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RED BANK: GOING ALL-IN WITH TWO RESTAURANTS

Activity at Bakers on Broad during last Sunday’s StreetFair. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rcsm2_0105081-220x165-9667185This may be a first in the 18-year history of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, if not Red Bank itself: someone opening not one but two restaurants in town at the same time.

Joe Generoso’s trying to pull off the feat in a new building at the train station, and in a storefront in the heart of downtown.

 

Joe Generoso at Bakers on Broad with nephew Andrea, left, and son Sal. Below, his other new venture, Filoncino, at the Rail. (Photos by John T. Ward and Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

Earlier this month, Generoso took over Prep Coffee at 95 Broad Street, between Linden Place and Canal Street. He’s rebranded it Bakers on Broad.

He’s also weeks away from opening Filoncino Café, an Italian bakery and café at the corner of Bridge Avenue and Oakland Street in the multiuse Rail buiding, developed by Denholtz Properties.

Generoso told Churn that he also owns five food-related businesses in Staten Island and Brooklyn, including a wholesale bread operation. Prep was a small customer of that business, he said.

After visiting the shop about a year ago, he said, he offered owner Sebastian Rivera advice on how to grow the business, and over the ensuing months wound up working with him, at no charge, to help him do so.

Two months ago, Generoso said, Rivera told him that managing Prep Coffee shops in Red Bank and Old Bridge was too much work, and offered Generoso the business.

“After talking to my kids, and knowing the business and the customers,” he decided to take over, Generoso said. “We found more pros than cons.”

Among the upsides, he said, was that the Broad Street shop could serve as a “test kitchen” for Filoncino. “This is where we can train baristas and other workers.”

“I’m trying to give each one it’s own DNA,” he said. “Each has its own menu. I don’t want this one to compete with that one.”

Filoncino, he said, is a “restaurant bakery” with an existing customer base that knows it as a place to go for “a family meal” with Italian flavorings.

Bakers on Broad, he said, will produce baked goods with German and Jewish roots, including bagels, breads, hamantaschen cookies and other desserts.

Generoso said he’s franchising the Filioncino brand, also opening a restaurant by that name in Staten Island. The restaurant at the Rail is expected to open in about a month.

Bakers on Broad marks the third consecutive venture in its space based on coffee and baked goods. The storefront was briefly occupied by Great Harvest Bread Company, which opened in late 2020 but was killed by the one-two punch of the COVID-19 pandemic and a street reconstruction. Prep Coffee opened in April, 2022.

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