn: intriguing news about a downtown liquor license, and the return of a fair-weather gourmet spot.
The liquor license of the former Belmonte restaurant at 3 Broad Street has been sold. Below, Park Jam is back in Riverside Gardens Park for another season. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
• Erica Lieberman and Nick Napoletano’s Whipped Creperie has relocated a few doors west to 16 Monmouth Street and rebranded itself as Ce La Vi.
The new space, at 2,100 square feet, gives the couple more than twice as much room as the last space, where they opened their business as Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar in 2013.
It’s also where they hope to stand out amid the numerous cupcake, ice cream and other dessert-based businesses in town. The full kitchen the couple built enables them to offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts, with a menu that ranges widely from Belgian waffles to beef bourguignon alongside the crepes that established the business.
And before all you Francophiles get your berets in a croissant twist, they’re aware that the new name is a misspelling of “c’est la vie.” It’s deliberate, meant to Americanize the French for “that’s life,” said Napoletano.
“People who don’t know French would have mispronounced it,” he said, adding that, like the menu, its a way of “putting a twist” on things.
Lieberman and Napoletano also own Mr. Pizza Slice a few doors east on Monmouth Street.
• The liquor license for Red Enterprises, which operated the Belmonte restaurant at 3 Broad Street, has changed hands.
According to borough records, the license will remain at the address, which was previously home to the restaurant known as Red, run by Dan Lynch.
The new licensee is Abracadabra LLC, which records show is owned 50-50 by Jason Zoracki of Little Silver and Jack Manousos of Hamilton Township.
Manousos tells Churn that he and his partner, who together opened Proving Ground Waterfront Dining in Highlands last July, “have a concrete plan” for the business but aren’t ready to reveal it.
• Having opened mid-summer last year, Park Jam, the gourmet takeout lunch spot, is back for its first full spring-summer-autumn run in the borough-owned concession stand in Riverside Gardens Park.
Co-owner Bill Huwyler tells Churn that devotees no longer have to brave inclement weather for dishes such as the Hendry sandwich, which features grass fed beef, local mozzarella and pomodoro sauce on a ciabatta hero. The eatery is now using Doordash to manage deliveries.
The concession stand sat largely unused for two decades until an ice cream retailer set up shop there for two summers starting in 2016.