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RED BANK: VAPE SHOP, GROCERY OPEN

 Smoke Theory features display cases filled with water pipes and other smoking products, as well as a walk-in cigar humidor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallTwo new retail shops opened in Red Bank this week: a neighborhood grocery on the West Side and a smoke shop downtown.

Read all about them in this winter-doldrums edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: ANIMA OPENS, CAFÉ REBRANDS

Women’s clothing store Anima has opened in the former home of a Duxiana bedding shop. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWe’ve got a new women’s boutique, a new gym and a new name for a restaurant in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: EATERIES SPOTLIGHT STRAWS

Kitch Organic on Leighton Avenue, above, is one of eight Red Bank restaurants participating in a monthlong effort to reduce the number of plastic drinking straws that don’t make it into the recycling stream.

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RED BANK: CUBAN, TWO POKE EATERIES SLATED

A poke restaurant plans to open at 26 Monmouth Street by February 1. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn comes bearing food: two restaurants offering Hawaiian poke, and a third with a menu of Cuban dishes, plan to open in downtown Red Bank in coming months.

Also in this report: a pilates gym takes a portion of a long-empty former drugstore, and a pop-up holiday shop… pops up for the holiday season downtown.

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RED BANK: HAIR, BEAUTY, RUGS AND CREPES

Hairdresser Yanni Erbli and beauty products retailer Wisteria plan to combine when they open at 67 Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThis edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn brings news of a planned combination of two established beauty businesses in downtown Red Bank.

Also around the “read more” corner: tidbits about a creperie, a rug store and a men’s hair salon. Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS TRIAL VALET PLAN

An undated Google Maps view up Boat Club Way toward West Front Street. 26 West now occupies the building at right. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Over vehement objections by Mayor Pasquale Menna, the Red Bank council approved a 90-day valet parking setup for a downtown restaurant Wednesday.

Menna called the proposal, by 26 West on the Navesink, to use narrow Boat Club Way as a valet parking dropoff and pickup location “insane.”

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RED BANK: O BISTRO TAKEOUT? MAIS OUI!

The former Red Bank Pizza storefront on Bridge Avenue has been reincarnated as the to-go counter of O Bistro Francais. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When chef Marc Fontaine opened O Bistro Francais in Red Bank a year ago, local gourmets rejoiced at the return of top-quality French cooking after a six-year absence from town.

Now, Fontaine has turned the disused former storefront pizzeria end of his Bridge Avenue restaurant into a takeout counter to supplement the linen-napkin dining room. And once again, Francophile eaters are over the moon.

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RED BANK: MENNA AIMS TO CURB BAR CRAWLS

A UCrawl promo video showed scenes from an April, 2012, bar crawl it held in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Mayor Pasquale Menna says he wants Red Bank to adopt procedures for the approval of “bar crawls” after Belmar shut down one billed as “the largest charity bar crawl the town has ever seen” over a failure to obtain permits.

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RED BANK: FREE TROLLEY SERVICE PLANNED

The service will use two E-Tuks, electric versions of gasoline-powered tuk-tuks popular in Asia and elsewhere. (Photo courtesy of Scooter Dudes. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Visitors to Red Bank may have a jaunty, environmentally conscious and free means of getting around town as early as a next week, when a new shuttle service hopes to begin operations.

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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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SEA BRIGHT: SNAPPY HOUR AT BEACHWALK

Bartender Erin O’Keefe makes a Long Island Ice Tea while customers, some still in beach garb, make themselves comfortable on the deck over the river. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Timing it just right, PieHole showed up for happy hour at BeachWalk’s Tiki Bar recently to find beers in hand and fishing poles in the Shrewsbury River for a snapper derby competition.

Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright has its fair share of bars, but this might be the only one where you’ll find children and adults competing for bragging rights and the prize of an overnight stay at the attached motel.
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RED BANK: MIDSUMMER NIGHTS AT TEMPLE BAR

The Temple Bar at the Dublin House is a lively spot for music lovers on a warm Sunday evening. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

[Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly reported that Dead Bank was scheduled to play at the Dublin House on Saturday, August 5. They’ll be at Jamian’s Food and Drink that night.]

By SUSAN ERICSON

It’s twilight on a warm summer evening when PieHole strolls over to the Dublin House in Red Bank, taking in the sight of customers finishing their meals in the courtyard out front.

But we’re not here for dinner. Making our way through the side alley from Monmouth Street to the rear of the restaurant, we hear the deep, raspy strain of rock music and the low chatter of customers surrounding the bar named for a famous street in Dublin, Ireland: Temple Bar.

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RED BANK: A TOAST FOR THE ‘BIG-FOOD’ HOST

He’s a product of Little Silver schools who, at age 14, started small as he embarked on what’s turned out to be a career in food: as dishwasher at Danny’s Pizza in his hometown. He went on to gigs as busboy at 2 Senza; barista at No Ordinary Joe’s Café; bartender at the Downtown; and other restaurant jobs in Red Bank, Manhattan and Brooklyn too numerous to list. 

Now, Casey Webb, a 1994 graduate (football, wrestling) of Red Bank Regional who’s also cultivated a sideline as an actor, has landed a big gig, as host of the popular Travel Channel’ show ‘Man v. Food.’

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SEA BRIGHT: BREAKFAST AT RORY’S PUB

The courtyard of Rory’s Pub on a recent Sunday morning. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

A sandwich board on the sidewalk of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright informs us that Rory’s Pub is open for breakfast at 8:15.

“8:15?” we ask the owner, Tony Maher. In a brogue rooted in his childhood in Waterford, Ireland, he tells PieHole, “Give or take, it could be 8:16 or 8:17.”
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RED BANK: BEER AND MORE AT BIRRAVINO

Customers enjoy pizza, salads, wine and beer on a breezy Sunday evening at Birravino’s new beer garden.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Basil T’s Brew Pub was ahead of it’s time when it came to brewing beer in-house in New Jersey. Three years ago, Vic Rallo and partners rebranded the Red Bank restaurant and bar, naming it Birravino and giving it an updated industrial look. But they continued to brew their own beer.

The recent addition of an outdoor beer garden, built off to one side of the original structure, allows customers to wet their whistles under star-studded skies while chilling to the cool breezes coming off the Navesink River. PieHole stepped up to the window for one of the 10 local brews on tap before settling into a cherry-red Adirondack-style chair on the patio.
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RED BANK: FOODIES WALK THE WALK

Some 30 Red Bank restaurants, shops and eateries — including Playa Bowls, above— will take part in a new summer schedule of Food and Wine Walk events beginning Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Between the weekend barbecues, the tented food fests and other open-air opportunities for grabbing a bite, it can be a bit difficult to digest all the options available to the free-ranging foodie here in the good old summertime.

If the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter have their way, however, we can simply let our feet carry us about the borough’s sidewalks and storefronts during the latest in a summer series of Food & Wine Walk events.

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RED BANK: NEW MURAL POPS INTO VIEW

A colorful new mural bloomed to life on the Catherine Street wall of Kitch Organic restaurant in Red Bank over the weekend.

Executed by local children — and some adults who pulled a couple of all-nighters — the mural promotes two cultural events: the Indie Street Film Festival, which returns to town for a four-day run starting July 26; and the Crossing Borders Festival, featuring five days of free-admission Latino-flavored plays and food at the Two River Theater beginning August 2.

Artist Misha Tyutyunik, also known as MDot, created the design, reprising his role from the 2016 Indie Street mural on Monmouth Street. Click read more for additional pix. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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SEA BRIGHT: HAPPY HOUR AT EVENTIDE

Eventide Grille, tucked behind a marina, is a favorite of locals at happy hour. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Sea Bright is all hustle and bustle during the summer, so hungry and thirsty beachgoers zipping along Ocean Avenue might might not notice Eventide Grille, which isn’t even visible from the street. Locals, on the other hand, are well aware of this gem of riverside restaurant and watering hole tucked in behind the Navesink Marina.

PieHole stopped by on a breezy weeknight to rub elbows with a happy hour crowd that for the most part arrived on foot.
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RED BANK: COCKTAILS AT RED ROCK

The crowd at a recent happy hour at Red Rock Tap + Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Picnic tables, high tops, bar stools: on warm, clear summer evenings, the seats fill up fast at Red Rock Tap + Grill in Red Bank, offering bird’s eye views of Marine Park from multiple tiers. PieHole finds a subdued after-work crowd at happy hour, which runs from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

“Happy hour is like this when it’s nice out,” bartender Jennifer Gambino tells us as she muddles lime for a Moscow Mule, the hour’s most popular cocktail, served in a proper copper mug.
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