WEEKENDER: BARGAINS, BANDS AND THE BARD

Bargains line the brick walkways of downtown Red Bank for the annual Sidewalk Sale this weekend. Below, fans of the Haven find shelter at the Walt Street Pub Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, July 26:

RED BANK: Shop, rock & stroll through Red Bank for the 59th annual sidewalk sale. The weekend-long bargainfest lets shoppers snag clearance and sale items at shops throughout the downtwon. The sale runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SHREWSBURY: Learn the basics of email at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library. The session is free and begins at 7 p.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

RED BANK: Chazz Palminteri stops by Count Basie Theatre for a special one-man performance of his play-turned-big-screen-hit “A Bronx Tale,” about a murder Palminteri witnessed when he was young. Tickets are $55, $65, $85, and $150. VIP tickets include a meet and greet with the star. “A Bronx Tale” begins at 8 p.m. 99 Monmouth Street.

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SHREWSBURY AVENUE SPICES UP BANCO ROJO

Nopales, left, and sabila, above, are available at Rincon Latino Supermarket. (Photos by Grace Goldoni. Click to enlarge)

By GRACE GOLDONI

Rich South American hot chocolate in blocks. Subtropical coconuts. Exotic, prickly and tangy vegetables.

We’re not in your typical white-bread American supermarket. Here on Shrewsbury Avenue, the main thoroughfare on Red Bank’s West Side, the striking flavors of fresh and authentic Latin food create a south-of-the-border atmosphere.

In recent decades, this commercial stretch has adopted a strong Latino accent, just like its surrounding neighborhoods. If you’ve never stepped outside your car and visited this street, home to about half a dozen bodegas and small grocers, well, grab a shopping cart…

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WEEKENDER: ON THE GREEN AND ON THE SAND

Contractors building a new staircase over the sea wall at the Mad Hatter in Sea Bright, where thousands of revelers are expected for the daylong Dunesday fundraiser. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Friday, July 19:

LINCROFT: Royalty graces Brookdale Community College’s Lincroft campus as Shakespeare’s witty early comedy, “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” comes to the Great Lawn. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets (rain site: Performing Arts Center). The performance begins at 7 p.m. Park in lot 2. Lawn outside PAC building/Newman Springs Road/Route 520.

RED BANK: The versatile five-piece cover band Pez Head visits the Walt Street Pub for an invigorating Friday night set. The show pops at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

RED BANK: Jazz pianist and pocalist Champian Fulton visits the Summer Jazz Café at Two River Theatre, presented by Jazz Arts Project. The series promises a big city club vibe with coffee and refreshments. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are $22. 21 Bridge Avenue.

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RED BANK: FIRST SIP OF SUMMER

Red Bank unveiled a new, two-day summer event called Sippin’ on the River over the weekend. redbankgreen was there the first night to capture the sights as thousands flocked to Marine Park for great food, a little beer or wine, and good company beside our beautiful Navesink River. Were you there? See who you might know in our 50 photos.

RED BANK: CINNAMON SNAIL ON VEGAN ROLL

Adam Sobel, in striped bandana, says, “I want to get people excited about vegan. It’s not all brown rice and steamed vegetables.” (Photos by Jim Willis.)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallAdam Sobel, owner of the popular vegan food truck the Cinnamon Snail, doesn’t get all preachy about being a vegan. Instead of sermons about the evils of the standard American diet or the darker side of factory-farmed animals, the 30-year-old Red Bank resident lets his food speak for itself, and hopes his cooking will get non-vegan customers to connect the dots on their own.

Since hitting the road  three years ago, the Cinnamon Snail has become a Red Bank Farmers Market staple while amassing a considerable following in Manhattan, where it has won multiple awards. Mobile Cuisine Magazine, for example, named the Snail “America’s Favorite Vegan Food Truck” in 2012.

redbankgreen sat down with Sobel on the front porch of his home over a cup of chai and some yerba mate to discuss the trials and tribulations of a kitchen on wheels and what’s next for the Cinnamon Snail.

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RED BANK: SCAVONE TO LEAD RIVERCENTER

Jim Scavone, left, rockin’ promotional sunglasses at a Red Bank Flavour event last month with RiverCenter program director Amanda Lynn, center, and Visitors Center director Margaret Mass. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank RiverCenter kept it local, choosing interim director and borough resident Jim Scavone to lead the downtown promotion agency, the organization announced Tuesday night.

The selection of Scavone, who was RiverCenter’s operations manager prior to the April departure of Nancy Adams as executive director, marks a win for members of the search committee who urged their store-and-restaurant-owning colleagues to stick with in-house talent rather than bring in someone unfamiliar, people involved in the selection process told redbankgreen.

“The best man won,” said Tom Fishkin, RiverCenter’s vice chairman and owner of Readies Fine Foods on Broad Street.

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FAIR HAVEN DOES IT AGAIN

They liked it so much in their town’s centennial year that they decided to do it again. The residents of Fair Haven threw themselves a townwide picnic Saturday, a day of food, music and community under the sun that ended with a smashing fireworks show. redbankgreen was there, natch. Recognize any faces?

RED BANK: RIVERFEST TO HEAT UP WEEKEND

Scenes from the 2012 edition of Red Bank Riverfest, which returns to Marine Park for a thre-night run starting Friday. (Click to enlarge)

Three days of heat and eats await visitors to Red Bank this weekend.

For the third consecutive year, after a decade-long layover, Riverfest returns to the banks of the Navesink River in Marine Park Friday night for a stay that extends into Sunday night.

And what this event be without a touch of sultry-bordering-on-threatening weather?

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SEA BRIGHT: ANOTHER RESTAURANT REOPENS

Another Sea Bright business is back, six months after Sandy. Below, Amanda and Ming Zheng in their New Super Golden restaurant. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

In the minds of Sea Brighters, each business that reopens in this storm-walloped town is another step toward their goal of getting the beach community back to normal in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Late last week another longstanding establishment was able to open its doors again.

“Everything about Sea Bright was great before, and hopefully the town remains that way now that we are all starting to come back,” said Amanda Zheng, who owns the 20-year old New Super Golden Chinese restaurant with her husband, Ming.

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RED BANK: FLAVOUR FEST FEEDS THRONGS

Does Red Bank know how to eat or whut?

Mais oui! As proof, thousands of visitors jammed the White Street parking lot Sunday for the second annual Red Bank International Flavour Festival, bringing appetites not only for food, served up by two dozen of the town’s restaurants and food stores, but for dancing and general bonhomie.

redbankgreen was there with its point-and-shoot. Were you? Check out our collection of 75 snaps if you’re unsure.

Up next: Sippin’ on the River, in June.

RED BANK: EAT THE WORLD, ON WHITE STREET

It’s one of the inarguable upsides of immigration: the tickling of America’s taste buds. And visitors to Red Bank are among the beneficiaries this Sunday as the White Street parking lot morphs into a smorgasbord of border-crossing cuisines for the second annual International Flavour Festival. Sponsored by Red Bank RiverCenter, the event highlights the output of grilles, ovens and stoves of two dozen Red Bank restaurants and food retailers, with live entertainment and thousands of friendly faces from noon to 7 p.m. Rain date: May 5.  (Click to enlarge)

FRENCH OUT. THAI, PERUVIAN & ICE CREAM IN.

Marc Fontaine outside the now-closed Bienvenue, which will become a Thai restaurant. Fontaine plans to open a pastry shop on Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Restaurant-crazy Red Bank’s ethnic pot is getting stirred again.

For Francophiles, the news is bad, as Bienvenue, the only French restaurant for miles around, has closed.

Those hankering for another Thai choice, though, will get their wish, as one moves into the space Bienvenue vacated last month, at the corner of East Front Street and Wharf Avenue.

Bienvenue’s chef, Marc Fontaine, meantime, plans to open a pastries and crepes café at 8 Monmouth Street.

Farther west on Monmouth, work has resumed on yet-to-open Peruvian restaurant after months of inactivity.

And, for dessert, a homemade ice cream shop plans to open before summer begins on White Street, in the space held by the short-lived Nina’s Waffles.

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RUMSON: TAKEOUT PLACE REPLACES OLD DELI

Keeping it local, the sandwiches at Locals Creative Fresh Takeout are named for local places, heroes and legends. Below, returnable baskets customers can use to tote lunches to the beach. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A new lunch spot has quietly popped up in the former home of a beloved Rumson deli.

Locals Creative Fresh Takeout soft-launched January 7, offering a menu of sandwiches to-go in a space where Rumsonites lined up for decades at Butler’s Deli, which closed in October.

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RED BANK: SIPPIN’ AND CHOWIN’ EVENT OK’D

The logo for next summer’s Sippin’ on the River two-day food-and-drink fest, to be held in Marine Park. The event joins a seasonal roster that also includes the International Flavour Fest, held in the White Street municipal lot, as seen below. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank is about to get its fourth outdoor food fest, one that allows, for the first time, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in a public park.

Sponsored by the culinary alliance Red Bank Flavour, the two-day ‘Sippin’ on the River’ chowdown won clearance from the borough council Wednesday night to set up its tents in Marine Park on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, in Marine Park.

“In addition to the charity aspect, which all our festivals have,” said Flavour founder and restaurateur George Lyristis, “this festival is designed to give people a great reason to come down to Red Bank to try out some of the best local food around, and have some wine or beer.”

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STORM CHARITY DIGS IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

RebuildRecover co-founder Mike Hernandez surrounded by donated materiel in the organization’s initial home: his Sounds to Go DJ office on East Front Street in Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Eight weeks after the hurricane, a grassroots effort to provide necessities to residents of neighborhoods damaged by Sandy is still going strong, and plans to morph into a permanent relief operation, its founders say.

Created by six twentysomething friends who wanted to provide aid on their own terms, Red Bank-based RebuildRecover quickly became one of the Shore area’s most visible and influential nonprofit charities, attracting the attention of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who lives in town, and hundreds of lesser-known donors.

“After three days of working with another, really well-known charity organization that will not be named, my co-founders and I decided to take matters in our own hands,” said vice president David Cruse. The idea, he said, was to “create an organization that would provide those in need with direct, immediate help.”

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LITTLE SILVER: COASTAL CHOW OF THE PAST

Author Karen Schnitzspahn with her latest book, and some of her earlier works, below. (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

For Karen Schnitzspahn, food isn’t just about textures, tastes and smells – it also has deep cultural and historical aspects to it.

The Little Silver writer explores these facets of food in her latest book, Jersey Shore Food History: Victorian Feasts to Boardwalk Treats.

Complete with recipes such as “Mrs. Mulford’s Clam Fritters” and “Jesse Eigenrauch’s Butterscotch Pudding,” and chock full of photographs, the book dishes on food from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, all along the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May.

“It’s not just about the pizza, the hot dogs, and the saltwater taffy,” says Schnitzspahn. “It’s the whole cultural thing – the cultural influence and how certain foods became popular.”

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RED BANK: JR.’S SIZZLES AFTER HOURS

The after-hours crowd packs Jr.’s on a recent Saturday night.  (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

Without fanfare, but with a fair amount of merriment, a new late-night eatery debuted on the Red Bank scene last month and has been packing them in on weekends.

Jrs., the first expansion of the popular Jr.’s West End burger place owned by Mike DeSimone, opened a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit, becoming the fourth downtown eatery  to keep late hours, staying open until 4 a.m. every day.

With a number of bars just steps away, the tiny West Front Street restaurant immediately attracted a colorful crowd at closing time.

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FIRED UP FOR THE FAIR HAVEN FAIR


There’s just enough room to squeeze between the rides and booths that pack the grounds of the Fire Haven firehouse for the annual Firemen’s Fair, touted as the largest such event in New Jersey. On Tuesday, volunteers oiled gears on a truck-themed  merry-go-round and hosed down each car of the ferris wheel, which can be seen from far down River Road.

The fair kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. and runs nightly through September 1, except on Sundays. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

FUNK AND STANDARD HEADS NORTH ON BROAD

Patti Siciliano plans to relocate her 14-year-old store to 7 Broad. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Funk and Standard, a retailing stalwart through Red Bank’s economic ups and downs, is planning to vacate its longtime home and reopen next month farther north on Broad Street.

Owner Patti Siciliano tells redbankgreen she’ll close the clothing and novelty store, as well as its 18-month-old Yummy Yummy Good Stuff juice bar, on Tuesday in preparation for a move to a below-the-street space at 7 Broad Street, between Red restaurant and Blue Water Seafood.

Hoping to take over the vacated space at 40 Broad is Greene Street Consignment, a high-end clothing consignment shop with seven stores in the Philadelphia area, according to documents on file at borough hall.

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CHURN: COMICS, FURNITURE, BURGERS & MORE

The reality show about comic book aficionados is being taped once again at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash as well as at 28 Broad Street, above. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Production of the second, full season of ‘Comic Book Men’ got underway Monday, giving a prominent vacancy in downtown Red Bank something to do for the next 10 weeks while its owners continue trying to attract a more permanent tenant.

The reality show, which had a limited run earlier this year on AMC, is set in Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, owned by filmmaker Kevin Smith, and follows the jostlings of the shop’s employees and customers.

Additional footage, featuring Smith and an Algonquin Rectangular Table of comic book aficionads shooting the breeze, is to be recorded on a sound stage built across the street from the store, at 28 Broad.

That’s the former home of Prima’s Home Café, a furnishings store that vacated back in January, when the building changed hands for $1.175 million, according to property records.

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SPICING UP RED BANK, MEDITERRANEAN STYLE

Mohamed Elbery shows his son, Karim, how to chop parsley finely enough to make tabouli, a salad featuring onion and garlic. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI and DANIELLE TEPPER

If you’ve never tried baba ghanoush, Mohamed Elbery will hook you up. If you don’t like it, don’t worry – there won’t be any hard feelings. He’ll just be pleased to have been able to offer you a bite of his culture.

Mediterranean food is an acquired taste, Elbery admits, but Café28, on White Street in Red Bank, has enough loyal regulars to keep him in business and able to afford to give out the occasional free sample. He said it’s the unequalled, exotic dishes that keep people coming back – and keep him fearless in the face of Red Bank’s reputation for quick turnarounds in business.

“You are now in my house. You are most welcome to try it,” he said.

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FOOD, MUSIC, SUMMER NIGHT ON THE RIVER…

Scenes from the opening night of the three-day Riverfest food and music festival in Red Bank’s Marine Park Friday. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

The National Weather Service forecast for days two and three is encouraging:

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. West wind between 11 and 14 mph.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. West wind between 6 and 13 mph.

Sunday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. West wind between 11 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

WEEKEND: PINKHATSYARDSALEFOODFEST

Red Bank becomes a bargainhunter’s paradise on Saturday. On Sunday: food, acres of food. (Click to enlarge)

As the headline suggests, the weekend that awaits is jammed with the potential for good times.

We’ve got the fifth Red Bank Townwide Yard Sale, this one making a migration from fall to spring.

We’ve got one of the inaugural events of this year’s weeklong Paint the Town Pink festivities to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection.

And capping it all off, rain or shine, is the first-ever Red Bank International Flavour Fest, an outdoor celebration of the wide variety of cuisines available year-round at Red Bank restaurants.

And Mother Nature appears to be in a mood to cooperate.

Details, as they used to say when that was still a two-syllable word, are just below.

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