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RED BANK: FRESH “JAM” AT PARK STAND

Steve Farley, left, and Bill Huwyler at Riverside Park Jam, the former concession stand in Riverside Gardens Park that they’ve reinvented as a gourmet-quality takeout restaurant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after it ended decades of underutilization, the concession stand in Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank has a radically new mission.

Call it the no-concessions stand, because it’s not summer-only, and it’s not hot dogs and sodas — not by a long shot.

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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: SIDEWALK CAFÉ, STAND ON AGENDA

A proposed ordinance change would allow Catch 19, a seafood restaurant that’s zoned as a club, to set up sidewalk dining like other downtown eateries. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A downtown Red Bank restaurant that’s zoned as a club would be able to join the trend of sidewalk cafés under a law tweak up for consideration Wednesday night.

Also on the borough council agenda: a new vendor for the concession stand in Riverside Gardens Park.

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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: DOWNTOWN GETS SOME RETRO FIZZ

Fizz Soda Fountain opened Wednesday in the Monmouth Street space formerly occupied by Red Bank Sub Shop. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It took almost a year and a half longer than expected, but Fizz Soda Fountain has finally bubbled to life in Red Bank.

Done up in turquoise and gleaming stainless steel, the tiny burger-and-shake joint is as effervescent as the poppiest tune on a 1950s diner jukebox.

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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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RED BANK: CHILLY WEATHER RETURNS

A week after a late-winter snowfall, it was shirtsleeve weather in downtown Red Bank Tuesday, when temperatures approached 60 degrees.

Wednesday’s outlook was for sunny skies, but temperatures topping out below 40,  with gusty winds, according to Weather Underground(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: DE-ICING FOR DE REOPENING

When Kevin Valerio announced the annual re-opening of his Strollo’s Lighthouse Italian Ice business in Red Bank last week, daytime temperatures were peaking around 70 degrees. So he didn’t expect the stand, at Rector Place and North Bridge Avenue, to be encrusted in American ice and snow that he and his employees would have to hack away at with less than 24 hours to go.

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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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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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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 »