RED BANK: MENNA ADMITS FOOD TRUCK ERROR

pasquale menna 031120Mayor Pasquale Menna on Locust Avenue in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says he will recuse himself from future discussions of food trucks following questions raised by redbankgreen about work he did for the owner of a proposed site of a mobile eatery.

Menna, a private practice lawyer, did not disclose his connections to the property owner during Wednesday night’s council workshop meeting, when he revived the dormant issue of food trucks. But he said the omission was unintentional.

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RED BANK: YMCA PIVOTS TO HELP IN CRISIS

Crystal Rubins, membership director at the Red Bank Family YMCA, helps staff a food drive to support area residents served by Lunch Break in Red Bank. (Photo by Joshua Reed.)

[Press release from the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County]

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County pivoted immediately when its facilities shut down in March as the COVID crisis started. The gym floors, exercise spaces and pools were vacant, but employees and volunteers jumped into action to respond to critical community needs.

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RED BANK: MURPHY ‘PAUSES’ INDOOR DINING

Patrons of the Dublin House in Red Bank gather at its outdoor Temple Bar on June 20. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Tapping the brakes on his economic restart effort, Governor Phil Murphy indefinitely postponed a planned resumption of indoor restaurant dining Monday.

The move is “prudent” in the face of rising COVID-19 infection rates in other states, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the pandemic.

He also cited “overcrowding, a complete disregard for social distancing, [and] very few if any face coverings” at some New Jersey bars that he did not name.

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RED BANK: NEARLY NEW CALLS IT QUITS

After 27 years in business, Janice Brown has closed the Nearly Newly clothing store on Monmouth Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAfter a career as a Pan Am stewardess, Janice Brown found her second act in 1993 as a Red Bank retailer, selling stylish vintage clothing.

But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has decided to close the shop.

Read all about the end of the Nearly New Shop and other changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: PLAZAS RETURN FOR WEEK TWO

red bank broad street plazared bank broad street plazaAfter a widely praised start last week, pedestrian plaza dining and shopping on Broad Street in Red Bank returns for week two starting Thursday night.

Under the economic restart effort, Broad Street between West Front and Wallace streets is closed to vehicles from 3 p.m to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday evenings, and Monmouth Street between Broad and Maple Avenue is closed all day Sunday.

But after daytime sunshine, the weather forecast for Thursday evening is iffy, with evening showers possible, according to the National Weather Service.

What happens if it rains? Does the street reopen to vehicular traffic? No, and merchants make the call for themselves whether open, close or resume operations when passing summer showers threaten, as detailed by redbankgreen here.

Here’s the extended forecast for the Greater Red Bank Green.

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FAIR HAVEN: NO DUNKIN’ ON OVER EASY

fair haven over easy 061620Over Easy Kitchen plans to open in space vacated by Bike Haven nearly four years ago. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNo angry crowds, no predictions of traffic jams or children being run over by cars.

A restaurant proposed for Fair Haven’s Acme shopping center had a far easier time winning approval Tuesday night than its prospective neighbor, a Dunkin’ coffee shop that divided the town for months.

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RED BANK: PREPPING FOR PLAZAS

With the first of two unprecedented pedestrian plazas set to debut in downtown Red Bank Thursday night, prep work was underway on Broad Street earlier this week.

Above, a crew from Powerhouse Signs, under contract with Red Bank RiverCenter, installed in-tree uplighting that owner Jim Bruno said he hoped will create a “Greenwich Village vibe” for outdoor diners and shoppers. At right, code enforcement official Frank Woods checked  a sidewalk café for its distance from the curb.  

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RED BANK: BACK IN BUSINESS, OUT FRONT

red bank bistro 061520Reopening after almost three months to the day after they were ordered shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank restaurants drew numerous diners to their outdoor tables Monday night.

“It’s like normal – almost,” said Charlie Lyristis, co-owner of Bistro, on Broad Street, above. At right: a note left at tables for customers of Pazzo, on West Front Street.

See additional photos as restaurants resumed with sit-down, outdoor-only service under order of Governor Phil Murphy below.

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ON THE GREEN: RESTAURANTS REOPEN

little silver edie's 061520After a nearly three-month shutdown except for takeout, restaurants on the Greater Red Bank Green began reopening as sit-down, outdoor-only eateries Monday.

Even with the weather a bit on the cool side, “it’s nice to get of the hospital,” said a Riverview Medical Center employee sharing lunch with colleagues at Robinson Ale House in Red Bank, above. Read More »

RED BANK: RESTAURANTS HUSTLE TO REOPEN

red bank danny murphy 061120Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steakhouse, with the safety guide he prepared for his employees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Their industry battered over the past three months by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s restaurateurs are now scrambling for a toehold on recovery.

With partial reopenings slated to begin Monday, they’re training staff in a host of new hygiene procedures. At the same time, some are also racing to shift operations into two new shopping and dining plazas being created downtown.

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RED BANK: RETAIL DAMAGE, BUT HOPE, TOO

red bank forge alex montaperto 052020Alex Montaperto in Forge, her English Plaza shop, which hasn’t opened though it’s been ready for nine weeks. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWith the dust settling from one of the worst economic blows in American history, the damage to Red Bank’s retail scene is starting to come into focus.

Business shutterings and aborted lease deals are on the rise – no surprise – but there are also a few glimmers of optimism.

Read all about some of the changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: PLAZA DETAILS STILL IN THE WORKS

red bank monmouth street 060220Monmouth Street between Broad Street and Maple Avenue would become a pedestrian plaza all day on Sundays as part of a recovery plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDetails for turning two downtown Red Bank streets into part-time dining and shopping plazas hinge largely on pending clarity from Trenton, borough officials said Tuesday.

On a Zoom/conference call with merchants, borough officials said they need information from Governor Phil Murphy on key issues before they can finalize plans for allotting sidewalk and street space among restaurants, retailers and others.

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RED BANK: HOTEL PLANS PHASED REOPENING

red bank oyster point hotelThe Oyster Point will reopen Monday, while its sibling, the Molly Pitcher Inn, will remain closed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Easing back to life from its COVID-19 lockdown, Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel plans to launch a phased reopening Monday.

But amid uncertainty over wedding and business-event bookings, the hotel and its sibling Molly Pitcher Inn now have to “reinvent” themselves, company vice president Kevin Barry told redbankgreen Friday.

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RED BANK: TWO FALL FESTIVALS? MAYBE…

red bank oysterfest 2019 The annual Guinness Oyster Fest in September could be followed just three weeks later by the International Beer, Wine & Food Fest, usually held in April. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith a calendar decimated by the COVID-19 crisis, Red Bank appears to be in for an unusually quiet summer.

But as summer edges into autumn, two of the town’s largest annual food festivals could occur within three weeks of one another, redbankgreen has learned.

Here’s a lookahead at the pandemic’s impacts on the summer calendar.

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RED BANK: STREET CLOSINGS FOR DINING OK’D

red bank broad street 032720Broad Street would be closed from the intersection with Front Street, above, to Wallace Street three nights a week under the plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTwo major streets in the heart of downtown Red Bank would be closed to traffic to allow mid-street dining and shopping under action taken by the borough council Wednesday night.

The economic recovery measure needed lightning-fast approval so the business district “can to be ready the second we get the call” from Trenton about expected loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano.

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RED BANK: STUDENTS LEAD FOOD NONPROFIT

Compañeros de Comida 052620.pngCompañeros de Comida includes, from left, Catherine White, Charlotte Stant, Katherine Busch, Brooke Bosonac, Julia Lazarescu, Charlotte Shenman and Margot White. (Not shown: Brett Cetnar Garrett.) (Click to enlarge.)

[Press release from Compañeros de Comida]

 

There is an exciting new community collaboration in Red Bank. Several weeks ago, Lunch Break introduced a community grant program offering families financial assistance during the COVID Pandemic. At that time, Itzel Perez of American Friends Service Committee, Isabel Escalante, a parishioner at St. Thomas Church, Charlotte Stant, a rising senior at RFH and Risa Clay, Tinton Falls councilwoman and retired Red Bank Regional High School principal began working with the Greater Red Bank Women’s Initiative (GRBWI) Immigration Committee to help identified families complete their applications.

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