Rosemary Minear wished Andy Citarella well Tuesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
After 121 years of operation, one of Red Bank’s oldest retail businesses plans to close next month.
The end for Citarella’s Meats & Deli continues the rapid disappearance of once-common neighborhood butcher shops and grocers.
The shop occupies the northeast corner Prospect Avenue and McLaren Street in the heart of a residential area. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
In a Facebook post Saturday, butcher Andy Citarella wrote that the shop started in 1901 by his great-grandfather, also named Andrew, will close July 9.
“We will miss our customers dearly, and we are very sad to say goodbye,” Citarella, who took over management of the shop from older brother Ralph 15 months ago, told redbankgreen Tuesday morning.
He declined to discuss the closing further, citing family privacy.
Rosemary Minear, a former planning board member who lives nearby, reminisced with Citarella across the meat counter.
“I loved your sauces and prepared meals and sandwiches and your breads and everything else,” she said, after squeezing his hand.
The closing leaves Monmouth Meats, on Monmouth Street, as the last old-school neighborhood butcher shop in Red Bank.
Located in the heart of a residential area, Citarella’s nearest retail neighbor is the Welsh Farms store on East Front Street, a third of a mile away.
The business started on the porch of a Red Bank house in the late 1800s and moved around a bit before settling at its present location.
From a 2013 redbankgreen feature story:
From the front porch, the first Citarellas moved to a store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank. Sometime later, the shop relocated to Sea Bright, where Ralphs grandfather and father, Andy, ran the business. The 1962 flood brought another relocation, to the Little Silver Shopping Center, where Andy ran the store. But in 1979, “he had to get out of there, because at that time it was really run-down, and the rent was going up, so he moved the store” to its current location, said Ralph. “He moved a mile north, as he used to put it.
Two weeks ago, the family entered into a contract to sell the property, at the corner of McLaren Street, to Michael Stavola, according to a filing with the Monmouth County Clerk.
No price was stated for the 64-by-67-foot lot, with its 1,500-square-foot, single-story building.
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