Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: CHURNING OUT A THIRD VENTURE

erica-lieberman-nick-napoletano-010820-500x332-2514417Erica Lieberman and Nick Napoletano in their third Monmouth Street restaurant, called Toss’d. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rcsm2_0105081-220x165-9667185What’s the secret to surviving as owners in Red Bank’s crowded dining market?

In this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, a pair of accidental restaurateurs share some insights as they prepare to launch their third concurrent venture in the heart of downtown.

lieberman-napoletano-restaurants-010820-500x332-2067449A short stretch of Monmouth Street is now home to three restaurants owned by Lieberman and Napoletano: Ce La Vi, Mr. Pizza Slice and Toss’d. Below, Taylor Sam’s has vacated 20 Broad Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red-bank-20-broad-010820-220x146-8745720

With the formal opening next week of Toss’d, Erica Lieberman and Nick Napoletano’s mini empire now consists of three restaurants within steps of each other at the eastern end of Monmouth Street, near Broad Street.

The other two are Ce La Vi and Mr. Pizza Slice. Toss’d, a salad shop, takes over the space at 6 Monmouth, which was previously home to their first venture, Whipped Bites, which evolved into Ce La Vi, the creperie that opened last April.

If that’s a little hard to follow, well, that’s kind of the point. To Lieberman and Napoletano, who are also parents of two young kids, adaptation is critical to survival.

First and foremost, says Napoletano, you have to offer something distinctive.

“We all love Italian restaurants,” he says. “We don’t need 80 of them.”

Longtime redbankgreen readers know the couple’s story, because we’ve chronicled every step in the evolutionary process. But the capsule version goes like this:

Spring 2013: Lieberman, a finance industry worker by day, expands her sideline cupcake business by renting a display case, on weekends, inside La Patisweet, at 6 Monmouth.

September 2013: Lieberman and boyfriend Napoletano take over the lease and rebrand the business as Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar.

2014: Fending off competition from a flurry of new cupcake shops, they dial up the emphasis on crepes, shifting from sweet to savory, offering menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner and renaming the business Whipped Creperie.

January 2016: On a “slightly emotional buy” aimed at preserving a place Napoletano loved as a kid, the couple go in with fellow downtown restaurateur Tom Cappello to buy Mr. Pizza Slice from Steve Napolitani, who retires after 44 years behind the counter.

March 2016: After buying out Cappello’s stake and giving the business an overhaul, they reopen Mr. Pizza Slice with an expanded menu.

April 2019: After closing Whipped specifically to give it a makeover and build a full-service kitchen, Lieberman and Napoletano open Ce La Vi at 16 Monmouth (and come through a threatened trademark lawsuit unscratched.)

Now, bound by a lease to the space used by Whipped, Lieberman says she and Napoletano decided to pursue her longtime dream of opening a restaurant focused on farm-to-table salads. Hence: Toss’d.

“I think we always do things a little differently” to stand out, says Lieberman, surrounded by decor evincing the interior of a barn.

The shop, which will initially stay open as long as customers come in before it settles on a regular closing time, will offer its greens and other veggies in bowls or wraps, with locally sourced ingredients.

Though there’s a Saladworks shop on Broad Street and other places with salads on the menus, “we felt this didn’t exist downtown,” says Lieberman. And she says customers at their other restaurants have been asking for the option.

Also on the Toss’d menu are smoothies and cannabidiol (CBD)-infused items, with delivery and catering available. The online menu is expected to be posted shortly, the couple said.

Also in Retail Churn news:

• Next door to Mr. Pizza Slice, Supreme Floral , which opened in August, has already vacated 12 Monmouth Street.

• Three years after it opened, the Taylor Sam’s sandwich shop at 20 Broad Street has closed.

A January 2 post on the eatery’s Facebook page said the owners have “sold” their Red Bank location, though there was no immediate indication of who the buyer was or plans for a new business.

The Taylor Sam’s store in Brick Township remains open.

• Red Bank Nail Spa at 60 Broad Street closed sometime in the closing weeks of 2019.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
YAPPY TOGETHER
RED BANK: Look for this cutie pie, named Sacramento, at Yappy Hour on Broadwalk Saturday. He's looking for a new home.
YELLOW RAINCOAT DAY
On a rainy May morning, the only golden sight on Broad Street this morning were the matching raincoats of Eileen and her dog Benny.
STOP. JUST STOP.
RED BANK: For those who don't get the meaning of a stop sign, crossing guard Diane Johnson amplifies the message with some colorful outfits. ...
RECORDS SKIP INTO TOWN
RED BANK: Devotees of vinyl records expected to drop needle at Broad and Mechanic Saturday. Here's why.
Feline fortunes on Monmouth Street
Christopher Russell and feline pal Princess take in some fresh air on a warm May night Thursday in the doorway of Gina’s Psychic Bouti ...
GOING UP?
RED BANK: Public Library will be closed Friday for the start of elevator construction. (Click for more.)
TREEBIRTH
RED BANK: Replacement of nine trees gets underway on South Street, where a wholesale removal angered residents last September. (Click for mo ...
RIVERSIDE FLOW
New Jersey Flow Arts brings together jugglers, poi spinners, hoopers and more weekly in Riverside Gardens Park.
Honeybee swarm carted away
Beekeeper Tanya Ptak of Ptak’s Apiary inspects a swarm of honeybees that chose a flower pot in the courtyard of Red Bank Primary Schoo ...
BELOVED POISONED DOG PHOTO SURFACES
   
THREE ON TOUR
RED BANK: Three borough sites will participate in a weekend of self-guided tours of 52 historic locations in Monmouth County May 4 & 5.
VOLUNTEERS GET INTO THE WEEDS
Toting plastic trash bags, 51 volunteers conducted a walking litter cleanup on Red Bank's West Side Saturday.
“IT’S A PARTY AT WAWA!”
You wish you could vibe like Brian, who lives on the other side of Hubbard’s Bridge. He caught redbankgreen’s attention in Red B ...
POPE OKS ORATORY
RED BANK: St. Anthony of Padua obtains papal approval to establish Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a community of priests and brothers devoted t ...
RED BANK: NEW MURAL BRIGHTENS CORNER
RED BANK: Lunch Break founder Norma Todd is depicted in a mural painted this week on the front of the newly renovated social service agency.
TULIPS TOGETHER
Spring tulips taking in the sunset outside the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank Monday evening.
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...