WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SALVADORAN FEAST

030816fredyjeremy2Pollo Azado  with casamiento at Fredy Jeremy’s, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

030816fredyjeremyTucked into a nondescript, partly vacant strip mall next door to a car wash on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank, Fredy Jeremy’s is a delightful surprise.

Retaining the pizza and subs offered by the previous tenant, Red Bank resident Fredy Menjivar livens up his six-month-old restaurant with his scrumptious take on traditional  Salvadoran fare.

With plenty of Mexican food options in Red Bank, “there was no place to get Salvadoran food,” says the longtime former deli worker, who yearned to showcase the tastes and flavors of his culture.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEDITERRANEAN FUSION

021716greekamole1A Mediterranean chicken salad platter from Greekamolé, which is owned by Jimmy Elenis, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

021716greekamoleElenisThree months after the debut of Greek Eats, a fast-food restaurant modeled on Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shrewsbury has a second entry in the market for quick Greek eats.

But the latest addition, Greekamolé at 1130 Broad Street, takes a broader international view, commingling Greek, Moroccan, Israeli and Latino flavors.

“I wanted to do something that wasn’t done,” owner Dimitrios ‘Jimmy’ Elenis tells PieHole. “I wanted to do greens and grains. That’s what you find people eating in the Mediterranean countries.”
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RED BANK: FROM THE SOUTH TO YOUR MOUTH

011516charlestonshop3Clare Destoppelaire, manager of the Charleston Shops in Red Bank, shows off some of the Low Country food she sells.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

011516charlestonstonshop4Filling in the space on Monmouth Street recently vacated by Toad Hollow is Red Bank’s newest purveyor of epicurean delights: the Charleston Shops. And it’s got a Southern accent.

Owners Isa and Peter Hewitt, a couple who live in north Jersey, love visiting the coastal Low Country area of South Carolina, where they have a home. So much so that they now have three Charleston Shops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, betting that other northerners will enjoy what Charleston has to offer as well.

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LINCROFT: ALEO’S MOVEABLE FEAST

121215aleo3The helpful employees at Aleo Italian Specialties get customer orders out quickly. Below, some of the many gourmet takeout options.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121215aleo4Stepping into Aleo Italian Specialties in the Acme shopping center on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, PieHole was immediately hit with a feeling of deja vu.

The aroma of cheese and garlic surrounds you, calling to mind Arthur Avenue, the famous Little Italy shopping area in the Bronx. Then there’s the sight of food — everywhere. Hanging salami and cheese; shelves filled with rustic fresh breads from Brooklyn; imported dry pasta; and deli counters teeming with house-made delicacies. Your mouth waters and you forget what you came in for.

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RED BANK: SMALL KITCHEN YIELDS BIG FLAVOR

112415jamians1Mixed green salad on the specials menu at Jamian’s Food and Drink is available for lunch or dinner. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112415jamians3PieHole dipped a spoon into a bowl of black bean soup at Jamian’s Food and Drink in Red Bank while waiting for a recent weekly trivia game to begin, and swooned. Jalapeno heat and cumin-infused flavor told us that someone new was working in the kitchen.

Owner Jamian LaViola hired 46-year-old chef Andy Doelger to run the three-person kitchen two months ago, and customers are starting to notice the difference. We’ve been asked by more than one satisfied diner if we’ve tasted the braised short rib grilled cheese yet. Yes, we have and it’s seriously good.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? FAST FOOD, GREEK STYLE

112715greekeats1A plate of rotisserie chicken at Greek Eats comes with pita bread and a variety of  sides. A gyro, below, loaded with fillings, including french fries.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112715greekeats6That old line about having fast food “your way” can definitely be applied to the newest restaurant on Newman Springs Road on the Shrewsbury-Red Bank border.

Greek Eats, located in a high-ceilinged, industrially-styled space on the former site of Memory Bowling, is the brainchild of George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis, brothers and owners of Teak and the Bistro in Red Bank.

But if decor and the fun, blue-eyed logo — a protector against the evil eye —  don’t pull you in, the opportunity to grab some authentic Greek grub certainly should.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MOJO IN A SANDWICH

111815chikyboomwfl1ChikyBoom’s Cuban sandwich comes on a platter loaded with fries, potato salad and mojo sauce. Belly up to the bar in the front of the restaurant.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111815chikyboom3Grabbing a stool in the bar area of ChikyBoom on Broad Street in Red Bank, PieHole was eager to try its Cubano, or Cuban sandwich given a boost in popularity by ‘Chef,’ the movie starring Jon Favreau released last year.

Was chef Eduardo Bover up to making one?

“If you’re a Cuban and you don’t know how to make a Cuban sandwich, get out of the business,” says Bover, himself an import from the Caribbean isle, as noted in a PieHole profile.

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FAIR HAVEN: SCHOOLED ON MEATBALLS

102115aurichio3Meatballs and gnocchi in San Marzano tomato sauce with parmesan-ricotta crema made by chef Julie Aurichio, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

102115 aurichio1It takes courage to stand in front of a class full of gourmet-minded students and declare that your recipe for meatballs will be the best they’ve ever tasted.

Lifelong Fair Haven resident Julie Aurichio did just that. Chef, personal assistant and owner of Just Julie — a luncheonette that occupied the space now rented to Seed to Sprout in the Acme Shopping Center in Fair Haven from 2002 to 2004 — she’s now adding culinary instructor to her résumé.

PieHole caught up with Aurichio and her fiancé, Rob Candiotti, a chef at the Raven and the Peach, while they taught a cooking class at Taste and Technique Cooking Studio on River Road in Fair Haven recently. Read on to learn about “Meatballs and More,” their unique twists on the Italian mainstay.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A 10TH AVE. BURRITO

10291510thave4The burrito comes with how-to-eat directions. Below, the chips and salsa dip. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

10291510thave2From Broad Street to Bridge Avenue, burritos have become a ubiquitous menu staple in Red Bank. Interpretations of the Mexican-style tortilla-wrapped meal are becoming increasingly competitive, with hungry fans reaping the rewards.

Jumping into the scrimmage is the much-anticipated 10th Ave. Burrito Company, open since August on West Front Street. PieHole popped by for lunch this week.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A PIG AND FIG

092415cheesecave2The Pig and Fig sandwich from the Cheese Cave. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092415cheesecave4Four and a half years after opening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the Cheese Cave, a boutique cheese shop, is often swamped for takeout at lunch time. Whether you call ahead or order when you get there, you may have to wait in line.

If you have the time though, you should consider eating inside. The atmosphere is woodsy and calm. Sandwiches are served on bread boards instead of plates, adding an old-world rustic touch.

But it’s the sandwich combinations — or “sanwicheeses,” as they say here — that pack ’em in.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AUTHENTIC MEXICAN

091515chaparrita3Enchiladas in salsa verde at La Chaparrita, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson and John T Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
la chaparrita 091515

Authentic Mexican food that brings serious heat, if that’s what you want, can be found at La Chaparrita, a grocery store and restaurant on Red Bank’s West Side with an affectionate slang Spanish name meaning “shorty.”

Lunch at one of the three cozy tables in the Shrewsbury Avenue gem is probably not so different from your mom’s — that is, if your mom has music blaring while she prepares hundreds of tamales just steps away.

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RED BANK: MONMOUTH STREET CHURNS

9 monmouth 072915Moving to Red Bank from Spring Lake, Charleston Shops is taking over 9 Monmouth Street, above, former home of Toad Hollow.

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis installment of redbankgreen’s Retail Churn finds lots of changes underway at the corner of Broad and Monmouth streets in Red Bank.

And a good deal of it is happening at 80 Broad, the former Red Bank Mini Mall building at the southwest corner of that intersection that recently added Toki as a tenant.

 

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEETUP AT DELFINI

071715delfinis3A Buffalo shrimp salad from Delfini, above. The Big Lou sandwich shown, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071715delfinis6Keeping lunch hour social, PieHole joined Red Bank Lunch Meet at Delfini Gourmet Catering, at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, on a recent outing.

What’s Lunch Meet? Created by borough resident and redbankgreen webmaster Kenny Katzgrau, it’s a loose assemblage of epicures in which any member can suggest a get-together, whether it be for lunch, happy hour or dinner. It’s all coordinated through the group’s Facebook page.

This meetup was called by another Red Banker, Tom Musumeci. No one attending had eaten at Delfini before, but everyone came away impressed by the fresh ingredients and array of choices.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A TASTE OF GREECE

071415melodycafe3The grilled-shrimp souvlaki platter from Melody’s Café, formerly Santorini Greek Cuisine.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071415melodycafe1Stepping into the foyer of Melody’s Café in Lincroft, we immediately felt the pull of the Adriatic. Murals, glass partitions and up-lights in shades of blue suggest a mood of clear skies and pristine seas.

First though, you need to find the place, tucked away as it is in a Newman Springs Road strip mall containing three restaurants and an Acme supermarket.

Reopened since May after broken pipes caused extensive water damage to the building, the name and hours of the former Santorini Greek Cuisine have changed, but the food is most definitely still Greek-inspired.

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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? 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

060915juanitos1
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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SURF TACO’S SALSA ROCKS

052715surftacosTwo beef tacos and a Hawaiian salad hit the spot at Surf Taco on Broad Street in Red Bank. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumFast food joints came and went quickly for years in Red Bank, but none of them seemed to connect until four years ago, when the Point Pleasant-based chain Surf Taco opened on Broad Street, offering “coastal style” fast-food.

A regular customer in the early years, PieHole hadn’t stopped into the Baja style eatery in quite a while. Why? Lots of other restaurants opened in town, and this former fave was somewhat forgotten. But, needing a quick lunch, we decided to pay the simple, brickwalled tacqueria  a visit.

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SEA BRIGHT: INSPIRATION AMONG THE WEEDS

holly hindin 051715Holly Hindin, owner of Holly Jolly Jams. Below, her dandelion jelly being readied for sale. (Photo above by John T. Ward; others by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

dandelion jelly-001Next time you find yourself lamenting a dandelion-dotted lawn, consider the culinary inspiration a jelly chef found in those annoying perennials.

Kyle Goedde sells seasonal vegetables grown at Harvest Moon Farm in Hillsborough at the Sea Bright Farmers Market every Thursday in summer. Next to his booth, Fair Havenite Holly Hindin, of Holly Jolly Jams, sells jams and jellies. Getting off to a chilly and slow start, they had plenty of down time to chat.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A MONSTER BURGER

040115 jamianmonsterburger1The Monster Burger, ordered from the specials menu at Jamian’s Food and Drink. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

040115 jamianmonsterburger2A regular stop for many Count Basie Theatre ticket holders, Jamian’s Food and Drink, on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, has a loyal local following, showing up for dinner, ever-changing art shows, great music and a lively bar.

At a regular Tuesday night trivia game, PieHole noticed a customer tucking into an enormous burger that seemed to require larger-than-average hands to hold and a strong jaw to get a good bite.

The standard menu burger has never disappointed, so with curiosity piqued, we went back the next day to try that Monster Burger for lunch.

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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: A TEA ROOM WITH CHOPS

012915 raven tea room sandwichesA beef tenderloin BLT sandwich in the foreground, and the shrimp salad-filled brioche in background at the Raven Tea Room, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

012915 raven tea roomThe phrase “tea room” conjures images of prissy old ladies ordering pots of chamomille and delicate, crust-removed cucumber sandwiches served on fine floral patterned porcelain dishes. The Raven Tea Room in the Fair Haven Commons building is nothing like that.

Sophisticated styling in both the decor and menu have made this lunch-only restaurant – which shares a website and ownership with the Raven and the Peach but has its own space in the Fair Haven Commons – a staple in the community for years. The dark wood tables and comfortable cushioned armchairs surrounded by suede gray painted walls give the place a masculine, club-like feel. Windows looking out on River Road lend an open feeling to the room. But should you wind up with a view of the parking lot, well, just turn your chair toward the open kitchen and watch the chef working his magic.

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RED BANK: FEEDING A HUNGRY MULTITUDE

121214 feast4Laura Pena, center, and helpers prepared a feast for 1,200 guests in the kitchen of Saint Anthony’s Church. Below, every little container of salsa verde was filled by hand.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121214 feast2What does it take to feed some 1,200 hungry Hispanics at a religious feast following a long procession through Red Bank?

If the event is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we’re talking many trays filled with slow-roasted, fall-off-the-bone, juicy spiced pork infused with pineapple.

The aroma from the kitchen of Saint Anthony’s Church on Bridge Avenue certainly got a multitude of mouths salivating.

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KEEP IT LOCAL FOR LAST-MINUTE FOOD GIFTS

121914 sickles xmasChocolate-covered pretzels dressed up and party-ready happen to be hyperlocal. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels smallLooking for a last-minute Christmas gift with some culinary influence? Something for the foodie on your list?

PieHole has a handful of hyperlocal ideas to share with you.

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LITTLE SILVER: TASTES OF (LITTLE) ITALY

121614 ferruccis2Sandy and Paolo D’Amico behind the counter of Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen. Below, buffalo milk butter from Parma, Italy.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121614 ferruccisShopping at Ferrucci’s Gourmet Delicatessen in the Prospect Plaza strip mall in Little Silver is like stepping into a classic Italian grocery store, according to a customer who stopped in to pick up pizza dough brought in from Brooklyn. It’s as good as Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, he said.

Mixed New York boroughs aside, there is something about New York city tap water that makes pizza dough and bread taste better. And the bread at Ferrucci’s is delivered daily from Brooklyn along with the dough. It’s also a consistent daily sellout, says owner Sandy D’Amico.

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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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