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RED BANK: FOOD, CLOTHES & MORE IN CHURN

JJ’s Delicasies, at 21 West Front Street, features a swirling logo on the sidewalk out front, thanks to a projector. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

In this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn, one of Red Bank’s hot vegan restaurants is building a separate takeout place, while a 24-hour gym, a barber shop and a cryotherapy spa all have plans to set up shop downtown.

Meantime, two businesses — a restaurant and a women’s clothing shop — have opened in recent days.

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RED BANK: MORE DESSERTS DOWNTOWN

Kayla Barbuto in her newly opened Lady K’s Bake Shop. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Cakes, tarts, ice-cream and other sweet treats: downtown Red Bank is adding to its dessert menu with the recent opening of a specialty bakery and plans for a new ice cream shop.

Read all about it in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: JJ’S ORGANIC, FUN AND FAMILIAR

Chalkboards list menu options at JJ’s Organic Grill ordering station. Below: waffle sticks. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

The Dugo family is betting that certified organic, non-GMO is the future of fast food, and so far, so good: their month-old Red Bank restaurant, JJ’s Organic Grill, is already becoming a popular choice for foodies.

Healthier alternatives for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed, no frills environment is what you’ll find here in the former Sicilia space, at the corner of Broad Street and Peters Place.

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RED BANK: COOLING OFF AT THE LIGHTHOUSE

Twilight at Strollo’s Lighthouse finds pint-sized customers getting their chill on. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Winding down the summer, PieHole seeks out a cooling oasis at the end of an oppressively hot and humid day and finds sweet reward at Strollo’s Lighthouse in Red Bank.

Wedged, literally, at the junction of Rector Place, Bridge Avenue and Riverside Avenue, the ice cream shop is a beacon to behold at the foot of Cooper’s Bridge.
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RED BANK: ICE CREAM & A MOVIE

The Gracie and the Dudes ice cream stand in Riverside Gardens Park is the place to be a sultry summer evening. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Riverside Gardens Park, sandwiched between West Front Street and the Navesink River in Red Bank, is a hive of activity on warm summer nights. Swarms of kids stop by to view the boats on the river, catch a glimpse of the sunset and maybe enjoy the weekly entertainment put on by the folks at the borough Parks and Rec department.

Enticed by the aroma of fresh baked waffles being shaped into cones, PieHole finds a place in line to see what everyone is ordering at the Gracie and the Dudes ice cream stand there.

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RED BANK: GLAZED AND AMUSED AT LUIGI’S

Teamwork at Luigi’s Ice Cream: one person holds an open table (left) while another waits on line to order. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

In Red Bank on a late-spring Saturday night, musicians, locals and tourists fill the sidewalks, and PieHole is right there with them. First we catch a whiff of pizza, fresh out of the oven, and then of something sweet. The scene is festive, and we’re hungry.

Stopping to listen to buskers performing Irish songs, we meet a group of teenage girls holding plates of donuts covered with sprinkles. In unison, they tell us that these are no ordinary donuts, and that the place to be right now is around the corner on Broad Street. So we head over to Luigi’s Ice Creamwhere we find a throng of gourmet-minded folks of all ages seeking out their next sugar high.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EARLY DINNER IN RUMSON

Vegetarian French onion soup with complimentary pimento cheese and crackers at the bar of Russell and Bette’s.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Skipping lunch in lieu of a date for early happy hour at Rumson’s charming new Russell and Bette’s on West River Road proves to be smart thinking, as PieHole finds a superabundance of dining choices here.

Pansy-filled window boxes and white stucco give the outside of the restaurant a cheerful veneer. Inside, we find an engaging old-world mood, with dark wood paneling and brick interior walls. Vintage stained glass chandeliers add color, while the bar to the right of the entrance is original to its predecessor, What’s Your Beef.

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RED BANK: YARN, SNEAKERS, JEWELRY & MORE

Customers at the community knitting table at Chelsea Yarns, which opened on Mechanic Street two weeks ago. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

A retail business moving into Red Bank from out of town. An existing business rebranding itself. Another one moving a few doors away. And a fourth calling it quits.

You might say this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has it all, churnwise.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TINY SPACE, HUGE FLAVOR

Meatballs in a perfect Sunday-style sauce with grilled pesto shrimp. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Found at the end of a short strip mall on White Road in Shrewsbury, the onetime My Sister’s Kitchen space is now home to a venture called Two Cousins Catering under new owners who are, indeed, cousins.

Stopping in on a weekend afternoon, PieHole finds Sue DellaGatta and Rob Klingebiel — whose mothers are sisters — working in a pint-sized kitchen. But the dishes they’re preparing are titanic in flavor.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GUILT-FREE SWEETNESS

A “Stupid Cupid” from Playa Bowls. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

From the day it opened last month, Playa Bowls in Red Bank has drawn long lines of teens and tweens waiting to get inside, and the after-school and weekend mania hasn’t let up. This might give the impressions that one, it’s a place for kids, and two, that it’s a fad.

Time will tell if the craze lasts, but on the coldest day of the year so far, What’s For Lunch paid its first visit to the West Front Street business and found a full house of mixed-age customers at midday. Manager Robin Krieger tells us that many are employees of Riverview Medical Center, just two blocks east.

 

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RED BANK: TAPAS OUT; CLOTHES, ICE CREAM IN

The short-lived home of a Subway shop at 60 Broad is slated to open as Luigi’s Ice Cream. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

A restaurant departs as an ice cream shop and a clothing store prepare to open in downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

Details below.

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CRAVINGS: CELEBRATORY PROFITEROLES

110116o-bistro-profiterole-2An iconic French dessert, a profiterole at O Bistro is what we crave. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsRinging in 2017 in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower sounds romantic, if not so practical.

But Francophiles on the Greater  Green can hoist a glass of (BYOB) Champagne at O Bistro Francaise in Red Bank while dipping a spoon into the best chocolate sauce in New Jersey.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GOOD GRAVY AND FRIES

121916taylorsams5The Prime “samwich” of sliced Angus beef, with fries and a memorable gravy, at Taylor Sam’s. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?When a reader tells us about a new favorite eatery in Red Bank, PieHole pays attention. And at a recent party, an enthusiastic fan suggested that we hustle over to the two-week-old Taylor Sam’s at 20 Broad Street. So we did.

The interior looks little changed from that of its predecessors at the address, The Spot and Mac Attack Cheesery, but the menu at the newest addition to the downtown restaurant scene is distinctive, owner Scott Spivak tells us.

“Everything is 100-percent from scratch,” he said. The dishes we tried lead to instant fandom as well.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EUROPA GRILL TAPAS

111916europa3A hot sampler for two from the appetizer/tapas menu at Europa Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?New to the Shrewsbury Village strip mall in Shrewsbury, Europa Grill fills in the storefront left empty by Rosina’s Ristorante. Like its predecessor, it serves Italian food, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Mediterranean-themed frescoes, including an attention-grabbing celestially painted ceiling, brighten the decor. Tables set with linens, comfortable seating, and friendly, helpful service add up to a more formal but lively atmosphere.
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CRAVINGS: A PASSION FOR PUMPKIN

091816rookcrave1Katie Katzgrau satisfies her craving for pumpkin at Rook in Red Bank.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsWhat are you craving these days? PieHole‘s asking for a new, occasional feature called Cravings, which we see as a way of shining a quick spotlight on gotta-have culinary yearnings — and, of course, ways to satisfy them right here on the Greater Red Bank Green.

In this one, with pumpkin-flavored everything showing up even before the tree leaves begin turning our world gold and orange, we chat with a woman who dreams of pumpkin flavor all year long.
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CRAVINGS: A BUSHEL IN A BURRITO

90516calientecantina1A fried sweet apple burrito covered in two sauces and ice cream. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsSeasonal changes can induce all sorts of fresh cravings, and with September screaming “apple season,” PieHole stumbles on a dessert so tasty, and in such an unlikely place, that sharing our bonanza is all we can do.

Read on to see where you can feast on this crave-able cinnamon-scented apple burrito.
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COOL INSIDE: SUMMER FLOATS AWAY

TOAST_082816A Root Beer Float from Toast City Diner. (Photo by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

By SHERRI HALL

toast 082716Is it really over already? No! Say it isn’t so!

As the summer of 2016 fades into history, it is with great reluctance that PieHole‘s Cool Inside series closes out (sniff!) with a simple classic: a root beer float.

It’s the 15th entry in the series that has served up everything from a waffle bowl to an egg cream, with lots of variety in between. Each was carefully selected to deliver maximum mouthfuls of flavor and bone-cooling effect on a hot summer’s day.

But remember, dear reader: summer doesn’t actually end until September 22. So if you missed any of our stops, there’s a complete list at the bottom of this article to help you keep cool in the interim —and beyond. Because really, if you think about it, does summer actually have to end?

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COOL INSIDE: TALL AND COOL IN THE SADDLE

CoffeeCorral_081816The Peanut Butter Protein Blast from the Coffee Corral. (Photo by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

By SHERRI HALL

coffee corral extThis week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series gets its recommended daily allowance of the primary food groups — caffeine, peanut butter and chocolate —all in one cold cupful at a popular Red Bank coffee stop. Read More »

COOL INSIDE: A ‘BOMBA’ OF SUBTLE FLAVORS

BOMBA_081116A Juanito’s ‘Bomba,’ packed with flavor and texture. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

juanito's bakery 081116This week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series sinks a straw into a thick, cold beverage that’s kind of a mash-up of a fruit smoothie and a chocolate milkshake.

It’s called a “Bomba,” and the guy who made it for us swears it’s a great way to start your day. Yes, for breakfast. And we found it delivers a payload of satisfying flavors and textures while cooling us to the core on a sweltering August afternoon.

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COOL INSIDE: PARTY IN A CUP

CHOCO-WORKS_080416Presenting the Candy Wonderland Shake. (Photos by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

SHERRI HALL

chocolate works 080516 1This week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series spotlights what may just be the eye-poppingest drinkable treat you’ll ever lay eyes on.

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COOL INSIDE: INSIDE THE BUBBLE

CHILL_072816A Lemon-Strawberry Ice Bubble from Chill Bubble Tea in Red Bank. (Photos by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

SHERRI HALL

chill bubble tea 5This week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series gets a little bubbly and fruity with a cold drink that pops in your mouth.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A RED LIGHT SANDWICH

072616redlight3The Big Tuna, one of only four sandwiches offered at Red Light Coffee and Espresso Bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch? Seeking out a caffeine fix, PieHole stopped in at the Red Light Coffee and Espresso Bar in Lincroft’s Acme shopping center on Newman Springs Road.

On a strip that also houses Aleo’s Italian Specialties, this 10-month-old java joint is turning out more than the expected demitasse and cappuccino. The jewel-box-sized, ruby-walled 650-square-foot space is also serving up gourmet sandwiches.
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COOL INSIDE: A RIVERSIDE MILKSHAKE

GRACIE-DUDES_072216A chocolate milkshake from Gracie and the Dudes in Red Bank. (Photo by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

SHERRI HALL

gracie dudes 071916 1This week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series features an old fatithful cold drink you can now enjoy overlooking our beautiful Navesink River from Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank.

For those who missed the news: the snack stand in the park, which has barely been used over its two-decade existence, is now operating as a third location for Gracie and the Dudes Homemade Ice Cream. Read More »

COOL INSIDE: FRUITY AND FLYIN’ AT KITCH

KITCH-ORGANIC_071516The Flyin’ Hawaiian  at Kitch Organic in Red Bank. (Photo by Sherri Hall. Click to enlarge.)

By SHERRI HALL

This week, PieHole‘s Cool Inside summer series features a healthy way to beat the heat with a vitamin-packed smoothie from a 100-percent gluten-free establishment. Read More »