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JUANITO’S OPENS MEGABODEGA ON WEST SIDE

Juanito’s International Marqueta is the latest in a line of food-related businesses owner Juan Torres has created in town. Below, the store’s placeta-style checkout station. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Leading a visitor through the aisles of his new supermarket on Red Bank’s West Side, Juan Torres wended his way past employees busily stocking shelves and freezers just hours before he unceremoniously opened the store to shoppers Tuesday.

Reminiscent of midsized neighborhood markets long ago displaced by supermarkets, Juanito’s International Marqueta features four short aisles and two longer aisles stocked with dry goods, many of them grouped together by nation of origin: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and elsewhere, Torres said.

Likewise, along a wall of freezers, food is also grouped by nation of origin, including Salvadoran corn tamales known as pupusas.

The groupings, Torres said, were done to make shopping easier for Latino immigrants – as well as non-Hispanic shoppers – looking for beans, sardines and other products they used in their home countries, he said.

“People here take taxis to Long Branch to get ingredients,” he said. “Now, they can walk here.”

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JUANITO’S MARKET GETS A GREEN LIGHT

juanitos-market-091311An expert testified that “close to 100 percent” of the store’s customers would arrive on foot, making a parking shortfall irrelevant. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

Red Bank’s biggest bodega yet is on its way to Shrewsbury Avenue.

The borough’s zoning board approved Juan Torres’ application to bring a 5,310-square-foot grocery store to the area after a hearing on Thursday night.

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RED BANK: TORRES DEBUTS NEW RESTAURANT

Juanito’s Charcoal Grill features outdoor seating with colorful murals on either side. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It was going to be a laundromat. Think: droning appliances, fluorescent lighting and the cloying scent of fabric softener perfuming  a stretch of Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank.

Luckily for Red Bank-area lovers of food and immersive atmosphere, Juan Torres changed his plans. And on Saturday, the serial entrepreneur will debut his newest creation: Juanito’s Charcoal Grill, a restaurant that’s a volcanic eruption of colors, aromas and flavors, inside and out.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT REVIEW BEGINS

red bank 121 monmouth stAn elevation showing the Monmouth Street side of the proposed Salerno project. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: The February 20 hearing for this project has been rescheduled at applicant’s request. No new date yet.]

By JOHN T. WARD

A proposed 59-unit apartment project should be allowed to exceed Red Bank’s height and density limits based on the objectives of the borough’s master plan, its architect testified Thursday night.

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RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN UP FOR REVIEW

red bank 121 monmouth streetA rendering of the Monmouth Street side of the project proposed for the Monmouth Street site, below. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank 121 monmouth streetOn the Red Bank zoning board’s agenda Thursday night: a 59-unit apartment project proposed for the onetime site of Clarence ClemonsBig Man’s West rock venue.

Also up for review: a restaurant instead of a laundromat on Shrewsbury Avenue.

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RED BANK: BRITISH COTTAGE EXPANSION OK’D

The building at left will be torn down to make room for an addition to British Cottage’s main showroom, in the building at center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Architectural rendering by Matt Cronin. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The continual makeover of Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank is about to get another entry.

British Cottage, a furniture store, is planning the latest in a series of expansions over its three decades in town.

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RED BANK: LAUNDROMAT & APARTMENTS OK’D

The new structure would be built between a six-unit apartment building, at left, and Juanito’s Market, at right, with all three properties sharing parking in back. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank zoning board approved the creation of a new laundromat and four apartments on a vacant Shrewsbury Avenue lot Thursday night.

But before the project can get underway, grocer and restaurateur Juan Torres will have to reduce a possible tab for water and sewer hookups that could total $562,000.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A BODEGA SPECIAL

071916linares5Chuleta de puerco en salsa pasilla, or pork chops in a spicy gravy with cactus, is a daily special at Linares Grocery and Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?PieHole‘s endless quest for reasonably priced lunches hit the jackpot this week at Linares Grocery and Restaurant on Monmouth Street opposite the Red Bank train station.

Don’t let the market facade and absence of restaurant signage fool you. Selling fruits and vegetables, fresh meat from a butcher’s case, Mexican grocery staples and a mindboggling array of household items, Linares also offers a takeout menu filled with traditional Mexican food prepared in-house.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SOME SERIOUS HEAT

060915juanitos3bestPlatillo Altamirano, a spicy lunch special. Below, festive chairs liven up a dining room. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

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Even with the air conditioning blasting on a summer day, the rustic dining room of Juanito’s Restaurant in Red Bank envelopes you in sun-kissed warmth.

Celebrating his 20th year in business at the corner of Monmouth and West streets, owner Juan Torres works with local artists to brighten the space’s rustic brick walls. His plan to keep the place colorful, fun and inviting is immediately evident. But it’s the delicious, spicy food that packs the entrance any given night.
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NO DECISION ON MEXICAN MARKET PLAN

juan-torresJuan Torres, owner of Juanito’s restaurant, testifies about his proposal for a large grocery on Red Bank’s West Side Thursday night. (Click to enlarge)

A plan for a supersized bodega on Shrewsbury Avenue didn’t make it to the checkout register Thursday night.

A hearing by Red Bank’s zoning board ended with more testimony, and objections, expected when the matter resumes on August 4.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s restaurant, Juanito’s Bakery and El Guero grocery – all on the borough’s West Side – is seeking board approval for what would be the borough’s largest ethnic food store.

But first he’s got to clear hurdles related to the store’s size, parking issues and pedestrian safety, as well as the resistance of at least one other bodega owner.

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MEXICAN MARKET PLANNED ON SHREWSBURY

197-shrewsbury-ave

Juan Torres is looking to move his Juanito’s brand to Shrewsbury Avenue, formerly the home of Red Bank Furniture Emporium. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI rcsm2_010508

There’s an appetizing item on the Red Bank Zoning Board‘s plate tomorrow night: Mexican.

The mini-empire of authentically Mexican eateries and retail food outlets, Juanito’s, is looking to spread into a space at a recently shuttered Shrewsbury Avenue furniture store.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s Restaurant, Juanito’s Grocery and El Guero Grocery, is seeking the board’s approval for a short list of variances to open up Juanito’s Market at 197 Shrewsbury Avenue.

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