LITTLE SILVER: VOTERS SAY ‘BOTTOMS UP’

ls booze 110115 2Referendum proponent Matt Kelly had suggested booze be allowed in the vicinity of the train station.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Little Silver is ready to wet its whistle.

Voters said “cheers” in Tuesday’s election to a referendum that would end the borough’s dry spell dating back at least to Prohibition, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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LITTLE SILVER: BOOZE Q ON THE BALLOT

ls booze 110115 1The town hasn’t allowed alcoholic drinks to be sold by the glass at least since Prohibition. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

Is Little Silver ready for a stiff drink?

For the second time in 39 years, voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to allow the creation of the town’s first-ever on-premise-consumption liquor license.

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RED BANK: ARE WE THAT DRUNK?

rb beer cheese 031614 7The ranking methodology includes the number of bars per capita.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_03Is Red Bank the fourth-drunkest town in New Jersey?

An infotainment website based in North Carolina claims it is.

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SEA BRIGHT: POPPING IN AT HARRY’S

082715harrys4redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page pops in owner/chef Lou Jacoubs to find out about at changes at Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright. Among them: cooking classes starting this month. Check out the story here. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

 

SEA BRIGHT: HARRY’S LOOSENS ITS TIE

082715harrys1Harry’s Lobster House owner and chef Lou Jacoubs gives PieHole a lesson in lobster anatomy. The patio is open to the street, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

082715harrys5Is it possible for a restaurant open since 1933 to keep its jacket-and-tie reputation while loosening its style?

Lou Jacoubs, owner and chef at Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright for four decades, is asking himself that very question.

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RED BANK: A FEW HAPPY HOURS

062915birravino2Happy hour choices at Birravino included organic house wine, beer and an appetizer, while at Robinson’s Ale House, below, a martini starred.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

063015robinsonsThough it’s ubiquitous in Red Bank, happy hour – that late-afternoon, discounted bar-tab menu option – should not be taken for granted. Many states, according to the National Center for State Courts, prohibit or limit what has become a traditional time of day to meet with friends and acquaintances in New Jersey.

Although most bars and restaurants offer special deals to lure customers, you might be surprised at how differently those two or three hours are interpreted. PieHole breaks down what can be considered an early bird special for the economically minded while others might call it a snack before dinner.

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SEA BRIGHT: BRUNCH MAKES A BEACHHEAD

061415amaviewThe dining deck at Ama, with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Below, a brunchtime bloody Mary. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061415ama1For many years, options for Sunday brunch, the 10-to-2 repast that invites an eat-whatever-you’re-in-the-mood-for approach to breakfast and lunch, were limited on the Greater Red Bank Green.

Our only choices were expensive buffets at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn and Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, both of which required reservations and adherence to dress codes.

But the boom of new restaurants in Red Bank and Sea Bright has brought more a la carte options for brunch-seekers.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? PIZZA AT DANNY’S

061115dannys4Danny’s has been using the same tomato sauce recipe since 1969 on its pizza. Sidewalk seating is available, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061115dannys3Danny Murphy had his hands in the restaurant business long before the current incarnation of Danny’s Steak House on Red Bank’s West Side.

Murphy’s mother owned a place called the Friendly Luncheonette on West Front Street, where he worked in the 1950’s. In his teens, he learned pizza-making a few doors away, at Brother’s Restaurant. He opened his own restaurant around the corner, on Bridge Avenue, in 1969, starting with Italian dishes, and later adding steak and fish to the menu.

It’s his pizza, though, that PieHole remembers first eating 23 years ago. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COCKTAILS’ AT THE COFFEE CORRAL

061715cofcorralCourtlyn Crosson makes a High Roller, seen below complete with grapefruit foam. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061715cofcorral2Tired of getting the same old latte or mochaccino from your local coffee shop? Baristas, the mixologists of caffeinated beverages, are raising the bar by creating new and interesting coffee “cocktails.”

Twenty-four-year-old Courtlyn Crosson, barista at the Coffee Corral in Red Bank, brings PieHole up to date on some of the latest innovations.

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SEA BRIGHT: GOING OVERBOARD AT EVENTIDE

050215 eventide2The pungent Garlic Shrimp, above, and the Drunken Clams, below,are customer favorites.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

050215 eventide4There isn’t a bad seat at the Eventide Grille, tucked away at the Navesink Marina in Sea Bright.

Mesmerized by the sun glinting off the Shrewsbury River, PieHole almost forgot the real reason we were here, until an insistent, growling stomach reminded us: lunch.

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QUENCHING A CINCO DE MAYO THIRST

050315 downtown  butler3 Downtown bartender John Butler makes PieHole a fresh strawberry margarita.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

050315 downtown margarita4Maybe it was the sterling weather this past weekend, or maybe it was the swarm of happy folks packing the restaurants and bars in town that put us in a celebratory mood.

Remembering that Cinco de Mayo is this week, PieHole made its way to the Downtown in Red Bank with its enormous open front window view of Broad Street. Finding a couple of empty bar stools at the ready, we joined the already cheerful customers.

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SEA BRIGHT: DIVING INTO A BLOODY HOOK

040215 dive3Ashlyn Schmidt pours a spicy bloody Mary at Dive in Sea Bright. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

040215 dive2A sweet cocktail filled with tropical fruit is nice on a hot summer day, but with the strong spring winds still blowing sharp and cold in Sea Bright, only a hearty, spicy cocktail could quench PieHole‘s thirst.

Dive, a “coastal bar and food joint” on Ocean Avenue, offers a Sunday brunch and bloody Mary menu featuring a quaff called the Bloody Hook that makes the lips tingle and the throat burn with enjoyment.

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MIDDLETOWN: GIVING FUTURE CHEFS A BOOST

032114 recipe for success correctChefs from more than 30 local restaurants impressed guests at last year’s “Recipe for Success” at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Chefs representing more than 30 Red Bank-area restaurants will be cooking to impress the gourmet-minded for a good cause again this year.

Now an annual event at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, the Joseph Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation fundraiser will host restaurants, wine and spirit merchants and hundreds of discerning palates with a taste-tempting exposition on Monday, March 23.

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AT THE DUB: IRISH COFFEE THE IRISH WAY

022615 Dublin house1A traditional Irish Coffee at the Dublin House. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

dublin house 022013There was a time, not so long ago, when most restaurants would hand their customers a menu of coffee-based, alcohol-laced, sweetened beverages at the end of a meal. But food and drink styles are as susceptible to change as runway garb, and tend to be described in the same way. Does your taste go to something retro or classic? Or are you always looking for the next new thing?

Café mocha double lattes may come and go, but there are some classic drinks that are always in style. And with stores bedecked in shades of green reminding us that the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday is on its way, PieHole went in search of an old standard at the Dublin House Pub on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

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LITTLE SILVER: CATERERS FIND NEW KITCHEN

021915 walton1Linda Walton in the new Whistling Onion kitchen with some of the foraged artisanal products that she has been creating, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

021915 walton5Tucked behind the Little Szechuan Chinese Restaurant on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver is a good-sized, fully stocked kitchen that is now home to the Whistling Onion, a catering business.

As previously reported, Whistling Onion owners Linda Walton and Lynn McKittrick found a temporary fix at Via45 in Red Bank, where they could meet their catering commitments made before to Hurricane Sandy wiped out the Riverfront Cafe , their restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

Now, they’ve got a kitchen of their own again.

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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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RUMSON: NEW JERSEY’S BEST BAR?

Among the watering holes featured as NJ.com, the website of the Star-Ledger, searches for New Jersey’s Best Bars is Murphy’s Tavern, the Prohibition-era speakeasy hidden in the basement of a Rumson house. Heather Racioppi, who bought the place with fellow Red Bank bartender Robb McMahon in 2005, give NJ.com’s roving reporter Pete Genovese the history. His story is here. (Video courtesy of NJ.com.)

QUENCH: AN OLD-FASHIONED AT SALT CREEK

020115 saltcreek habel3An Old-Fashioned at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille, above. Below, Rob Habel muddles fruit for the cocktail.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020115 saltcreek habel2Blended to shades of cherry red and bright orange, an Old-Fashioned made by Rob Habel at Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille reminds PieHole of the stunning sunsets you might see over the Navesink River just out the window.

“My grandfather showed me the classics,” says Habel, 33, the newly appointed beverage manager at the riverfront favorite. “I love old-fashioned drinks, and might bring back some of the old school.”

His favorite “old-fashioned” cocktail to make? An Old-Fashioned.

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RED BANK: SEAFOOD RESTAURANT SET TO OPEN

catch 121014 3catch 121014 2Continuing the rapid transformation of Red Bank into a dining mecca, the paper comes off the windows at 9 Broad Street as the seafood restaurant Catch opens Thursday night. At right: a calamari appetizer prepared in the kitchen of chef and partner Domenick Rizzo for a friends-and-family run-through Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: ALE HOUSE OPENS; CATCH IS NEXT

120614 robinsons1The Robinson Ale House on Broad Street had a soft opening last week.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

retail churn smallRestaurant tycoon Tim McLoone’s new venture, the Robinson Ale House, opened quietly in downtown Red Bank last Friday.

Coming eight months after McLoone took over the lease and liquor license of the longtime Broad Street eatery Murphy Style Grille, the soft opening kicks off a big week of restaurant debuts downtown.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? COMFORT FOOD W/ RIV VU

120414 potpieChicken pot pie at the International Bar in the Molly Pitcher Hotel. Below, the pot pie scooped out of its baking dish. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120414 potpie3The days of the Mad Men-style two-martini lunch have been over for decades, but there is a staunch holdout in Red Bank where you can still enjoy this throwback indulgence if you have the luxury of time.

With wood-paneled walls, carpeted floor, and a beckoning fireplace creating a dark, masculine, club feeling, the International Bar at the Molly Pitcher Inn makes a terrific traditional martini. A sense of luxurious comfort abounds, and the bar’s menu of standard American choices adds to that feeling of well-being.

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LITTLE SILVER MULLS FIRST LIQUOR LICENSE

ls council 111714Residents packed Monday night’s borough council meeting, many in support of a referendum on the license question.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Little Silver voters may face a non-binding referendum next year on whether the town should issue its first-ever license for on-premise consumption of alcohol.

That possibility appeared to gel into likelihood Monday night on the heels of a builder’s request, backed by a 500-signature petition, asking the borough council to make allowance for a family-style restaurant that serves alcohol.

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RED BANK: SPICING UP A MONDAY NIGHT

110314 pazzo1The granite bar at Pazzo is as inviting as any table in the restaurant. Below, complimentary dishes of  olives and warm bread and butter served at the bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110314 pazzo3After a fun weekend, the blow of facing another Monday is sometimes enough to bring the strongest person down. Enter Pazzo on West Front Street in Red Bank, though, and Monday night gets a little easier to bear.

“Pazzo,” in Italian, means crazy, but it’s nothing short of brilliant that this restaurant has given customers a reason to look forward to that first workday of the week with a deal of half-price pizza and pasta dishes. Any pie or pasta dish listed on the menu is fair game for this Monday night offer.

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RED BANK: THE GIRLS HAVE THEIR NIGHT OUT

101614gno29101614gno22Looking for all the world like the trendiest bag ladies you’ve ever seen, more than 200 women signed up for this year’s edition of Girls Night Out, held Thursday and sponsored by Red Bank RiverCenter and Riverview Medical Center. Discounted food and drink at a long list of restaurants, discounts in many stores and goodie bags were just some of the festive attractions. The warmer-than-usual weather was perfect for the ladies to walk around and enjoy the musical entertainment on the streets. Look below for more pictures. Were you there?   (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RUMSON: CRAFT BEERS AND A SOUVENIR

100914 maguire1John Mayer pours a pint of Starr Hill Sabbath Black IPA. Below, souvenir glasses available to the first 24 customers of the night. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100914 maguire2Beer enthusiasts have some serious decisions to make at Molly Maguire’s Gastropub in Rumson.

“Twenty-one choices on tap, plus bottled beers from all over, if you’re not really a tap person,” says Kathy Maguire, who owns the East River Road establishment with her husband, Mike. “We also have a gluten-free beer.”

Thursday nights at the former Murray MacGregor’s, now beginning its fourth year under the Maguire flag, have become particularly interesting to beer lovers: a different craft beer is tapped each week. And as an added incentive, the first two dozen customers can bring home a beer glass bearing the brand of the featured suds. Empty, of course.

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