Search Results for: "jim willis"

RED BANK: FOOD TRUCKS UP FOR DISCUSSION

johnny's 1 111113John Yarusi risked a summons when he parked his Johnny’s Pork Roll truck on Wallace Street in a short-lived experiment test of borough law in 2013. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIs Red Bank ready at last to unlock the gates that keep out food trucks?

The idea of easing restrictions on food truck operations came up at last week’s borough council workshop meeting, as it has in the past. But this time, it’s not being summarily rejected by the agency that promotes the downtown business district.

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RED BANK: LOCAL ACTS TO ROCK THE PARK

Bobby Bandiera and Friends performing Neil Young’s ‘Like a Hurricane’ in 2011. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two big-draw local musicians are slated to play concerts against the backdrop of the Navesink River in Red Bank this summer, redbankgreen has learned.

Bobby Bandiera (July 27) and the Matt O’Ree Band (with a special guest, August 24) will take the stage in Riverside Gardens Park as part of an effort to spotlight local club offerings, says Jamian’s Food and Drink owner Jamian LaViola, who’s organizing the shows.

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RED BANK: DEAD BANK, GRATEFUL AT GIG 200

Dead Bank guitarist Jim Willis, left, and bassist Nash Aliaga at Jamian’s, where the band was conceived six years ago. A photo of the late Jerry Garcia has a place of honor on the stage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[UPDATE, July 7: Forecast of rain postpones tonight’s Dead Bank show at the Dublin House. The band’s 200th gig will instead be tomorrow night (Friday) at the Dub, weather permitting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

The band’s name, echoing a moniker for Red Bank at its economic low of the 1980s, doesn’t exactly thrill local chamber-of-commerce types, Dead Bank guitarist Jim Willis acknowledges.

“We’ve gotten a lot of crap from the town about it,” Willis said last week. “They’ll never let us play any of their festivals because of it. But I just wanted to see another connotation for ‘Dead Bank,’ a positive one.”

The Grateful Dead cover band is an inarguably local phenomenon, and this week, weather permitting, Dead Bank’s “perpetual tour of of Monmouth Street” brings it to the backyard of the Dublin House Pub for its 200th show.

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RED BANK: FOOD TRUCKS COMING?

johnny's 1 111113John Yarusi risked a summons when he parked his Johnny’s Pork Roll truck on Wallace Street in a short-lived experiment test of borough law in 2013. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Is Red Bank ready to finally  open the gate for food trucks?

The possibility that the borough might allow two mobile eateries to operate here was among the topics discussed at Wednesday’s semimonthly borough council meeting. Read More »

RED BANK: BETTER DEAD, OR LED?

Dark StarDark Star Orchestra brings its jamband brand of symphony and scholarship back to the Basie stage, this Thursday night, followed on Friday the 13th by the act that brands itself “The American Led Zeppelin.”

We’ve said it before, but here in what’s stacking up as some sort of Season of the Dead, the alarming loss of one AM/FM legend after another has only served to reinforce the demand for a newer, bigger breed of hard-touring sonic soundalikes. And whether your favorite band of the baby-boomer era has been claimed by death, artistic differences, litigation, “nervous exhaustion” — or worse, an inability to cede the spotlight despite stiffening fingers, flattening voices and dwindling looks — there’s an act for that; poised to serve and in many cases “even better than the real thing.” It’s a lucrative corner of the live music marketplace that the folks at the Count Basie Theatre have worked to great advantage, as well as a crowd-pleasing, seat-filling brand of fun fantasy that lights up the famous stage in the nights to come.

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SANDY HOOK: TRUCK EATS TO REPLACE STANDS

imageJB Wood Fired Pizza at Sandy Hook in June, 2015. Below, the concession stand at lot B is among three to be torn down and replaced by food trucks.  (Photo above by Jim Willis, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

sandy hook concession 090114Never restored after Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, three of the six concession stands at Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook will be demolished and replaced with food trucks and vending machines, according to a report by NJ.com.

Park superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian told the news site that stands at areas B, C and E will be demolished, with utility hookups installed at areas C and E for the mobile food trucks and vending machines.

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RED BANK: MR. PIZZA SLICE TO KEEP RECIPE

010916pizzaslice1Nick Napoletano shows one of the windows discovered beneath the paneling at Mr. Pizza Slice. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

HOT-TOPIC_03After getting pounded flat and spun in the air by commenters, the new owners of Mr. Pizza Slice in Red Bank have reversed course and decided to keep the old pizza recipe on the menu.

As the cheesy paneling came down inside the Monmouth Street slice-and-soda joint earlier this week, new co-owner Nick Napoletano told PieHole that longtime owner Steve Napolitani‘s pizza recipe would be preserved, along with his “signature” fries and hot dogs.

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RED BANK: A HOT BURRITO FOR MUSIC-HEADS

ghost wolvesCarley Wolf joins bandmate Jonny Wolf on the stage of 10th Ave. Burrito Tuesday night, as the Austin-based duo the Ghost Wolves helps the new venue up the original-music ante in downtown Red Bank.

By Tom Chesek

10th ave 071415 1As reported earlier in redbankgreen, the recently opened Red Bank branch of 10th Ave. Burrito Company made its debut in the downtown restaurant wars equipped with an arsenal of assets that ranged from “165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink,” to more than 100 varieties of tequila and a not-so secret weapon: “live music – cover bands need not apply.”

While the town doesn’t often get mentioned in the same breath as Asbury Park and other musically-minded burgs, the fact remains that most every night of the week finds something for music aficionados to choose from; be it at the Basie or one of the borough’s bars, beaneries, sidewalk bumpouts or black-box performance spaces. But even as Red Bank regulars like Sonny Kenn, Quincy Mumford and Matt O’Ree have made a habit of stocking their saloon sets with generous amounts of originals, the town hasn’t truly seen a full-time venue for homegrown originals and national touring acts since the long-ago heyday of Big Man’s West. It’s a situation that 10th Ave owner Brian Katz and manager Chris Masi (formerly the music booker at the Downtown) seek to address with an attention-compelling slate of up-and-coming talents, cult favorites and best kept secrets that range from deliriously anarchic alt-rock to urban-hipster roots Americana, and even an unexpected visitor from across the pond — a schedule that really clicks into place as summer turns to fall.

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RED BANK: B2 BREAKS THE TEMPLATE

IMG_2311William Alexander (second from right) tells PieHole that eaters need to head to the West Side to find something besides pizza and bar food in Red Bank.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumIt was a dark and stormy cocktail that kicked off our dinner at Red Bank’s new B2 Bistro with a bang.

The bartender flipped opened the swing-top bottle of housemade ginger beer and it popped with a raucous expolosion that turned heads and captured the vibe of pent-up excitement that surrounded this West Side bistro’s opening.

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SANDY HOOK: TRUCK IT HERE FOR LUNCH

imageDavid and Rose Rivera of Elizabeth have the right idea: stopping for a bit of barbecue after a bike ride at Sandy Hook. Below, a map showing food truck locations in the park. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Sh truck mapThe food concessions at Sandy Hook have remained closed since being wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. But food trucks have been filling the void, and the stomachs of park visitors.

A recent Facebook post by Gateway Nation Recreation Area touts 10 food trucks at the national park, peddling everything from brain-freezing ice-cream to “naked empanadas” at the clothing-optional Gunnison Beach, naturally.

Parking Lot D, the largest on the hook, is home to four of these trucks. PieHole stopped by to check out the menus.

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RED BANK: WTF? UPS ITS OWN CHALLENGE

unterman orderingJason Unterman keeping the lunch tab low at Jr’s Burgers in Red Bank. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumWhether it’s sticking to locally-sourced produce or trying to avoid gluten, it’s not uncommon for people to set food-related goals.

As previously reported by PieHole, Jason Unterman has imposed another kind of limit on himself: eating at a different lunch spot somewhere on the Greater Red Bank Green every week, and trying to keep the tab under $10. But the developer at Red Bank-based Defined Logic has managed to lead his colleagues on more than 200 such outings, and has the blog to prove it.

Now, with some changes to the endeavor he calls WTF? –  for Where’s the Food? – Unterman met with PieHole at Jr’s Burgers on West Front Street recently to share some of the wisdom he’s gleaned after all those restaurant meals.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A HEARTY BREAKFAST

tavoloThe bacon, sausage, ham and fresh mozzarella omelette at Tavolo Pronto. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumSome mornings are so chaotic that we’re too busy to fry up a few slices of real bacon. It goes without saying that a breakfast without bacon is hardly worth eating, and so some mornings, we skip breakfast.

Then noon will roll around, and we’ll want to claw back that missed meal at a place that serves breakfast all day, but we also want a proper lunch that is savory and hearty. The omelette is one of those dishes that can confidently wear its morning bathrobe and slippers to the lunch table, and we’ve found one of our favorite and most reliable omelettes at Tavolo Pronto in Fair Haven.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? POUR HOUSE REUBEN

pour_houseJust one of a huge selection of daily specials at the Pour House, the Hot Pastrami Reuben is affordable and satisfying. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumAs downtown Red Bank becomes more and more a shopping destination for one-percenters and a food court for homesick Staten Islanders on the jones for steaming piles of red sauce and garlic, the 99 percent who actually live here occasionally need to get creative and cross into neighboring towns for a good lunchtime fix.

And so it was that PieHole headed across the border to Tinton Falls for lunch at our current favorite oasis of reasonably priced eats and lack of pretension: the Pour House.

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IN GOTHAM: HOLY SOUR MASH, BATMAN

Arty Homes GothamGotham’s Arty Homes helped PieHole navigate the Red Bank bar’s eclectic cocktail menu. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumLate on a winter afternoon with a bitterly cold wind howling down Broad Street in Red Bank, PieHole stopped in at Gotham. A few loyal readers mentioned to us the new bar’s vast whiskey selection, and it seemed like a good time and place to warm up with a Manhattan before heading home for dinner.

It was just at the early side of Happy Hour, and a half-dozen patrons, mostly well-dressed couples catching a pre-dinner cocktail, hung around at the bar, but otherwise there was not much of a crowd.

We grabbed a seat and spied at least three American rye whiskeys behind the bar: Michter’s, Bulleit and Dad’s Hat. Most area bars don’t stock even a single rye whiskey, and PieHole typically settles for Canadian Club when ordering a Manhattan, so this was a nice selection indeed.

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RHODE BANK: STUFFIES FOR THE SUPER BOWL

chowdahousePieHole checks in with Rhode Island’s embassy in Red Bank, the Chowda House, to speak with chef Glenn Kovacs about stuffies. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels smallDespite being the smallest of the six states that make up New England, the breadth of unique, hyperlocal culinary contributions from Rhode Island make it a great place to look for inspiration for Super Bowl Sunday’s menu items.

The foods that are sure to make a Rhode Islanders’ mouth water that you’ve probably never heard of include hot wieners, the spinach pie and pizza strips, all polished off with a coffee milk.

But with a nod to the Patriots’ presence in the big game, the one Rhode Island food we’ve got our eyes on for this Super Bowl is the stuffed quahog, aka stuffie.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SAL’S SANDWICH

salsoriginal Boars Head turkey on store-baked bread at Sal’s Original in Shrewsbury. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumAfter running some errands in Shrewsbury to pick up some pens at Staples and frozen mahi mahi at Trader Joe’s (makes for great fish tacos), we noticed it was close enough to lunch time to swing by Sal’s Original for a sandwich.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GOOD KARMA LOVE BOWL

Good KarmaThe Love Bowl with coconut sauce and tempeh at Red Bank’s Good Karma Cafe. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumI have eaten the face off a pig.

Rubbed with herbs and lemon zest, rolled up tightly around the pig’s tongue and cooked sous-vide, it was a delicious combination of porky flavors and textures.

I mention this by way of disclaimer: I am not, probably, the target demographic for a vegan joint like Red Bank’s beloved Good Karma Café.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ROAST BEEF ON A ROLL

willow deli sandwichAt under five bucks, the roast beef sandwich from Willow Deli negates the bad parking lot feng shui. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

The Willow Deli is located on Willow Drive between downtown Little Silver and the Little Silver train station, and we can’t think of any deli on the Green we’ve driven past more often without ever having stopped in for a bite.

Perhaps something about the positioning of the parking lot at the apex of the curve on Willow hinted of bad feng shui and put us off our feed every time we’ve thought about grabbing a sandwich there.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A HEFTY ITALIAN

red bank sub shop sandwichThe #5 from Red Bank Sub Shop is the classic Italian sub that other sandwiches want to be. The shop has an impressive soda selection as well, below. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

red bank sub shop sodaPieHole popped in at the Red Bank Sub Shop on Monmouth Street to grab a couple of sandwiches for takeout. We ordered up a half a #5 – your classic Jersey “Italian” sub with ham, capicola, prosciuttini and provolone ($6.95) – and a half a turkey sub ($6.95).

As in any respectable sub shop, the sandwiches are made to order. While waiting for the meat to be sliced and the sandwiches made up, we noticed a few things that set owner Canio Paradiso’s place apart from other sub shops in town. The menu, for starters, features a couple of combinations that we were glad to see.

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RED BANK: A FLAVOUR FAVE AT THE MOLLY

Red Bank Flavour 24The season’s premier culinary showcase returns Thursday as the third annual Holiday Flavour showcase commandeers the Molly Pitcher Inn. (Photo by Jim Willis)

flavour 3 081612It’s described as “a grassroots culinary campaign driven by the borough’s top chefs, restaurateurs and proprietors,”and when the Red Bank Flavour collective hosts the Holiday Flavour event this Thursday, it will honor the great works of anther borough-based institution that’s grown from the grassroots up.

Taking place from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Molly Pitcher Inn, the third annual event offers up an array of food and drink from over 20 Red Bank-based restaurants, eateries and purveyors — with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Parker Family Health Center, the community health care facility established 14 years ago in an empty Shrewsbury parking lot with three patients and a donated trailer. Operating now from its own dedicated facility (and through the efforts of countless volunteers and donations), the PFHC serves more than 8,600 Monmouth County residents who lack health insurance or means to pay for healthcare services.

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RECIPE: A “FAMOUS” THANKSGIVING SIDE

casey pesceChef Casey Pesce tells PieHole that his family celebrates Thanksgiving with a surprisingly throwback menu. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

When a top area chef’s restaurant menu features such sensational and creative combos as goat cheese fritters with apricot preserves and truffle honey and butternut squash pizza with Brussels sprouts, carmelized fennel and ricotta, you’d imagine that his Thanksgiving table would feature at least a few dishes that push the boundaries of traditional American turkey day fare.

But if we’re talking about Casey Pesce, the masterful culinary mind behind d’jeet in Shrewbury, you would be mistaken. Pesce celebrates with a Thanksgiving dinner right that could have come right out of a 1950’s Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A COUPLE OF SLICES

pacinis slice

The Margarita Sicilian slice at Pacini’s Pizzeria: delicious, but a bit lightweight for a Sicilian style crust. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumPieHole was out running some mid-day errands at the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road in Red Bank – visiting the bank, the cleaners and the Post Office – you know, that tiny little sliver of downtown that caters to people who actually live here.

It was close to lunch time and we were overcome by a need to nosh, and so decided to grab a couple of slices of pizza from Pacini’s Pizzeria on Broad.

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RED BANK: A FLAVOUR-FAVE FOR FOODIES

Holiday FlavourThe Big Event in small plates returns to Red Bank on December 4, as the third annual Holiday Flavour showcase commandeers the Molly Pitcher Inn. (Photo by Jim Willis)

Press release from Red Bank Flavour

Red Bank Flavour, a grassroots culinary campaign driven by the borough’s top chefs, restaurateurs and proprietors, will tempt foodies to flirt with their senses this holiday season at the third annual Holiday Flavour event.

Slated for December 4, 2014 at The Molly Pitcher Inn, Holiday Flavour will invite guests to sip and sample an array of libations (from Ketel One, Johnny Walker, Baileys, and Rook) and cuisine from more than twenty of Red Bank’s most popular restaurants and eateries. In addition to the tasting, the charitable evening will include live music, a Santa’s grab bag featuring donations from Red Bank retailers, a tree lighting and a fabulous winter wonderland outside on the hotel’s beautiful waterfront promenade.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Parker Family Health Center, a health care facility where Monmouth County residents who do not have medical insurance or ability to pay for medical care can be treated.

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BUTCHERS TALK TURKEY BREASTS

turkey The Green’s butchers suggest customers get their Thanksgiving orders in by this Thursday. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, ’tis the season to talk turkey with a couple of The Green’s butchers.

PieHole checked in with Red Bank’s Citarella’s Market and Monmouth Meats and came away with a well-rounded education on breasts.

We learned, for one thing, that not everyone needs a whole turkey for Thanksgiving.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SUSHI AT SANSU

IMG_0044The shrimp tempura roll was a standout, but the new-to-us peanut avocado roll (right) was missing a note at the sushi counter. Or is it a bar? (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

IMG_0039PieHole and frequent lunch companion Brian McCourt rolled down River Road into Fair Haven to give Sansu Japanese Steakhouse a try for lunch. At 12:45, there was plenty of parking in the adjacent lot.

Last week, we singled out Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver because it had a lunch counter, one of the few in the area. McCourt took umbrage at my reference to the sushi bar as a counter and insisted it’s a bar, not a counter. In any case, that’s where we sat and ordered up some green teas while perusing the menu.

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