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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SURF TACO’S SALSA ROCKS

052715surftacosTwo beef tacos and a Hawaiian salad hit the spot at Surf Taco on Broad Street in Red Bank. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumFast food joints came and went quickly for years in Red Bank, but none of them seemed to connect until four years ago, when the Point Pleasant-based chain Surf Taco opened on Broad Street, offering “coastal style” fast-food.

A regular customer in the early years, PieHole hadn’t stopped into the Baja style eatery in quite a while. Why? Lots of other restaurants opened in town, and this former fave was somewhat forgotten. But, needing a quick lunch, we decided to pay the simple, brickwalled tacqueria  a visit.

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RED BANK: DUCKLINGS RESCUED FROM SEWER

rb ducks 051415 5While passersby tried to corral the mother duck and eight of her ducklings, above, Lauren Dezzi, below, got ready to retrieve four other babies from the sewer. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb ducks 051415 6Four ducklings that apparently fell into a storm drain in downtown Red Bank were reunited with their mother and eight siblings by a fast-acting office worker Thursday afternoon.

Using a fish net from an aquarium in her office at OceanFirst Bank, Lauren Dezzi of Manchester got down on all fours atop a Broad Street sewer and gently plucked the downy babies to safety shortly after noon.

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RED BANK: ROBINSON HITS ALL MARKS

032015 robinson ale house burgerThe Chi-Town burger and fries at Robinson Ale House. Below, chef Michael Dolan.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032015 robinson ale house dolanIn a town known for a sluggish turnaround time when it comes to opening a new eatery, Robinson Ale House in Red Bank is one of the few that stayed close to its schedule for opening an elegant, up-scale tavern decor.

Now, with three-plus months under its belt, a busy bar scene, and suggestions by locals to try the burger, it was time to for PieHole check in with chef Michael Dolan to see if the minor kinks of opening a new kitchen have been ironed out.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SALAD MIGHT WORK

031115 saladworks1Nuevo Nicoise salad from Saladworks on Broad Street in Red Bank, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031115 saladworks3If you’re seeing red-breasted robins in the garden and shirt sleeves on the street, can spring be far behind?

It’s time to put away the bulky sweaters, and that means those extra pounds you added to your waistline this winter need to be shed, too.

Saladworks on Broad Street in Red Bank is one answer to the question, “where can we have a quick inexpensive and nonfattening lunch this week?”

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RED BANK: LEAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT AT VIA45

030515 via 45 insideThe rustic farmhouse chic dining room of Via45 in Red Bank, above, and an enormous serving of eggplant parmigiana, below. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

030515 via 45 eggplantOn the consistently changing face of Broad Street in Red Bank, Via45 stands out as a bastion of culinary authenticity, staying true to its Tuscan-style roots.

Owners Claudette Herring and Lauren Phillips are the unified driving force in the kitchen of this BYO restaurant, dishing up rustic but refined menu options.

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RED BANK: DUCK PAIR TAKES TO BROAD STREET

rb fowl 022615 1 rb fowl 022615 2Arianna Deleks, an employee at Char Steakhouse, shoos a pair of ducks onto the sidewalk on Broad Street in Red Bank Thursday afternoon. Deleks said the ducks showed up two days ago and keep wandering into traffic, and she’s worried they’ll get hit by a car.

“It’s so sad that they’re here,” she said, when they should be down on the nearby Navesink, which is frozen. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK BROAD-TO-RIVER: JUST MORE TALK?

2004 ebner planA 2002 proposal, above, by property owner Robert Ebner to open the view from Broad Street to the Navesink hit a dead end. (Photo below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

broad river 012815 3Is downtown Red Bank finally going to get its long-coveted river view at the north end of Broad Street? Or is recent buzz about a possible plan just more blue-sky talk?

A widely shared dream for generations, the so-called Broad to the River concept envisions opening up a panorama of the Navesink from the main downtown corridor.

At this point, however, the chatter appears to be little more than an attempt to revive an idea that’s hit a brick wall repeatedly over much of the last century.

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RED BANK TO BARRICADE DOWNTOWN STREETS

RB ENGLISH PLAZA 122810For days after the December 26, 2010 blizzard, the English Plaza parking lot in Red Bank, above and below, remained closed, in part because of vehicle strandings. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB ENGLISH PL 122910Apparently hoping to head off a repeat of problems seen in the 2010 blizzard, Red Bank officials said they would barricade downtown streets to traffic Monday night.

According to an alert issued by the borough early Monday afternoon, officials plan to seal off the English Plaza and White Street municipal lots at 10 p.m. and to shut down Broad Street at 1 a.m. Tuesday, early into a storm that forecasters expect to last about 30 hours and drop more than two feet of snow on much of the Northeastern United States.

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RED BANK: JCP&L DISPUTES ‘EXPLOSION’ CLAIM

rb fire 010415 1A series of eruptions displaced a manhole cover and bricks outside Red Bank Catholic, above. Below, JCP&L workers on making repairs in the “handhole” early Monday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb explosion 010515 1Were there explosions on Broad Street in Red Bank on Sunday?

Yes, according to eyewitnesses. No, according to a JCP&L spokesman – and the sidewalks downtown are as safe as ever.

Through spokesman Ron Morano, the electrical utility on Monday disputed claims that its equipment had exploded up to four times outside the St. James Church/Red Bank Catholic High complex, as reported on redbankgreen and elsewhere.

The claim that there were no explosions surprised police Chief Darren McConnell, who said he saw two himself as he stood in the cordoned-off stretch of Broad Street shortly after 3 p.m.

“I don’t know what they’re defining as an explosion,” McConnell said. “I saw what happened, and what happened looked an awful lot like an explosion to me.”

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RED BANK: ARE SIDEWALKS SAFE?

The explosions occurred in two transformer pits outside Red Bank Catholic High and St. James Church Sunday afternoon.  (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Red Bank officials are scheduled to meet Monday with power company representatives to determine what caused Sunday’s electrical equipment explosions on Broad Street, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

Also on the table, he said, is the question of whether JCP&L’s underground equipment, which runs the length of Broad Street downtown, is safe, he said.

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RED BANK: POWER BACK ON AFTER EXPLOSIONS

rb explosion 010515 2A JCP&L crew working outside RBC at about 4:35 Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Utility workers restored electrical power to downtown Red Bank Sunday night following a series of underground transformer explosions that sent manhole covers and bricks flying at mid-afternoon.

No one was reported injured in the blasts, which occurred in two curbside service pits located about 100 feet apart outside the Red Bank Catholic High School/Saint James Church complex on Broad Street, with the first of four explosions reported at about 3:06 p.m.

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RED BANK: EXPLOSIONS ROCK BROAD STREET

rb fire 010415 2Smoke billows from one of two manholes on Broad Street Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb fire 010415 1A series of explosions in underground electrical boxes rocked Broad Street in Red Bank Sunday afternoon.

No injuries were reported as the eruptions, in front of the St. James Church/Red Bank Catholic High School complex, sent steel covers and bricks flying from two manholes shortly after 3 p.m.

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RED BANK: CAKE BOSS COPS TO DWI

menna valastro 112513‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro with Mayor Pasquale Menna at the opening of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank in November, 2013. Below, Valastro’s apology tweet Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

cake boss tweet 120114Buddy Valastro, owner of the year-old Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank, pleaded guilty Monday to driving drunk in New York City last month, according to media reports.

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RED BANK: CARLO’S OWNER BUSTED FOR DWI

buddy valastro 112513 2‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro at the opening of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank a year ago. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Buddy Valastro, star of TVs’s Cake Boss and owner of the year-old Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank, was arrested on drunken driving charges in New York City early Thursday, according to media reports.

NJ.com, quoting prosecutors at Valastro’s arraignment Thursday evening, reports that Valastro told cops, “You can’t arrest me! I’m the Cake Boss!”

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RED BANK: RR XING TO CLOSE TWO NIGHTS

rb rr crossing 100614Broad Street at the New Transit grade crossing in Red Bank will be closed to vehicular traffic two night this weekend for track maintenance and repair work. The closings are scheduled from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday and again from 8 p.m Saturday through 8 a.m. Sunday, said spokeswoman Nancy Snyder. Motorists should plan alternate routes. Rail travel will not be affected, she said. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK RESTAURATEUR’S FERRARI CRASHES

fux car show 091011Michael Fux, below, with admirers at a 2011 car show in Red Bank that featured dozens of his cars, including the Ferrari above. (Click to enlarge)

michael fux 091011 1A rare Ferrari Enzo owned by foam-mattress maven Michael Fux was badly damaged in a crash on I-95 in Stamford, Connecticut, Tuesday morning, according to numerous reports.

Fux, 71, was not in the car, which was driven by a mechanic when it spun out on the interstate and smashed into the divider, causing heavy damage, according to the Stamford Advocate. The driver and a passenger suffered minor injuries.

Britain’s Daily Mail has post-crash photos of the car.

Fux became familiar figure in downtown Red Bank both for his investment in the now-closed Blue Water Seafood restaurant on Broad Street and his propensity to park his expensive Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis and Aston-Martins out front.

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RED BANK: HEALTH FOOD RETAILER RETURNS

khalid channa 060914Khalid Channa at Healthy Habits on Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508The paper came off the windows and a six-year vacancy in downtown Red Bank ended with the opening of the Kahalid Channa’s long-awaited Healthy Habits Natural Foods store Monday.

Channa has been here before.

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RED BANK: VALET PARKING GETS FEWER SPOTS

rb valet 2 032814A drop-off area outside Char Steakhouse has been eliminated under changes to the Broad Street valet parking program, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

park_it_021Love it or hate it, downtown Red Bank’s valet parking service about to undergo some more changes.

Red Bank RiverCenter, the special improvement district overseer, has taken over administrative control of the program, which was previously loosely run by individual stores and restaurants, said agency executive director Jim Scavone.

In addition, two zones – one for drop-off and one for pick-up – have been reduced to one since Monday night. That means this weekend will be the first test of whether the new arrangement – which is actually a reversion to the original set-up – will be adequate, said Scavone, who plans to work Thursday night to observe the activity.

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RED BANK: STAR POWER. OH, AND CAKE, TOO.

cake boss 112513 1Cake Boss Buddy Valastro emerges to a forest of fans and cellphone cameras at the opening of Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Starved for a glimpse of the star, fans of TVs’s Cake Boss packed newly opened Carlo’s Bake Shop in Red Bank Monday afternoon.

Standing four deep along a Broad Street sidewalk, they greeted the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, with girlish shrieks when he emerged to open the shop.

Two questions:

Why?

And how did he get the place open so fast?

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RED BANK: TREE WORK TO REQUIRE DETOURS

detour 1 111813Traffic into an out of downtown Red Bank via lower Broad Street will be impacted Tuesday by a blocklong closure, so if that’s part of your route, find another one or prepare for detours. The shutdown, between Reckless and Leroy places, is to allow for more tree removal work by Monmouth County in the area of the post office, police said. (Click to enlarge)detour 2 111813

RED BANK: TAKEDOWN STREET

rb trees 2 100713The stump of one of four Bradford pear trees taken down Tuesday afternoon. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb trees 3 100813Remember the White Street tree slaughter of 2007?

Well, it happened again Tuesday in Red Bank. And as was the case six years ago. it was necessary and justifiable, tree-care advocates said.

The latest takedown, by the Monmouth County Shade Tree Division, involved four mature Bradford pear trees on Broad Street in front of the Verizon switch building and some nearby stores.

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RED BANK: CAKE BOSS TO ENTER DESSERT FRAY

cake boss 091813Carlo’s Bakery of ‘Cake Boss’ fame plans to open in time for the Christmas holidays at 84 Broad Street, a company official said. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Make room on the oven rack: Cake Boss is moving in on Red Bank’s sweet tooth.

Carlo’s Bakery, the Hoboken pastry shop that gave rise to cable-TV phenom ‘Cake Boss’ Buddy Valastro and his growing empire of  retail bake shops, has rented the former Ricky’s Candy Cones and Chaos space at 84 Broad Street, a company official confirmed to redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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