RED BANK: NEW RIVERCENTER VISION & HQ

scavone menna red bank, nj,RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna and Visitors Center executive director Margaret Mass at the office’s opening last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank RiverCenter embarked on a new mission last week.

The manager of the town’s special improvement district nailed down a fresh set of priorities that calls for greater emphasis on leveraging the town’s Navesink River waterfront as a draw for visitors and investors.

It also opened its new offices to Broad Street.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER ‘VISION’ SHARPENS

Bill Fontana speaking at the Two River Theater Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After four months of public meetings, Red Bank RiverCenter‘s effort to redefine its vision began coming into focus Monday night.

Topping a list of six priorities that the downtown promotion agency should focus on is a “reimagined, redeveloped and reinvigorated riverfront,” a consultant told several dozen business owners and borough residents at the Two River Theater.

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RED BANK: DOWNTOWN ‘VISION’ GAINS FOCUS

Consultant Bill Fontana onstage at the Two River Theater Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Downtown Red Bank is safe, clean and friendly, but it’s got problems with parking, store vacancies and its mix of operating businesses.

Those observations, while perhaps glaringly evident to many, were among the findings of a recent survey conducted for business promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter and revealed Monday night.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER REBOOT BEGINS

Attendees filling out questionnaires at the RiverCenter strategy session at the Oyster Point Hotel Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Amid intensifying competition regionally for business investment and shoppers, Red Bank RiverCenter kicked off a four-month effort to redefine its vision for the downtown Monday night.

About 70 people, most of them merchants, gathered in a ballroom at the Oyster Point Hotel to hear from a consultant on how to determine “what you want this place to look like in 10 years,” as he put it.

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RED BANK: RETHINKING RIVERCENTER’S JOB

The downtown promotion agency RiverCenter kicks off a mission review next week, and is seeking public input, its officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Through his Monmouth Street store, the Cheese Cave, Steve Catania has been doing business in Red Bank for seven years. And for much of that time, he’s been involved in efforts to advance the interests of downtown retailers like himself.

But if you ask them, most probably couldn’t tell you what Red Bank RiverCenter‘s job really is, says Catania. And that’s a problem, given that it’s supposed to be their advocate.

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RED BANK: A TASTE FOR VOLUNTEERING

The Oyster Point Hotel 3Press release from Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County

On the evening of Monday, May 16, The Oyster Point Hotel will be the host venue as Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County hosts its inaugural food and wine tasting event, A Taste for Homes. Scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., the event celebrates the impact and difference that volunteers and companies can make to providing people in the community with a decent place to live.

Over two dozen local vendors and restaurants are slated to participate in the tasting event, with all proceeds going to support the organization’s efforts this year throughout their service territory that covers 83 percent of Monmouth County.

During the event the nonprofit organization will pay tribute to a set of individual and corporate honorees, in addition to celebrating “the many women volunteers that have what it takes to pound nails, frame walls, raise a roof and create HOPE!”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A PIG AND FIG

092415cheesecave2The Pig and Fig sandwich from the Cheese Cave. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092415cheesecave4Four and a half years after opening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the Cheese Cave, a boutique cheese shop, is often swamped for takeout at lunch time. Whether you call ahead or order when you get there, you may have to wait in line.

If you have the time though, you should consider eating inside. The atmosphere is woodsy and calm. Sandwiches are served on bread boards instead of plates, adding an old-world rustic touch.

But it’s the sandwich combinations — or “sanwicheeses,” as they say here — that pack ’em in.
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ON THE GREEN: EAT YOUR HEART OUT, LOVER

021015 carlos bakery heartCarrie Zensinger shows off one of the several heart-shaped cakes available at Carlo’s Bakery in Red Bank, above. ArtSea Gallery in Sea Bright carries chocolate Kewpie dolls, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020715 artsea chocolate cupidWith the approach of Valentines Day, the heart swells – especially for those foodies who like their treats in the shape of a heart.

And there are plenty to set culinary hearts a-flutter, as PieHole discovered earlier this week on a tour of the Greater Red Bank Green in search of heart-shaped foods and desserts.

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RED BANK: A CORKER OF A BENEFIT, FOR RBPL

Susan Haugenes Kim LevinSusan Haugenes — pictured here jamming with hyperlocal luminaries The Haven — entertains during a Tuesday night Wine Tasting Benefit for the Red Bank Public Library. (Photo by Kim Levin)

It was about a year ago that the nonprofit Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library — in an effort to re-stabilize the beleaguered biblioteque during a challenging interlude in its long history — uncorked a fundraising vehicle of rare and winning vintage: a Wine Tasting Benefit that paired the holiday-season recommendations of Rumson’s own “Cork Maven” Kristi Nero with the complementary curd suggestions of Cheese Cave proprietor Stephen Catania.

On Tuesday, November 11, the festive sounds of popping and pouring will reverberate throughout the normally hushed corners of the historic Eisner Library building, when the Wine Tasting event returns for a second annual edition. Scheduled to run between 7 and 9:30 pm, the event will spotlight a selection of Faustini Wines from the winery’s Red Bank tasting room, in happy partnership with artisanal cheeses from the borough-based Cave. Also on hand will be hors d’oeuvres, sweets, a 50/50 raffle and locally sourced live music.

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RED BANK: BRISKET SMOKED TO THE HEAVENS

broschart smoking meat 6Scott Broschart preps a 15-pound beef brisket for the smoker as his wife, Gina Roselle-Broschart, looks on. Below, PieHole enjoyed a late afternoon lunch of brisket in Broschart’s backyard. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

broschart smoking meat 2Scott Broschart dropped PieHole an email recently saying he was going to put a big piece of meat in the smoker out behind his house in Red Bank. Would we care to stop by?

Texas-style  barbecue isn’t often successful here on the Green, but we’d heard from several eaters around town about Broschart’s skills. So a few minutes later, we were making plans to meet up at Broschart’s house on Hudson Avenue.

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RED BANK: BROADWAY BABIES CATCH A WAVE

THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the musical excitement to the Molly for A Taste of Broadway, a Monday night fundraising gala benefitting a group of Shore-based nonprofits.

It’s like something straight out of a Busby Berkeley musical: farm girl comes to the big city; goes from unknown to Broadway lead, and back to struggling trouper. Takes her career into her own hands by calling up her fellow under-employed ladies of the stage and crafting “an all-female revue with a sexy rock n’ roll twist” — one that becomes an international touring sensation, from here to such faraway whistle-stops as China and Dubai. Call it The Broadway Dolls and you’ve got a surefire hit.

Created by and co-starring former Hairspray lead Hollie Howard, the project known as Broadway’s Original Girl Group brings its mix of vintage showtunes, 60s girl group oldies and 21st century radio pop to Red Bank’s historic Molly Pitcher Inn on Monday, September 22 for  “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” a gala dedicated to the benefit of an array of locally based charities — and spotlighting the wares of several star-quality staples of the Monmouth County culinary landscape.

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IN WITH THE NEW (UP WITH THE ICONIC)

SC_MW_postcardFrontPortraits of iconic women of the 1950s and 60s by Michelle Weadock are on display at Salon Concrete, beginning with a Saturday night fundraiser reception at the Broad Street business.

The seasonal return of one of Red Bank’s longest established galleries — and the latest from one of the borough’s most unusual exhibition spaces — are on the agenda for Saturday evening, as summer’s-end etiquette dictates that it’s NOT okay for walls to dress in plain white after Labor Day.

“In With the New” is the theme for September, as the Art Alliance of Monmouth County opens its 2014-2015 Exhibition Season with  a non-juried show of recent works by member artists. Running through September 30 in the gallery at 33 Monmouth Street, the installation previews with a public-invited reception on Saturday, September 6. All ages are welcome; refreshments will be served and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear some live jazz music played on the ocarina (by Lars Tollefson of Matawan) will be offered between the hours of 6 to 8 pm. The work of Toms River-based artists Robert and Barbara Edelhauser will be featured in the gallery windows throughout the month — and the gallery invites all art lovers to stop in Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12 to 4 pm, to look at the new art, take a break during your day in Red Bank, pick up a class and studio schedule, or learn more about membership in the Alliance that recently marked its 35th anniversary.

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BROADWAY ON THE NAVESINK, AT MOLLY GALA

THE BROADWAY DOLLS PRESS PIC 1The Broadway Dolls, featuring Hollie Howard (center), bring the excitement for Waves of Support, a September fundraising gala to benefit a group of ten Shore communities and locally based nonprofits.

Press release from Navesink Business Group

The officers of Navesink Business Group have announced that tickets are on sale for the organization’s annual Waves of Support fundraising gala benefitting locally based charities.

Presented under the theme “A Taste of Broadway on the Promenade,” this year’s event will take place on Monday, September 22, 2014, at the historic Molly Pitcher Inn. The evening begins with cocktails at 6 pm, and includes a silent auction, spectacular entertainment, and a five-course dinner featuring selections from some stars of Monmouth County’s culinary landscape.

Headlining the evening’s entertainment will be a performance by The Broadway Dolls, the dynamic “girl group” founded by Hollie Howard, and featuring cast members from such Broadway hits as Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys.

Dinner will include hors d’oeuvres and several courses prepared by some of Monmouth County’s top dining spots, among them Ama Ristorante, Danny’s Steak House, David Burke Fromagerie, Soul Kitchen, Teak, The Bistro, The Cheese Cave and Zoe, in addition the executive chefs from The Molly Pitcher Inn and The Oyster Point Hotel.

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SALON’S THE LOCATION FOR ART EXHIBIT

JimmyLeslieCLEARWATER MOTEL and other paintings by Shrewsbury-based artist Jimmy Leslie will be on display this Saturday night during a special opening reception for the exhibit LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!, hosted at Salon Concrete in Red Bank.

“Location! Location! Location!” is the mantra we’ve often heard espoused as the key to business success — and this Saturday evening, June 14, downtown Red Bank’s Salon Concrete will the location of choice, as Shrewsbury-based artist Jimmy Leslie presents a reception for the solo show of that name. Kicking off at 6 pm, the exhibit offers an opportunity to sample the landscape paintings and mixed-media work of the artist, through scenes of his travels that have ranged from New England, Florida and the American Southwest, to the view right outside his studio window.

Finding the same picture-perfect beauty in a motel swimming pool as he does in a pastoral babbling brook (or in Shrewsbury’s Obre Place as in a scenic wooded footpath), the artist causes us to take a closer look at the color and composition that exist in the most seemingly mundane of settings. Sponsored by the Liquitex and Winsor & Newton brands, the event is keyed into the manufacturers’ community programs, with ten percent of proceeds donated to the nonprofit Hometown Heroes — the Toms River office of which, a leading outpost of the Restore the Shore Hurricane Sandy Relief campaign, was itself destroyed by a three-alarm fire in May.

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WEEKEND: RIGHT HERE IN RIVER CITY

MusicManGroup_718x370The cast of THE MUSIC MAN brings the Broadway evergreen to ‘Two River City’ for five concert-style performances this weekend. Below, Jersey music Jedi master Glen Burtnik leads an all-Shore team of guests to the Basie stage on Saturday, for a SUMMER OF LOVE salute to the sounds of the original Woodstock festival. (Above photo courtesy NJPAC)

Friday, March 14:

glenburtnik-4-kurdzukjpg-907ec69606a7eef9RED BANK: “Seventy Six Trombones.” “Marian the Librarian.” “Til There Was You.” “Ya Got Trouble” (right here in River City). If you’ve seen but one golden-age Broadway classic performed by a class of drama-club kids, a community of earnest amateurs or a summer-stock touring troupe, it was probably The Music Man, the 1957 Tony winner in which traveling con man Professor Harold Hill brings an outlandish scheme — and, in the process, a healthy dose of life, love, laughter and music — to the stodgy folk of a circa-1912 Iowa small town. What you probably haven’t seen is a Music Man brought to you by an African American cast and director — and this weekend, Two River Theater Company offers up five chances to catch a talent-packed production that’s being presented in cahoots with Newark’s NJ Performing Arts Center.

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PIEHOLE: TOMATOES, CHEESE AND BEER

balderose (3)Brian Imbriale puts the finishing touches on PieHole‘s curry chicken salad sandwich at Fair Haven’s Balderose Fine Foods. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories…

Imported Italian Tomatoes We get an earful from Jimmy DiBartolo of restaurant wholesaler Quick Stop Food & Paper about tomatoes and sauce.

Keep neurotoxins off your plate. We share a few pointers we picked up from Master Gardener Carolyn Heuser’s presentation on organic vegetable gardening.
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RED BANK: BEER & CHEESE PAIR UP AT MOLLY

mollypitcher (1)A serendipitous sandwich order led to an event that will feature Belgian-style brews and cheeses from the Cheese Cave at Red Bank’s Molly Pitcher Inn this month. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Man’s fortunate discovery of the delicious results of fermentation, e.g. beer, wine and cheese, had a lot to do with luck, good timing and happenstance.

So too, Sunday’s Beer and Cheese tasting event at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank had everything to do with good timing and a serendipitous sandwich order.

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PIEHOLE: A CHRISTMAS FEAST

tiki sunsetThere’s a whiff of the sea to go with your evening cocktail at the newly opened Tiki Bar at Driftwood in Sea Bright.  (Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories…

PieHole sat down with some Italian moms to learn what you need to know to buy, roast and eat chestnuts.

• When it comes to the main ingredient of a Philly cheese steak, Silvio Fabbri of Umberto’s in Fair Haven has no patience for “cheap ****.”

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RED BANK: A ZESTY NEW NEIGHBOR

spice 2PieHole happened to be on the scene when Red Bank’s new sugar and spice purveyor came looking to give away some lemons leftover from a morning of zesting. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

While out foraging in downtown Red Bank earlier this week, PieHole happened upon a curious giveaway.

“We were dehydrating lemons this morning to make lemon zest,” says Howard Bernstein, carrying a hefty bag of skinned lemons, “and we have no use for the rest of the lemons.”

Bernstein tells PieHole he’s “just waiting on permits” to open his new shop, the Spice & Tea Exchange, on Monmouth Street. He hopes to be opened by Thursday of next week, and is prepping ingredients for the spice blends he’ll be selling.

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RED BANK: CHEESE, THAT’S A GREAT IDEA…

thanksgivingcheeseCaitlin O’Neill of Sickles Market suggests some alternatives to the usual Thanksgiving Day pre-eats. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

For the Thanksgiving host, there’s always the question of what snacks to put out for the guests while they wait to sit down to the big meal – something that won’t spoil the appetite but will keep the crowd conscious enough to feign interest in a Lions or Cowboys game.

PieHole checked in with some Red Bank-area cheesemongers to see if they could come up with an alternative to the ubiquitous Chex Mix or chips and veggies with sour cream and onion dip. And cheese, they sure did.

“There are a range of cheeses that would allow you to offset the richness of the Thanksgiving dinner plate,” says Caitlin O’Neill, cheesemonger at Sickles Market, in Little Silver.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY UNCORKS FUND DRIVE

wine_cheese_tasting 3Kristy Niro and Stephen Catania finalize the wine and cheese pairings for tonight’s event at the Red Bank Public Library, below. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

rbpl 1 102113Hunting for a few good wines to serve over the holidays can be a challenge, but expert help is available tonight at the Red Bank Public Library.

The Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library is holding a holiday wine tasting benefit from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the West Front Street facility.

“There are so many things going on on the Thanksgiving table,” says Kristy Niro of Rumson, aka the Cork Maven. “People can have a difficult time finding a wine that’s going to go with the turkey but not going to clash with their wild mushroom barley stuffing or their cranberry dish.”

Guests will be able to sample four holiday wine suggestions and some expertly paired cheeses as well.

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RED BANK: SPREADING “WORD OF CURD”

cheese (3)Cheese Cave customer John Lewer, right, picks up his eponymous sandwich for lunch. Below, owner Stephen Catania. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

cheese (1)October is American Cheese Month. And no: despite the name, it’s not a time to celebrate the dayglow orange plastic-wrapped square that we center onto a buttered Wonder Bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

Rather, it’s intended to promote artisan cheeses that are made here in America,  Stephen Catania of Red Bank’s Cheese Cave tells redbankgreen‘s PieHole.

With specialty cheese shops promoting  a different cheese every day of the month at a discount, “it’s a way for local merchants to spread the word of curd,” Catania said.

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CHEF OPENS CHEESE ‘CAVE’ ON MONMOUTH

stephen-cataniaStephen Catania will open the doors to The Cheese Cave Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Stephen Catania says it’s a wide world of cheeses out there, and every cheese has a story: where it came from, the family or company that produced it, how it was made.

His job, as he sees it, is to introduce you to that world and tell you those stories.

Catania will do that through his latest venture, The Cheese Cave, set to open its doors in Red Bank Saturday morning.

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