WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SALAD FROM DEAN’S

041316deansmkt1Dean’s Market grab n’ go harvest salad with a cheerful raspberry vinaigrette. Jenna Rae Alexy, manager, seen below, has lost 100 pounds while working at the store… just saying. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

041316deansmkt4Popping into Dean’s Natural Food Market on Broad Street in Shrewsbury, PieHole finds the place swamped with hungry customers and a young but experienced staff hustling to fill juice orders and answer questions.

Attentive to her customers as well as the surfer-dude-healthy guys working the juice counter, manager Jenna Rae Alexy seems to know many of her customers by name. She also knows what they will order.  Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SIAM GARDEN PHAD THAI

032916siamgdn5The phad Thai lunch special at Siam Garden, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032915siamgdn1With the Thai New Year celebration (Songkran) just around the corner on April 13, PieHole thought it was a good time to visit Siam Garden. Located in the Galleria at West Front Street and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, the restaurant has been serving traditional Thai dishes for 16 years.

Framed by architecture that includes concrete ceilings and pillars, vestiges of the building’s original incarnation as a turn-of-the-century uniform factory, the space is decorated with artifacts imbuing a peaceful Asian ambience. Light streaming in from surrounding windows, silken textiles and wooden tables and chairs bring warmth to what would otherwise be a cold interior.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A TASTE OF NEW ENGLAND

032216navesinkfishery5A fried shrimp platter with coleslaw and crispy french fries. The corn chowder, below, was filled with bits of crab. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032216navesinkfishery1Casting its net a bit beyond the usual limits of the Greater Red Bank Green, PieHole finds lots of fresh fish choices at the Navesink Fishery in Navesink.

With 40-plus years of fishmongering and cooking, 20 of which have been spent at this restaurant, owner Ruddy Field is serious about bringing his customers simple cuisine from briny depths and fresh water lakes. Landlubbers need not apply.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HEALTHY, EARTHY PIZZA

031516earthpizza2The vegan, one of the many selections on the menu at Earth Pizza, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031615earthpizza1When Paul and Lisa Finkler opened a Pizza Fusion franchise in Red Bank in 2010, they may not have foreseen the niche their restaurant would fill. But the Broad Street restaurant was an immediate draw, and soon customers were asking for more gluten-free and vegan dishes.

Three years ago, tired of the parent company’s rules on menu changes, the Finklers bought out their contract, redubbed the restaurant Earth Pizza and did as asked.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SALVADORAN FEAST

030816fredyjeremy2Pollo Azado  with casamiento at Fredy Jeremy’s, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

030816fredyjeremyTucked into a nondescript, partly vacant strip mall next door to a car wash on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank, Fredy Jeremy’s is a delightful surprise.

Retaining the pizza and subs offered by the previous tenant, Red Bank resident Fredy Menjivar livens up his six-month-old restaurant with his scrumptious take on traditional  Salvadoran fare.

With plenty of Mexican food options in Red Bank, “there was no place to get Salvadoran food,” says the longtime former deli worker, who yearned to showcase the tastes and flavors of his culture.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GRAB ‘N GO VARIETY

022416foodtownwfl1While another customer ladled hot soup into a container, below, PieHole opted for a rainbow roll all packed up and ready to go at SuperFoodtown. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

022416foodtownwfl2You need a cheap lunch, and time is limited. For many residents and worker bees on the Greater Green, Red Bank’s Foodtown supermarket is a veritable oasis of grab n’ go options.

Open since 1977, the store, at Broad Street and Maple Avenue, added a new-to-the-area salad bar as part of a renovation in 1996. Several other quick-lunch features have been added over the years, expanding the range of choices.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEDITERRANEAN FUSION

021716greekamole1A Mediterranean chicken salad platter from Greekamolé, which is owned by Jimmy Elenis, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

021716greekamoleElenisThree months after the debut of Greek Eats, a fast-food restaurant modeled on Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shrewsbury has a second entry in the market for quick Greek eats.

But the latest addition, Greekamolé at 1130 Broad Street, takes a broader international view, commingling Greek, Moroccan, Israeli and Latino flavors.

“I wanted to do something that wasn’t done,” owner Dimitrios ‘Jimmy’ Elenis tells PieHole. “I wanted to do greens and grains. That’s what you find people eating in the Mediterranean countries.”
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SONNY’S SANDWICH

020616sonnys1The Greenwich Village, a Sonny’s sub filled with Italian ingredients. Below, Kenny Gambella. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020616sonnys4Just days after opening its doors without fanfare, Sonny’s Sandwich Shop on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright was bustling last Friday.

Owners Kenny and Kelly Gambella bring a little of their Staten Island culinary roots to the Jersey shore, naming their new “baby” after their year-old son, Santino, known as Sonny.

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MIDDLETOWN: A RETRO CHINESE NEW YEAR

020216houseofchong6Shrimp lo mein, left, and shrimp in garlic sauce at House of  Chong. Edward Chong, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020216houseofchong1Chinese new year begins Monday, and diners with a yen for a little time travel along with well-made Asian cuisine might set their GPS for House of Chong in Middletown.

The restaurant, located in the Union Square Mall, has been serving Cantonese and Szechuan-style Chinese delicacies since 1976, owner Edward Chong tells us. His parents first opened House of Chong in Brick in 1969, and though that restaurant is now closed, the Middletown eatery remains a family affair — and something of throwback.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SMOOTHIE IN A BOWL

020316freshica4The Acai PB&J bowl from Freshica’s Juice Bar, owned by Jessica Dalmedo, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020316freshica3It might seem counter-intuitive to put a juice bar in the same building as a luncheonette known for its porkroll, egg, and cheese sandwiches, but Jessica Dalmedo, owner of Freshica’s Juice Bar says it works.

Sharing space with Fairwinds Deli on River Road in Fair Haven for almost four years, Freshica’s counter takes up a portion of the dining area. At lunchtime, you’re likely to see a construction worker downing a sub as you are a gray-flannel suit or someone coming from the gym. Less expected: the number of children from the preschool next door taking sippy-cup-sized swigs of kale- and spinach-infused juices.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUB WITH A SIDE OF JOY

012716butlers6The honey maple turkey sandwich on a roll from Butlers. Below, owner Paul Stout. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

012716butlersmkt1It doesn’t matter if your mood is not so bright when you walk through the doors of Butler’s Market in Rumson. Owner Paul Stout has a warm and friendly smile to greet you and make you feel better.

Reopened last June after two-plus years of unsatisfying retirement for its proprietor, the deli’s food is in some ways as good as it used to be, and in many ways, much better.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? WHITEFISH ON BIG BAGEL

121715bagestation4A sesame-seed bagel teeming with whitefish salad, lettuce and tomato from the Bagel Station, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121715bagelstation2Red Bank has seen its fair share of restaurants come and go over the years. Loyal customers wax poetic about eateries long gone.

Bagel Station on Monmouth Street, across from the train station, has managed to keep its doors open for 28 years now. Rolling with the times, the breakfast and lunch spot is as relevant as any of the newcomers to town, and more affordable than many.

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LINCROFT: ALEO’S MOVEABLE FEAST

121215aleo3The helpful employees at Aleo Italian Specialties get customer orders out quickly. Below, some of the many gourmet takeout options.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121215aleo4Stepping into Aleo Italian Specialties in the Acme shopping center on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, PieHole was immediately hit with a feeling of deja vu.

The aroma of cheese and garlic surrounds you, calling to mind Arthur Avenue, the famous Little Italy shopping area in the Bronx. Then there’s the sight of food — everywhere. Hanging salami and cheese; shelves filled with rustic fresh breads from Brooklyn; imported dry pasta; and deli counters teeming with house-made delicacies. Your mouth waters and you forget what you came in for.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? OLD-SCHOOL SPOT-HITTER

120915thespot1The grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup combo at The Spot, seen below with a window looking out on Broad Street. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120915thespot4Those who seek simplicity in all things are going to love The Spot in Red Bank.

Rustic brick walls and industrial-modern decor beckon in the Broad Street space that’s been home in recent succession to  Zebu Forno, Boardwalk Burgers and, most recently Mac Attack. But trendiness in decor doesn’t mean the menu follows suit. Dining options here are strictly old-school.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? FAST FOOD, GREEK STYLE

112715greekeats1A plate of rotisserie chicken at Greek Eats comes with pita bread and a variety of  sides. A gyro, below, loaded with fillings, including french fries.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112715greekeats6That old line about having fast food “your way” can definitely be applied to the newest restaurant on Newman Springs Road on the Shrewsbury-Red Bank border.

Greek Eats, located in a high-ceilinged, industrially-styled space on the former site of Memory Bowling, is the brainchild of George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis, brothers and owners of Teak and the Bistro in Red Bank.

But if decor and the fun, blue-eyed logo — a protector against the evil eye —  don’t pull you in, the opportunity to grab some authentic Greek grub certainly should.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CRISPY FISH AND CHIPS

112515chowda1Fish and chips from Chowda House. Below, the always helpful Tish Mancia at the takeout counter.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112515chowda4
The Chowda House, just across Bridge Avenue from the Red Bank train station, makes some fantastic clam chowder, which also happens to be the hottest takeout item on the menu, waitress Tish Mancia tells PieHole.

But the fish and chips, we’re told, is the second-most ordered item — and according to many PieHole readers, the best fried fish in the area.

We take claims such as this seriously, and went to investigate for ourselves.
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RED BANK: THANKSGIVING SIDES AND SWEETS

111715semprecannoli1Seasonal treats from Red Bank include pumpkin-filled cannolis from Sempre Cannoli, above, and pumpkin truffles from Chocolate Works, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111715chocolateworks1Whether you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or you’ve been invited to a feast, making everyone happy can be tricky.

Were you asked to bring a side dish or dessert? Do you need a hostess gift? PieHole has you covered with a cornucopia of sweet treats and savory sides available in the pumpkin-tinged town of Red Bank.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MOJO IN A SANDWICH

111815chikyboomwfl1ChikyBoom’s Cuban sandwich comes on a platter loaded with fries, potato salad and mojo sauce. Belly up to the bar in the front of the restaurant.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111815chikyboom3Grabbing a stool in the bar area of ChikyBoom on Broad Street in Red Bank, PieHole was eager to try its Cubano, or Cuban sandwich given a boost in popularity by ‘Chef,’ the movie starring Jon Favreau released last year.

Was chef Eduardo Bover up to making one?

“If you’re a Cuban and you don’t know how to make a Cuban sandwich, get out of the business,” says Bover, himself an import from the Caribbean isle, as noted in a PieHole profile.

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RED BANK: FLAVOR’S ORGANIC FOR KITCH CHEF

110515kichorganic6Kitch Organic chef Jennifer Freeman stirs a mixture of ground turkey and vegetables while Liam Splane cuts down a flat of wheat grass.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110515kitchorganic8In the exquisite, state-of-the-art kitchen at Kitch Organic on Leighton Avenue in Red Bank, the cooks are busy preparing some extraordinary recipes.

All the food here is gluten-free and certified-organic, but that isn’t what makes it exceptional. Health benefits aside, chef Jenny Freeman is producing meals chock-full of flavor — and she’s doing it with home-grown and carefully sourced ingredients.

The 42-year-old chef went to the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York “to learn how to help heal people through food,” she tells PieHole. “I wanted to learn good nutrition and use it in my cooking.”  Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TOAST TOSSED SALAD

110515toastsaladA Chopped Greek salad with grilled shrimp, above, and a plate of hash and eggs, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

103115toast1Peace, Love and Pancakes: How can you go wrong with a slogan like that?

The newest foodie haven in Red Bank, Toast is slinging all three, along with hash and other comfort foods, in a glossy retro-American-meets-Scandinavian style luncheonette in the former home of the Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street.
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RED BANK: A WANDERING CHEF SETTLES DOWN

100615covas7Lauren Van Liew in the kitchen of her new catering business. Dishes include a classic fresh spinach salad, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100615covas5In the warehouse that formerly housed Adam Sobel’s Cinnamon Snail kitchen on River Street in Red Bank, chef Lauren Van Liew, a 32-year-old Middletown native has opened Chef Covas Catering.

Cooking in kitchens from Boston to Vegas to Boca Raton, Van Liew has been around the culinary butcher’s block more times than many of her much older contemporaries.

With her history and experience, she says “I want to bring families together at the dinner table.” She also says, “I want to conquer the central Jersey catering world.”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUGGESTION IN FRENCH

101415frenchmktwfl1Perhaps lured by the aroma of baked pastries, below, customers took advantage of a crisp autumn day for lunch at the French Market this week. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
101415frenchmktwfl4

Open the door to the French Market on East River Road in Rumson, and the aroma of fresh baked pastry overwhelms your senses. PieHole tells you this as a favor. It’s easy to lose control and forget that you are there for a reason.

Since July, chef Laurent Chavenet has been filling the shelves of this market with his butter-enhanced flaky creations. But it’s not just pastries: a six-page takeout menu offers French specialties such as quiche, crepes and croissant sandwiches, as well as salads and a charcuterie plate.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A PIG AND FIG

092415cheesecave2The Pig and Fig sandwich from the Cheese Cave. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092415cheesecave4Four and a half years after opening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the Cheese Cave, a boutique cheese shop, is often swamped for takeout at lunch time. Whether you call ahead or order when you get there, you may have to wait in line.

If you have the time though, you should consider eating inside. The atmosphere is woodsy and calm. Sandwiches are served on bread boards instead of plates, adding an old-world rustic touch.

But it’s the sandwich combinations — or “sanwicheeses,” as they say here — that pack ’em in.
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