CIAO, BASIL’S. IT’S ‘BIRRAVINO’ NOW.

091014 birravino ralloVictor Rallo in the bicycle-decorated atrium of Birravino. Below, one of the long communal, or feste, tables in the dining room.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091014 birravino5The Old World charm of Basil T’s Brew Pub is gone, along with its popular mug club, where members had personalized mugs hanging at the bar. Remodeled and repositioned as Birravino, however, the Red Bank trattoria is just as welcoming, warm and suds-friendly as its predecessor.

Nursing a broken leg from a running accident, Victor Rallo showed up earlier this week to make sure everything was running smoothly after a makoever that included completely restructuring and redecorating his Riverside Avenue institution in about a month. Before some customers even realized  the restaurant was temporarily off-line, a new name was on the building and the changes were well underway, he said.

The result? “I wanted an industrial, rustic look like you see in the trattorias or osterias of Italy,” he told PieHole,  amid the exposed brick walls, honed wooden tabletops, galvanized metal seats and an open kitchen. “Definitely something more casual” than Basil’s, he said.

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RED BANK: ‘APPETITE’ SATISFIES HUNDREDS

At this weekend’s three-day ‘Appetite‘ extravaganza at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, hundreds of visitors feasted on food, wine, beer and culinary wisdom.

Susan Ericson’s food blog, Flavor Chronicles/Chefs in Motion has additional coverage.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Mouse-over to pause.)

RED BANK: RALLO REPOSITIONING BASIL T’S

basil t 073014The exterior’s already gotten a facelift and one is underway inside at Basil T’s, soon to reopen as Birravino, says owner Vic Rallo Jr., below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rallo 3 090713After 27 years in business, Red Bank’s Basil T’s brewpub will close this Saturday to undergo a makeover that will transform it into Birravino.

Basil’s owner Vic Rallo Jr. tells redbankgreen he’s repurposing his Riverview Avenue eatery he founded in 1987 with his brother and late father to mirror a dining style he’s come to appreciate on repeated trips to his ancestral home for his television show, “Eat, Drink, Italy.”

Overhauling a successful restaurant, and taking a flyer on a concept that affects everything from the menu to the awnings? Is Rallo nuts? Apparently, we’re not the first to ask.

“I’ve heard it all,” Rallo said. “My friends are saying, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ Or ‘did you go bankrupt?’ ‘Are you a heroin addict? Getting a divorce?'”

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RED BANK: MORE ON THE MENU AT ‘APPETITE’

080214 appetite8080214 appetite16They came for the wine with local restaurateur Vic Rallo and stayed for the food trucks, beer and make-your-own bloody Mary’s Saturday at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, hosting its second annual ‘Appetite‘ food festival.

The action continues Sunday under the theme of ‘Blues and Brews,’ spotlighting  craft beers, artisanal cheeses, butcher Stew Goldstein – offering a demo on preparing a pork loin Marco roast and more. According to the National Weather Service, it’s not going to be a beach day, so why not come out? More details here.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)    080214 appetite27

PIEHOLE: A WEEK-PLUS OF SHORE EATS

woody's 1 011812Woody’s Ocean Grille in Sea Bright is one of several restaurants on the Green participating in Jersey Shore Restaurant Week. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week kicks off this Friday, and runs through next Sunday, April 13. Participating restaurants will be offering fixed price menus at $20.14 (think about it…) and $30.14 (…but not too much).

To help you get out and explore the Green’s local eateries on the cheap, PieHole has assembled this handy list for you. Go make some reservations and try something new.

morsels medium

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WINE TIME

bryant-ralloBasil T’s sommelier Bryant Rallo talks wine at Basil T’s Wednesday night. (Photo courtesy of Preston Porter; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Dan Levine came for the red, but left with the white.

It was worth the trip from Manalapan for Levine, an admitted fan of Victor Rallo’s wines.

“I love his wine,” Levine said.

Showing up to Basil T’s expecting to be wowed by Rallo’s latest vintage, a valpolicella the Red Bank restaurateur and ever-traveling vintner produced from Italy, Levine unexpectedly decided against the “silky, smooth” red and went with the “faint, light and apple-y” white, Rallo Soave.

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RED BANK GOES TWEET, TWEET, TWEET

preston-twitterPreston Porter is the “social media chef” for Basil T’s and Undici restaurants. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Chicago may be a toddlin‘ town, but Red Bank is tweetin.’

A new study shows that the borough has one of the highest densities of Twitter users in New Jersey, coming in ninth overall among its towns and cities. According to the independent study, conducted by the communications and publications firm Jaffe Communications, Red Bank has 17.61 users per 1,000 people.

Twitter’s 140-character message limit fits a broad spectrum of users, and you can tell by a simple search who in town is taking advantage of it — store owners, professionals, bands, students. redbankgreen, for example, touts each new article under @redbankgreenman.

“It’s become part of the everyday language,” said Tom Sullivan, a web developer who lives in Middletown and works on Broad Street. Read More »