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: FOOD TRUCK EYES VACANT SITE

your-sisters-balls-truck-fb-500x375-5473113A food truck called Your Sister’s Balls hopes to set up “a few days a week” on a Shrewsbury Avenue lot. (Nicole Montecalvo photo. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486Less than a year after the latest effort to remove Red Bank’s ban on food trucks got a flat tire, the issue is back.

Leading the charge: a food truck called Your Sister’s Balls.

red-bank-204-shrewsbury-070220-1-500x332-1868622The owner of 204 Shrewsbury Avenue has invited Your Sister’s Balls to use the vacant site. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

During the borough council’s workshop meeting, held online Wednesday evening, Mayor Pasquale Menna said he had received “a number of inquiries” about the ban on food trucks, and asked whether the council was willing to revisit the issue “in light of COVID.”

Food trucks are banned from borough streets, and can operate only on private property with approval by the mayor and council, according to Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

That’s the case with trucks that have operated in the past at the Sunday farmers’ market at the Galleria complex on West Front Street, Shehady said. The town’s only other food truck, Gus’s Hot Dog Truck, which has its own parcel on Shrewsbury Avenue, is grandfathered by virtue of having started operations before the ban, he said.

“I’m still for food trucks,” said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano. “They bring economic vitality, smaller businesses, more diverse business owners have an opportunity who can’t get into brick-and-mortars. The list goes on and on.”

But Councilman Ed Zipprich pushed back, saying now is not the time to allow food trucks.

“In light of the pandemic and the way our downtown businesses, especially our food service businesses, I don’t think it’s a good idea to introduce food trucks while we’re trying to keep our business community alive,” Zipprich said.

Triggiano, though, said that was a “snag” that the issue has previously gotten caught on.

“There’s this idea that food trucks are some sort of competition for existing businesses,” she said. “This is the same conversation that we go around in a circle on. They’re two different markets, but we can keep having that conversation until we turn blue, I guess.”

“We’re looking out for our downtown business community,” Zipprich replied.

Menna suggested officials “recirculate some information on it among ourselves and then see if we want to revisit the issue.”

Just minutes later, during the public comment portion of the meeting, several speakers – including a mother and daughter who own a food truck, and a property owner who’s ready to host them – lobbied for council action.

Nicole Barbarino Montecalvo, of Colts Neck, who operates Your Sister’s Balls with her mother, Debra Greiner, told the council they hoped to park their truck “a few days a week” at 204 Shrewsbury Avenue, which she said was “not near the restaurants.”

The long-vacant property, former home to Green’s Auto Performance Center, is just doors away from two Shrewsbury Avenue restaurants, China Garden and Tino’s Mexican Kitchen & BBQ. (On Thursday, Montecalvo told redbankgreen she was referring to restaurants downtown, in response to Zipprich’s concern.)

“I get the whole thing with the restaurants and that you don’t want to impact the businesses in Red Bank,” she said. “We don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. I really don’t feel like we’re competition to any of them.”

The truck sells meatballs, calzones and other Italian dishes, she said.

Borough resident Steve Goodman, who owns the site through JADSRB LLC, “invited us onto the property and has lots of parking,” Greiner told the council. “We would like the opportunity.”

Goodman, who also owns the former Katsin’s Drugs building now under development just to the north of the site, at 192 Shrewsbury, was up next. He told the council he had intended to create a gym at Green’s, but the plan was derailed by the COVID-19 crisis.

Now, he said, he would like to host Your Sister’s Balls “as a way to introduce the property to an ongoing venture, to make people stop there and realize the West Side is alive and well, it’s not just a drive-past area.

“It just seems like it’s good for the property and good for the area,” Goodman said.

Chestnut Street resident Nancy Blackwood also endorsed the idea.

“We do have people who live in town who do have food trucks, and I think it would be good if they were able to serve the community they do live in,” she said.

Shehady told redbankgreen that no formal application has been filed requesting council action.

A push to allow food trucks outside the central business district on sites where projects are stalled or in bankruptcy died last August when council members sided with owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, who said trucks would unfairly undermine them while rewarding other property owners for neglect.

The idea was roundly rejected by downtown businesses located in the special improvement district managed by Red Bank RiverCenter, Zipprich said at the time.

A push for a single street spot for a food truck to operate also failed in 2011.

If you value this kind of intensely local news coverage, please become a paying member of redbankgreen. Click here for details about our new, free newsletter and membership information.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
CAR VS STREET SIGN
The driver of this Mercedes hopped the curb and toppled the street sign at the corner of South Pearl and Drs. James Parker Boulevard Wednesd ...
SKETCHES OF RED BANK BY LOCAL ARTIST MICHAEL WHITE
Sketches of Red Bank scenes have been floating around on social media and we thought they deserved some spotlight. First appearing in our fe ...
POLE DOWN
Utility pole falls on English Plaza shop Forge after being struck by SUV shortly before noon. No injuries reported, though 86-year-old drive ...
YO, ADRIAN!
It’s a tough turn for our hero as Rocky Balboa is relegated to the curb for trash pickup on Locust Avenue. We’ll have to go back ...
“EL PALOMO” IS IN THE HOUSE
Jesus Rios, a mariachi singer who performs under the stage name “El Palomo” (The dove) pauses for a moment before entering a bac ...
CROC SPOTTED IN RIVER
Frighteningly hideous and green, a solitary Croc lurked ominously amid the flotsam and foam in the Navesink River alongside the Red Bank Fir ...
KISS ICON REFLECTS ON BROADWALK
A Swarovski crystal-bedazzled self-portrait painting of Paul Stanley, longtime singer and guitarist for the rock band Kiss peers out from a ...
CHISELIN’ AWAY
Marcelo Garcia Lopez works with hammer and chisel on a new feature for his flower garden on Shrewsbury Avenue: a hollow in a carved log in w ...
STORM CLEANUP CONTINUES
  Saturday’s storm sent a tree toppling on this house on Bank Street, damaging the roof. Workers Wednesday could be seen removing ...
SNAPPING IN THE BREEZE
RED BANK: Blustery winds had the flags in Riverside Gardens Park snapping Monday evening.
POWER LINE DOWN
Red Bank firefighters were on scene at Manor Drive dealing with a live power line Monday afternoon. There was no immediate report of fire. T ...
TAR BEACH SOLSTICE
Aldo Quiroz of Ocean Township came ready with his beach chair and found a shady spot to spend his lunch hour in a parking lot off Broad Stre ...
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...