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RED BANK: O BISTRO TAKEOUT? MAIS OUI!

The former Red Bank Pizza storefront on Bridge Avenue has been reincarnated as the to-go counter of O Bistro Francais. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

When chef Marc Fontaine opened O Bistro Francais in Red Bank a year ago, local gourmets rejoiced at the return of top-quality French cooking after a six-year absence from town.

Now, Fontaine has turned the disused former storefront pizzeria end of his Bridge Avenue restaurant into a takeout counter to supplement the linen-napkin dining room. And once again, Francophile eaters are over the moon.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EARLY DINNER IN RUMSON

Vegetarian French onion soup with complimentary pimento cheese and crackers at the bar of Russell and Bette’s.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Skipping lunch in lieu of a date for early happy hour at Rumson’s charming new Russell and Bette’s on West River Road proves to be smart thinking, as PieHole finds a superabundance of dining choices here.

Pansy-filled window boxes and white stucco give the outside of the restaurant a cheerful veneer. Inside, we find an engaging old-world mood, with dark wood paneling and brick interior walls. Vintage stained glass chandeliers add color, while the bar to the right of the entrance is original to its predecessor, What’s Your Beef.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DREAMY O BISTRO CREPE

110116o-bistro4Shrimp, scallops and chopped clams swimming in a creamy herb-flecked sauce are folded into a tender crepe and served with a side salad at O Bistro Francais. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?A big old barn of a building on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank is now home to the much anticipated French restaurant, O Bistro Francais.

Following the arrows along the side of the building to a door crowned by a French flag, PieHole finds a new entrance, an interior whipped up in cloud-like shades of white and dove-gray, and familiar faces. Traditional French fare from the kitchen of chef Marc Fontaine is all the enticement we need to slide into a booth and indulge.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BRUNCH, AT GAETANO’S

090316gaetanos6French toast garnished with fresh berries from the brunch menu at Gaetano’s. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Taking a metaphorical broom to the cobwebs left behind in Tom Capello’s old restaurant, Louis Andrianos, the new owner of Gaetano’s on Wallace Street in Red Bank, leaves PieHole gobsmacked by the refreshing updates he’s instituting.

Gone are the stale Sinatra-era infused soundtrack and the granny-style oilcloth-covered tables, replaced with more contemporary stylings. The menu’s also been altered to include a daily brunch.
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RED BANK: SUGARUSH ADDING CAFFEINE RUSH

amanda porter sugarush 062016Taking over the business from her brother and brother-in-law, Amanda Porter plans to add a café to Sugarush next week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIt’s not so much that the block on which her business resides is undercaffeinated, by urban standards, that compelled new Sugarush owner Amanda Porter to open a café at the Red Bank desserts shop.

But add to that the fact that she’s got available storefront space; a bakery out back with the capacity to create a whole new, non-dessert treats menu; and is a self-style “coffee snob,” and well, how could she not?

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RED BANK: NO JOE’S A NO-SHOW

Blizzard 012715 5No Joe’s Café was as quiet as all other businesses in downtown Red Bank at 4 a.m. Tuesday, despite having touted a plan on its Facebook page and a sign in its window to stay open for 24 hours during the blizzard to serve emergency responders and snowplow operators. There was no immediate explanation for the change, but it reminded us of an old bit by comedian Steven Wright. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GOOD KARMA LOVE BOWL

Good KarmaThe Love Bowl with coconut sauce and tempeh at Red Bank’s Good Karma Cafe. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumI have eaten the face off a pig.

Rubbed with herbs and lemon zest, rolled up tightly around the pig’s tongue and cooked sous-vide, it was a delicious combination of porky flavors and textures.

I mention this by way of disclaimer: I am not, probably, the target demographic for a vegan joint like Red Bank’s beloved Good Karma Café.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S FOR LUNCH

danish tuna 100713At the Danish Café in Red Bank: a tuna pita sandwich, with corn, peas, red peppers, romaine lettuce and thousand island dressing. “It’s how we make it in Denmark,” says Lone Kofod, who owns the café, located in the Galleria Red Bank, with husband Claudi.

Want to see more like this on PieHole, redbankgreen‘s fledgling food page? Let us know! (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CUPCAKES, WITH A FRENCH TWIST

Erica Lieberman is jumping into the baked desserts fray with Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar on Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Into the ever-changing mix of Red Bank eateries comes a new entry  that aims to compete on several fronts, including cupcakes and coffee.

Dubbed Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar, the business opening at 6 Monmouth Street also incorporates some offerings of the last tenant there. Chef Marc Fontaine, who briefly offered crepes under the banner of La Patisweet, will be working a section of the space now leased to Whipped owner and first-time retailer Erica Lieberman.

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RED BANK: GOOD OLD VEGAN ‘COMFORT FOOD’

Gail Doherty with a hot tray of “magic cookies,” made with pecans, chocolate chips, carrot and coconut. Below, she and employee Allison Kennedy work quickly to fill orders during the lunch rush. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Nearly three years after opening, Red Bank’s Good Karma Café has put to rest many misconceptions about vegan dining, including that it’s unsatisfying “rabbit food.”

Smaller than many suburban living rooms at just 900 square feet, the cozy East Front Street restaurant caters to a mix of regulars, pilgrims and the just-curious, serving up hearty dishes along with answers to some burning questions:

Is it more expensive to eat vegan? How is protein supplemented? What does tofu taste like?

“We’re not bringing you in with any kind of dogma,” said co-owner Gail Doherty. “There’s no agenda other than serving you some yummy food while maybe squashing some stereotypes.”

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JA, YOU CAN GET A REAL DANISH HERE

The Danish flag and lighting fixtures add to the atmosphere of the industrial space in the Galleria. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

In the 105 years since its construction, the Galleria of Red Bank has had a revolving door for local business owners. Built as a uniform factory and presently  home to a spa, an “intuitive specialist,” a framing shop, restaurants and more, the brick building now touts a newly opened coffee shop.

However, to simply say ‘coffee shop’ is to the put the Danish Café in the same league as dime-a-dozen Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts shops.  Instead, husband-and-wife owners Claudi and Lone Kofod, above, are trying to expand American palates with a taste of Denmark’s delectable wienerbrød (pastries) and authentic frokost (lunch) dishes.

The Kofods are from the small island of Bornholm, population 42,000, where they were both born and raised. Married 27 years, they moved to the States three months ago on an investor visa to conquer the challenge of operating their own business in America.

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TABLE UNDER THE STREETLIGHT, PLEASE

With a plethora of restaurants, Red Bank is a diner’s delight year-round. But in summer, it takes on a casual and unhurried demeanor as the doors are thrown open and tables moved outside. And when the food and the company are right, the sunset, stars and passersby become part of a magical milieu.

In her swan song for the summer, redbankgreen photo intern Stacie Fanelli serves up an enticing appetizer of open-air dining pix taken around town over the past two months.

Bon appetit.

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LOUNGING AT THE LIBRARY

mon-libA library patron pulling down free wifi over coffee at the new café Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury is trying to elbow its way past the big-box booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Borders, where a visitor these days might laze on a plush couch with a cup of coffee and a laptop while perusing a potential purchase.

Well, you can do that at the library now, too.

The county branch will cut the ribbon tomorrow on its newest addition: the Lion’s Den Café, a second-story lounge that overhangs the vast literary collection below. It’s a spot where one can grab coffee or lunch and get into a book in typical library quietude.

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