Bistek tacos chosen from the “Spanish” lunch menu at Town and Country Deli, a convenience store selling more than food, seen below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
International cuisine has become ubiquitous in Red Bank, adding to a plentitude of lunch options. But there are still some gems hidden away, and so when PieHole readers tell us about flavors unknown, we listen.
Elias and Eleacer Ayala in their Red Bank take-out restaurant, La Esquina. The Ayalas came to Red Bank from Mexico City via Brooklyn. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
By JIM WILLIS
In the middle of our lunch at Red Bank’s La Esquina, a regular customer walks in to pick up his order and tells PieHole that he often suggests to the owners that they hang a sign in the window that reads, “We Speak English.”
If attracting non-Spanish-speaking customers to the corner of Bridge Avenue and Oakland Street is part of the business plan, we’d second that advice. Taco Bell regulars won’t find any Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme here, and the large menu hanging behind the counter ranges from confusing to unintelligible to a non-Spanish speaking customer. Fortunately for us, owner Elias Ayala is not only fluent in English, but clearly enjoys deconstructing the menu items for his customers.
“The menu is authentic Mexican,” he says. “We have everything from tongue to carnitas – the real carnitas, with cheeks, ears and pork skin.”
Juanito’s International Marqueta is the latest in a line of food-related businesses owner Juan Torres has created in town. Below, the store’s placeta-style checkout station. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Leading a visitor through the aisles of his new supermarket on Red Bank’s West Side, Juan Torres wended his way past employees busily stocking shelves and freezers just hours before he unceremoniously opened the store to shoppers Tuesday.
Reminiscent of midsized neighborhood markets long ago displaced by supermarkets, Juanito’s International Marqueta features four short aisles and two longer aisles stocked with dry goods, many of them grouped together by nation of origin: Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and elsewhere, Torres said.
Likewise, along a wall of freezers, food is also grouped by nation of origin, including Salvadoran corn tamales known as pupusas.
The groupings, Torres said, were done to make shopping easier for Latino immigrants as well as non-Hispanic shoppers looking for beans, sardines and other products they used in their home countries, he said.
“People here take taxis to Long Branch to get ingredients,” he said. “Now, they can walk here.”
Roger Mumford has plans that he says will transform part of the West Side. (Click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
On the corner of Bridge Avenue and Cedar Street sits a tan-colored, nondescript building that, if not for a couple of cars parked in the lot, could easily be mistaken for another one of Red Bank’s vacant spaces.
With just a couple of windows and minimal signage, 247 Bridge doesn’t at all look like the nerve center of an operation that might spark a transformation of the rundown area that adjoins it.
But Roger Mumford, a 54-year-old home builder who commands the happenings inside the office, has big plans for the stretch of Bridge from Cedar to Drs. James Parker Boulevard. The Little Silver resident has approvals to knock down four existing homes, plus a corner bodega, and rebuild the site from the ground up with a new bodega and five luxury homes.
Roger Mumford discusses his plan at Thursday’s zoning board hearing. Below, a view of the homes to be built along the east side of Bridge Avenue; the current site of a bodega on the corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard is at right. (Click to enlarge)
A sweeping plan to overhaul one of Red Bank’s most dilapidated blocks won approval from the borough zoning board Thursday night.
Builder Roger Mumford’s plan calls for bulldozing four run-down houses on Bridge Avenue between Cedar Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard, plus a corner bodega.
In their place, and stretching east along Parker to the existing Bergen Square condo complex, will come five spanking-new luxury residences and a new corner storefront that may house the same bodega, assuming the tenant wants to return, Mumford says.
“Bridge Avenue is a great place,” he tells redbankgreen, noting the presence of the Two River Theater, the Galleria at Red Bank and other attractions nearby. “Now, more of Bridge Avenue is going to be part of that excitement.”