Erica Lieberman is jumping into the baked desserts fray with Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar on Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Into the ever-changing mix of Red Bank eateries comes a new entry that aims to compete on several fronts, including cupcakes and coffee.
Dubbed Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar, the business opening at 6 Monmouth Street also incorporates some offerings of the last tenant there. Chef Marc Fontaine, who briefly offered crepes under the banner of La Patisweet, will be working a section of the space now leased to Whipped owner and first-time retailer Erica Lieberman.
Photos by Stacie Fanelli. To enlarge the slideshow, click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner.
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Late in 2009 and into 2010, a sign in a window on West Front Street indicated a new specialty shop, Cake Red Bank, would be moving in soon, teasing the palates of passersby.
It never came.
But then, amid a series of pounding snowstorms that buried the area, a couple from Manhattan brought baked batter to the table in a nook on East Front called Sugarush, offering an array of cupcakes and confectionaries. It appeared that Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka had firmly staked their frosting knives in the ground.
Little did they know that two prospective cupcake merchants were greasing mini foils in preparation for their own cupcake outlets within blocks of Sugarush. Within a matter months, Red Bank, a town of 1.7 square miles, has become home to three cupcake shops the Pasekas’ Sugarush, Cupcake Magician and Mr. Cupcakes setting the stage for a turf war.
But several months in, the rivalry has shaped up as plain vanilla, with owners playing nice and customers, apparently welcome to options, having largely formed their own opinions and allegiances, showing that even in a small market, it’s possible to find a niche within a niche.
Mr. Cupcakes is one of two new cupcake purveyors in Red Bank, making three in total. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The batter’s going to start flying in Red Bank.
Just months after Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka opened cupcake-centric Sugarush on Front Street, two new niche bakeries plan to open in town, waging, if nothing else, a serious cupcake competition in town.
Some 30 Red Bank restaurants, shops and eateries — including Playa Bowls, above— will take part in a new summer schedule of Food and Wine Walk events beginning Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Between the weekend barbecues, the tented food fests and other open-air opportunities for grabbing a bite, it can be a bit difficult to digest all the options available to the free-ranging foodie here in the good old summertime.
If the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter have their way, however, we can simply let our feet carry us about the borough’s sidewalks and storefronts during the latest in a summer series of Food & Wine Walk events.
More than 20 local food purveyors will be present when the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest commandeers the White Street municipal parking lot this Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
While the recent cancellation of Riverfest has left a hole in Red Bank’s yearly segue into summer, fans of strolling smorgasbords and top-down tunes needn’t wait too long to get their festival fix — as this Sunday, the White Street municipal parking lot will be the scene for the 2017 edition of the Red Bank International Beer, Wine and Food Fest.
Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., the fundraising event will recognize the work of the Shrewsbury-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization CYMCA, and its mission to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to access life-changing Y programs and services.
Boondocks Fishery at Marine Park is just one of nearly 30 stops on and off the beaten path as the Food and Wine Walk events return for a new season. (Photo by Rachel Weston. Click to enlarge)
Calling all free-range foodies: the season for strolling smorgasbording and open-air culinary exploring is just now heating up, with the appearance of the first in 2015’s schedule of Red Bank Food and Wine Walks.
“Lunch with a VIP,” a yearly event that is highly anticipated by students and their guests, was once again a rousing success at Viola L. Sickles school in Fair Haven.
Sponsored by the Fair Haven Parent Teacher Association, the event offers students the opportunity to enjoy lunch, treats, and fun activities with a special guest “Very Important Person” from their life. This year’s “Lunch with a VIP” was held from March 11-13 for first, second, and third graders respectively.
Carlo’s Bakery of ‘Cake Boss’ fame plans to open in time for the Christmas holidays at 84 Broad Street, a company official said. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Make room on the oven rack: Cake Boss is moving in on Red Bank’s sweet tooth.
Carlo’s Bakery, the Hoboken pastry shop that gave rise to cable-TV phenom ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro and his growing empire of retail bake shops, has rented the former Ricky’s Candy Cones and Chaos space at 84 Broad Street, a company official confirmed to redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.
Melanie Pomerico creates custom-designed cake pops for many occasions, such as weddings (above), holidays, themed birthday parties, and more. (Photo provided by Lil’ Cutie Pops. Click to enlarge)
By DANIELLE TEPPER
Melanie Pomerico of Tinton Falls grew up spending a lot of her time in Red Banks shops and restaurants, but didnt expect shed one day become part of the downtowns booming business community.
After graduating from Philadelphias University of the Arts in 2003 with a B.A. in photography, she turned her creativity toward baked goods. Thus Lil’ Cutie Pops, a collection of custom-made cake pops, was born in 2010, as a sideline to Pomerico’s work in the photo industry.
Little more than two years later though, she’s preparing to open a retail store, at 16 Monmouth Street, and jump into the brisk competition for local dessert dollars.
Judging by the huge crowd and gorgeous weather, Sundays Red Banks Guinness Oyster Festival was shell-cracking success. Autumnal coolness and the aromas of 25 food borough restaurants drew thousands into the White Street lot consistently throughout the seven hours of tasting, dancing and people-watching. From reds pulled pork and apple slaw sandwiches to the Cupcake Magicians selection of sweet creations, locals were not left hungry. Oh, and the oysters and stout flowed, too. redbankgreen was on the scene to capture the fun. (Photos by Danielle Tepper, Trish Russoniello and John T. Ward)
Red Bank Flavour, a culinary campaign driven by the boroughs restaurants and food stores, presents A Night on the Navesink: A Flavour Summer Soiree at the Molly Pitcher Inn on Thursday, August 16.
Held at Red Banks newly renovated riverfront hotel, the evening, co-sponsored by hotel owner J.P. Barry Hospitality, will offer guests culinary samplings from more than 20 borough eateries, as well as wine samplings, libations and craft beer selections from New Jersey breweries.
Gene Horowitz soliciting donations for the Red Bank Middle School Foundation from downtown businesses last month. (Click to enlarge)
By DANIELLE TEPPER
Two years ago, amid some serious belt-tightening, the decision to eliminate all sports funding from the Red Bank Middle School budget came as a shock to Gene Horowitz, whose older son was looking forward to playing baseball that spring.
In order to correct what he saw as an injustice to the kids, Horowitz, of Branch Avenue, reached out to members of the community to brainstorm about what could be done. The result was the creation of the non-profit RBMS Athletics Foundation.
One night last month, Horowitz, an 18-year Red Bank resident who has fourth- and seventh-graders in the school, appeared before the mayor and borough council to recap the success of the foundation and to thank those who helped make it happen.
“This year, we actually had all our teams funded,” Horowitz said. “But we know that’s not a given.”
After 15 years in Red Bank, Racioppi’s Kitchen locked its doors Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The last two years were tough for Joe Racioppi (no relation to this reporter). The last six to eight months in particular, he said, became impossible to weather.
“It got to the point where I just couldn’t make the payments at home,” said Racioppi, who lives in the Navesink section of Middletown. “So it was at the point where I either found another job or got kicked out of my house.”
He chose the former, and on Sunday, months before the 16th anniversary of Racioppi’s Kitchen, Racioppi turned off the lights and locked the doors of his Italian deli and restaurant for the last time.
“It sucks,” he said. “It’s kind of depressing, but on the other hand, it’s kind of relieving.”
Racioppi’s is just one of a handful of businesses making an exit from Red Bank in recent weeks.