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RED BANK: CRAFT BREWERY, TAKEOUT PLANNED

The former Fameabilia store space will be divided in two to house a craft brewery and a take-out restaurant. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[SEE CORRECTIONS BELOW]

By JOHN T. WARD

Nine years after its last tenant departed, and four years after it was approved for restaurant use, a large retail space in downtown Red Bank is slated to get two new tenants, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: AVOIDING THE CRUSH ON THE PATIO

Twilight on the back patio of Jamian’s Food and Drink finds bartender Rick Norman juicing oranges and pouring drinks. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Just down Monmouth Street in Red Bank from the Count Basie Theatre, Jamian’s Food and Drink  is packed before a show. Ticketholders dash in for a quick bite and something from the bar, and waitresses here know how to hustle, ensuring everyone gets in and out quickly.

Known for its varied live music scene, wall of locally produced artwork and surfer roots, it can be a little noisy and crowded inside. But out back, on Jamian’s patio, the vibe changes. Twinkling lights and background rock and roll make it easier to hold a conversation. This is where you’ll find a more relaxed scene. It’s also a good place to watch a game projected onto a big white wall.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANT OPENS; DECK WON’T

“Upscale” 26 West on the Navesink opened Monday night in a building previously occupied by a string of nightclubs and Mexican restaurants. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank got a new, upscale seafood restaurant Monday, even as its owners were a few blocks away, at borough hall, getting approval for an expansion.

But not the approval they originally sought.

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RED BANK: CHILLING AND MINGLING AT TEAK

Socializing on the rooftop at Teak with a cool Yellow Fever #2 cocktail. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Starting this week and for the rest of the summer, PieHole is giving its What’s For Lunch feature a rest. Instead, we’ll mingling and chilling out on the Greater Red Bank Green, visiting outdoor happy hours and ice cream stands, starting with today’s first stop:  the rooftop at Teak on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AMELIA’S KITCHEN POPS

Vegetarian appetizers from Amelia’s Kitchen include grilled corn and sweet potato and black bean chili.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

In April, new signage marked a name-change for Pop’s Garage at the Grove West in Shrewsbury to Amelia’s Kitchen. Still part of the local restaurant-empire owned by the Schlossbach family, Marilyn and Richard take a back seat to brother Arthur’s management on this one, which is now named for his daughter, who’s been “been busting [his] tail to make things healthier,” he tells PieHole.

The garden and patio seating outside still segue into an eye-popping kaleidoscope of color inside, and the kid-friendly, party-like atmosphere still comes with a Mexican-themed menu. But Amelia’s tends more to lighter, Baja-inspired cuisine, and a new farm-to-table focus means tacos are out while fresh salads are in.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SALAD WITH RIVERSCAPE

Lunch salads and Navesink River views from the deck of the Pearl Restaurant at the Oyster Point Hotel. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

On a day of cacophonous gridlock, PieHole found respite at the Pearl Restaurant at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank.

Plans for lunch at another restaurant on the Greater Green went awry when we found it closed. Heading back to Red Bank with streets awash in late afternoon traffic, stomachs growling, we wondered if the Pearl would still be serving lunch.

It was, and an all but empty open-air deck gave us stellar water views on a clear, sunshine-blessed day, as well as a plethora of culinary choices.

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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: SICKLES BREWS BOOSKERDOO DEAL

The Anderson Storage building, where ‘Sickles Market Provisions’ plans to occupy the ground floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sickles Market, the Little Silver grocer that traces its roots back 350 years, has partnered with the fast-growing Booskerdoo coffee-shop chain on its planned foray into Red Bank, the two companies announced Tuesday.

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RED BANK: RESTAURANT PLAN STILL IN FLUX

A rendering shows the proposed roof deck on the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company building, as seen from Union Street. (Rendering by Michael Unger. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After two planning board hearings, a proposal to convert the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company space in Red Bank to an upscale seafood restaurant remained undecided Monday night.

Still at issue: the impact of a planned roof deck on residences in the condo building next door.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? RELIABLE FRIED CHICKEN

Lunch specials numbers 1 and 3 from Chicken Kitchen in Shrewsbury Plaza. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Shrewsbury Plaza in Shrewsbury has seen its share of transition, with businesses coming and going, but the Chicken Kitchen, shoehorned into a spot next to a tile store and a nail salon in the strip mall, can boast that it’s been there longer than most.

Matt Kascsak, the restaurant’s third owner, tells PieHole he was born the same year, 1982, that the restaurant was launched. Working for the second owner, he got a feel for what was good and what could be improved. Which was not a lot, apparently.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ‘ALL IN’ IN SEA BRIGHT

Shrimp, arugula and capellini pasta at the newly opened GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Admiring the new street lights installed as part of a streetscape makeover on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright earlier this week, PieHole spied the equally new GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant.

Located next door to Melonhead in a space that most recently housed the Black Swine restaurant, which moved to a larger spot a block away, Gigi’s turns out to be owned by familiar faces: chef Kenny Gambella and his wife, Kelly, who also own Sonny’s Sandwich Shop just down the street.

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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? TUSCAN OPULENCE

Tortelloni and house-made sausage from Buona Sera’s lunch menu. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

On a warmer-than-expected spring day, the flung-open doors of Buona Sera Italian Ristorante in Red Bank offer a welcoming sight.

At night the restaurant, at the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street, can be crowded with party-goers and dates trying to impress, but lunchtime is a different, quieter scene.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CLUCKIN’ GOOD CHICKEN

A grilled Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese sandwich from Cluck-U Chicken. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, did the culinary world a big favor when it invented what has become a widespread favorite, Buffalo wings. Just about every eatery on the Greater Green, it seems, has a variation of the recipe on the menu, but Cluck-U Chicken in Red Bank stays pretty close to the original.

Queuing up behind a lunchtime crowd in the City Centre strip mall restaurant, PieHole eavesdropped on customers placing orders while formulating its own plan to taste a few items.

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RED BANK: PARTIES TAP COUNCIL CANDIDATES

This year’s council candidates include Democrats Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard, center, and Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, right. Missing is Schwabenbauer running mate Dana McArthur. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The primary races for two Red Bank council seats will be uncontested in June, with the Democrats and Republicans having firmed up their two-person tickets Monday.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A READIE’S FISH FRY

The Buena Place fish fry combo platter, a recent addition to the menu at Readie’s Cafe. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Restaurants come and go in Red Bank, maybe more often than we like. But there are a few that can brag of longevity and customer loyalty.

Opened in 1957, Readie’s Café is celebrating a big anniversary this year. Tom Fishkin, owner since 2001, tells PieHole that the deli had its launch on Monmouth Street as the Village Pork Store the same year that Elsie’s Subs, another lunchtime institution, opened its doors. It became Readie’s Fine Foods under owner Jack Readie in the 1980s.
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RED BANK: RESTAURANT DECK PLAN SCRAPPED

26-w-front-elevation-011117A rendering of the remodeled former 10th Ave. Burrito Company building. An open-air deck proposed in January would now be enclosed under a revised plan. (Rendering by Cahill Studio. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The proposed conversion of the former 10th Ave. Burrito Company in Red Bank to an upscale seafood restaurant will have to wait at least two more weeks to move ahead.

The borough planning board scheduled a second hearing on the project Monday night after the West Front Street establishment’s new owner agreed to scrap plans for a second-floor deck.

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RED BANK: BOUTIQUES PLAN FASHION SHOW

The new rooftop deck at Teak, with the onetime borough hall in the background, is the setting for a fashion show featuring stylings by downtown shops. (Photo by Life as Fine Art. Click to enlarge)

Downtown Red Bank will be the scene of its first open-air fashion show in recent memory next month.

The aim of the event is to “showcase that retail is very much alive in our amazing little city,” said Angela Courtney, owner of the Sweetest Sin lingerie shop on White Street.

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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A JIMMY JOHN’S SUB

The Jimmy John’s Italian Night Club sub. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumGleaming subway tiles and a mix of communal hightop tables and booths seem to be the template for modern fast food joints today.

The Jimmy John‘s franchise on West Front Street in Red Bank, with Gaslight Anthem bassist Alex Levine on board as a partner, has the decor and menu down to a science. But how does it stack up against other sub shops on the Greater Red Bank Green?
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CRAVINGS: A LIBRARIAN’S WEEKLY BENTO

Red Bank library director Elizabeth McDermott indulges her craving at Sogo Sushi. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

World traveler-turned-Red Bank Public Library director Elizabeth McDermott has a weekly itch that she scratches at Sogo Sushi on Monmouth Street: a bento box.

“It’s like comfort food to me,” says McDermott, whose previous job as a software consultant for Oracle took her all over the globe.

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RED BANK: APARTMENTS & EATERY ON DECK

Up for review at Monday night’s meeting of the Red Bank planning board: the Element, seen above, a 35-unit apartment complex proposed for a vacant lot at 55 West Front Street, opposite Riverside Gardens Park. The controversy-stirring plan could go to a final up-or-down vote.

Also scheduled: a proposed makeover for 26 West Front Street, right, last operated as Caliente Cantina, and not long before that, 10th Ave. Burrito Co. The plan calls for the addition of a 1,000-square-foot outdoor deck with views of the Navesink River. Here’s more info about the plan.

And here’s the full agenda for the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. (Renderings by Rotwein + Blake, above, and Cahill Studio, right. Click to enlarge)