RED BANK: KEEPING IT ALL UNDER ONE ROOF

Butcher Stew Goldstein is the new owner of 110 Monmouth Street, where Max Olivera and Alberto Bautista, below, plan to open a restaurant called El Azteca Grill next door to Monmouth Meats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With a butcher shop, recording studio and, until recently, a restaurant under its roof, 110 Monmouth Street could serve as a neat little microcosm of downtown Red Bank.

Now, with butcher Stew Goldstein‘s recent acquisition of the modest-sized two-story brick building, plus a deal to fill the first-floor restaurant vacancy with a new Mexican-American eatery, the tableau seems to have been secured for the foreseeable future.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON THE BUTCHER’S GRILL?

stew_grill_cutsA good butcher can carve out tasty, affordable cuts for the grill, like this well-marbleized cut of boneless short rib from Monmouth Meats in Red Bank. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

PieHole does not abide by the belief that there is a grilling season, per se.

The presence of snow, rain or an arctic blast simply means we adjust our wardrobe along with our cooking time while  monitoring for flare-ups enroute to the perfect 45-degree grill marks.

That said, this weekend’s weather should allow for shorts and t-shirts while manning the grill. And that means it’s as good a time as any to check in with a few of the Green’s butchers about their favorite under-appreciated – and more affordable – cuts of meat for grilling.

We’ll begin with Stew Goldstein of Monmouth Meats in Red Bank.

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RED BANK: JAZZ MARKET SEEKS NEW SOLOIST

rb 135 shrewbury 040914Two years after the death of jazz-crazy butcher Ralph “Johnny Jazz” Gatta, his longtime butcher shop on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank has been gutted and renovated. Building owner Donna Reck tells redbankgreen she’s looking for a tenant for the space, which is zoned for neighborhood business.

What type of business would you like to see there? The street gets lots of motor traffic and abuts an area that’s about to get more than 150 new homes, when the West Side Lofts and Station Place projects are complete. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: GETTING FRESH WITH TURKEY

turkey

The sign outside Citarella’s Market in Red Bank says it all. If you want a fresh turkey, the clock is ticking. Below, Kristian Bauman, meat manager at Sickles Market in Little Silver. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Kristian BaumanThanksgiving is less than three weeks away, and so now is the time to think about where you’re going to get your turkey for the big day.

If possible, you’re going to want to go with a fresh bird, not one that’s been doing hard, cold time frozen away in some industrial freezer.

“Sometimes those turkeys have been in the supermarket’s freezer for a year or so,” says Stew Goldstein, of Monmouth Meats in Red Bank. “The stores buy when the price is low, and then keep the birds in their freezers ’til it’s time to sell them. Who knows really how long it’s been in there?”

One thing dinner tables around the Red Bank Green can be thankful for is the number of options we have for getting fresh turkeys. Piehole checked in with three shops to talk fresh turkey.

 

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RED BANK: GENERATIONS OF MEATY WISDOM

Fourth-generation butcher Ralph Citarella, right, and long-time employee Kyle Powell carry on more than 113 years of meat-cutting tradition. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallJust as in the Middle Ages, when last names like Baker, Taylor and Miller connoted the trade or profession of the family breadwinner, if “Citarella” were an occupation, it would now mean “dude who knows meat.”

In the late 1800s, Andrew Ralph Citarella left Naples, Italy, to settle in Red Bank, and soon began selling meat off of his front porch.

“He learned to cut meat by just doing it,’ says Ralph Citarella, fourth-generation butcher and current owner of Citarella’s Market, on Prospect Avenue. “Then he sent my great-grandmother [Carmela] to the meat houses [in Long Branch]. She learned the proper way, and then she taught him.

“So she taught my great-grandfather, and he taught my grandfather, and my grandfather taught my father, who taught me. It’s like an apprenticeship. It’s just years of a cutting apprenticeship.”

From the front porch, the first Citarellas moved to a store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank. Sometime later, the shop relocated to Sea Bright, where Ralph’s grandfather and father, Andy, ran the business. The 1962 flood brought another relocation, to the Little Silver Shopping Center, where Andy ran the store. But in 1979, “he had to get out of there, because at that time it was really run-down, and the rent was going up, so he moved the store” to its current location, said Ralph. “He ‘moved a mile north,’ as he used to put it.”

redbankgreen sat down with Ralph at a picnic table beside the store recently to talk about meat, sauce and what makes a 100- plus-year-old family business tick.

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BUT WILL THE SIGN BE HAND-SCRAWLED?

Jj_07By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials are mulling a ceremonial renaming of a portion of Shrewsbury Avenue in honor of grocer Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta, who died last Saturday at age 74.

Gatta, a lifelong Red Banker, died at Barnabas Health Hospice at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. He was buried Wednesday at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown.

A butcher who infused bebop, played loud, into his every working hour over nearly five decades behind the counter at Johnny’s Jazz Market, Gatta served as a living encyclopedia of jazz arcana among the boxes of cereal and detergent in his store.

He was also, he was fond of telling visitors, a front-row witness to the West Side’s transition from a neighborhood dominated by African-Americans and immigrant Italians to one with a Spanish accent – changes he heartily embraced.

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NEW RUMSON MARKET, SAME OLD FEEL

rumson-marketFormer Rumson Market owner Bill Alcaro, left, chats with new owner Jerry St-Cyr Thursday at the newly-renovated landmark. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It had been nearly a year since Bill Alcaro stepped foot inside Rumson Market Place, the East River Road business he owned for 22 years until back surgery forced him to sell it.

When he left, it still had old refrigerators and creaky wood floors. It was, as borough resident Terry Schaefer Severance put it, “a classic old Rumson neighborhood market.”

On Thursday, when Alcaro walked in for a cup of coffee, he saw the old neighborhood market revitalized — new refrigerators, new floors and all.

“Place looks great,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”

Questions loomed what would happen to the market after Alcaro sold it, but they’re answered now: the Rumson Market is back in business, with an updated look but the same small-town feel.

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