RED BANK: GOING TO THE DOGS, MONTHLY

Monmouth Street between Broad Street and Drummond Place will be closed to automobile traffic one night a month from July through October for ‘Dog Days of Summer.’ (Click to enlarge)

A stretch of Red Bank’s Monmouth Street will become a pedestrian mall for four-legged visitors and their leash-holders on select nights starting in July, Mayor Pasquale Menna announced Wednesday night.

Following through on plans hinted at last month, Menna said an event dubbed ‘Dog Days of Summer’ would begin Tuesday, July 30 and repeat on the final Tuesday nights of August, September and October, concluding with a Halloween party of sorts for domesticated critters.

“This is a special themed event for pets that includes humans,” said Menna, owner of an 11-year-old white Labrador retriever named Bella.

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RED BANK: MOTHER & SON’S NEW AGE ENERGY

Joycelyn and Christopher Midose at Earth Spirit, where the merchandise includes “energy-infused” candles, below.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

If while strolling Monmouth Street in Red Bank you catch a titillating whiff of patchouli incense and sandalwood, let your curious nose guide you into Earth Spirit New Age Center, a shopping experience that for some is a form of  sensory overload.

Feathered dream catchers and tinkling wind chimes hang from the ceiling; brightly colored gemstones – pink rose quartz, purple amethyst, and orange citrine – sit loose in dishes with small signs that describe their spiritual meanings; tiny bottles of aromatherapy oil are displayed next to figurines of Gothic gargoyles and mermaids; bookcases line the walls with volumes that run the gamut from Buddhism and Hinduism to astrology and healing.

And that’s before things get deep: the Midoses can also put you in touch with loved ones who have passed on – for a fee, of course. Read More »

NAPA-BASED WINERY PLANTS RED BANK SEED

Faustini Wines, a tasting experience and retail shop in one, is set to open on Broad Street in March. (Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Rcsm2_010508Red Bank-area oenophiles will have a new downtown destination to check out in coming months.

With Faustini Wines, Michelle Faustini and her husband, Anthony, hope to offer a service not found anywhere else in town: a place where diners on their way to a BYOB restaurant can taste wine before they buy it.

“We’re looking to create a true Napa Valley tasting experience,” said Faustini. “I think the town needs something like this to bring people together.”

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MONMOUTH STREET CLOSED FOR REPAVING

Commuters and other motorists who use Monmouth Street between Bridge and Maple avenues in Red Bank should avoid it tonight, as it’s closed for milling and repaving. The closure will be in effect until about 7 p.m. Tuesday, run from 7 a.m. through most of the day Wednesday, and will be implemented again on Thursday if necessary, police said. (Click to enlarge)

MONMOUTH STREET SET TO REOPEN

Contractors prepare to lay down striping on the newly paved Monmouth Street in Red Bank shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday following a two-day closure of the stretch between Broad Street and Maple Avenue.

A “streetscape” overhaul of Monmouth between Maple and Bridge Avenue is scheduled to begin in about three weeks, according to borough engineer Christine Ballard. (Click to enlarge)

MONMOUTH STREET SHUT FOR REPAVING

Monmouth Street in Red Bank was closed to vehicular traffic for milling and repaving between Broad Street and Maple Avenue Wednesday. The work is expect to be completed by 4 p.m. Thursday, according to an alert from the borough government. (Click to enlarge)

AN OASIS OF COLOR

The traffic island at Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, home to a rail-crossing gate, was lush and bright with well-tended plantings Thursday. Anybody know who gets the credit? (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK TO GET PERUVIAN RESTAURANT

Marita Lynn describes her native country’s cuisine as a melting pot of international influences. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Upscale fish and Chinese; affordable Vietnamese; gluten-free pizza: Red Bank’s ever-expanding menu is about to make room for yet another type of cuisine not seen here recently, if ever.

Caterer Marita Lynn of Aberdeen plans to open a Peruvian restaurant called Runa sometime next month in the Monmouth Street space recently vacated by the Eurasian Eatery.

In the language of Peru’s indigenous Quechuas, Runa means ‘people,’ Lynn tells redbankgreen. But Runa’s menu, like the food of modern Peru, is transnational, she said.

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EURASIAN EATERY CLOSING

Owner Joe Kriete says he’s closing for personal, not economic reasons. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Eurasian Eatery, a mecca for vegetarians and foodies with globe-hopping tastebuds, will close after its final seating on Sunday, owner Joe Kriete tells redbankgreen.

Kriete, who’s owned the 26-year-old restaurant for six years, said he’s in the process of selling the equipment and fixtures to a Peruvian chef from north Jersey, though he’s uncertain if she plans to open a Peruvian restaurant there.

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BASIE TO GET ‘RED CARPET’ STREET CROSSING

Authorities hope the crossing will centralize pedestrian movements to and from the theater on show nights. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s long-awaited plan to extend streetscape touches down a neglected stretch of Monmouth Street includes a mid-block crossing at the County Basie Theatre, officials say.

Depending on the cost, the project might also include a reworking of the landscaping across the street from the theater, on borough hall property, into an outdoor seating area for theater patrons and others, they said.

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SOAPMARKET SLIPPING INTO THE ETHER

Soapmarket owner Ellen D’Amore is closing her store to focus on its online component. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The ever-churning face of Monmouth Street in Red Bank losing another stalwart.

Soapmarket, which survived a head-on challenge from chain retailer Bath Junkie when it opened down the street and closed not long afterward, will itself close next month.

But owner Ellen D’Amore says this is not a surrender story. It’s also “not a rent issue,” she says. Rather, her business has found its footing online, and it’s time to make a shift to a web-only operation.

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MANICURIST BACK WHERE SHE BEGAN

73-monmouthInnovative Nails brings a waterless approach to manicures and pedicures to the space last occupied by Honey Child Music. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

Sixteen years ago, Josephine More got her start in the business of manicures and pedicures in a largely-forgotten nail salon called Kazmira at 73 Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

So it was pure coincidence that, when More started looking for a storefront in which to open her own salon, her husband, Patrick, chanced upon a Craigslist ad for that very same address. Honey Child Music, which occupied the space for years after Kazmira, departed earlier this year.

On Monday, the Mores were busy painting and sprucing up the 800-square-foot storefront, where Josephine plans to soon open her own salon, called Innovative Nails.

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READY FOR THE NEXT TENANT

jack-readieretail churn smallJack Readie scraped his own name off the window of the storefront that was home to his meat shop on Monmouth Street in Red Bank for many years Thursday.

The business, which was born as the Village Pork Store in 1957 and taken over by Readie in the 1980s, has been owned for the last 11 years by Tom Fishkin. Still called Readie’s, it moved to Broad Street in September.

“I’m not even thinking about” the end of an era, Readie told redbankgreen, adding that he has two strong prospects as tenants for the space. (Click to enlarge)

BAREFOOT BRIDE FLEES FAIR HAVEN

barefoot-brideWedding gowns line the spacious windows along Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallMayra Perez didn’t get a barefoot-in-the-grass feeling when she bought the Barefoot Bride, then a 40-year-old business, in 2006. None of the neighboring Fair Haven merchants went out of their way to welcome her, she said.

Even after she’d settled into the wedding gown shop, Perez said, she felt isolated. “Fair Haven is just too quiet,” she tells redbankgreen.

By contrast, driving into work every morning through a relatively bustling Red Bank, Perez felt the tug of the familiar. A product of Puerto Rico and the Bronx, where “everybody helped everybody out,” Perez said she sensed her shop was in the wrong place.

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AFTER 54 YEARS, READIE’S READIES MOVE

fishkinTom Fishkin outside the Broad Street storefront into which he plans to move Readie’s Fine Foods next month. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508

Here’s a movin’-on-up story we don’t see many examples of here in Red Bank’s ever-churning downtown.

At an age most retail establishments would kill to attain, Monmouth Street mainstay Readie’s Fine Foods, with roots that go back 54 years, is heading uptown.

Not that the diplomatic owner, Tom Fishkin, who doubles as chairman of Red Bank RiverCenter, would put it that way.

“People have always said Broad Street is better” because of its wider sidewalks and cachet, Fishkin tells redbankgreen. “But if you’re a destination store, it doesn’t matter which street you’re on.”

Except that is, when you’re a destination deli, with no place for customers to eat the sandwiches you make.

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ROCK SCHOOL DOES A RED BANK ENCORE

school-of-rockWorkers took down the Summit Music signs and  prepped the Monmouth Street building for School of Rock signage last month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

After a brief pause, 52 Monmouth Street is plugged back in. rcsm2_0105081

From mom-and-pop op to corporate giant, the space is once again open to young shredders, ivory ticklers and timekeepers in the Red Bank area.

School of Rock, the national titan of the music lesson and performance industry, reopened its doors on a once-thriving block of music education late last month.

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STOKABOKA, ADAMS IMPORTS GOING UNDER

stokaboka-072811Stokaboka Surf and Skate will likely close its doors for good by the end of the weekend, says owner Mike Boylan. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rcsm2_010508An outgoing economic wave is claiming two stores on Monmouth Street in Red Bank: Board and beach outfitter Stokaboka Surf and Skate and Polish stoneware boutique Adams Imports.

Stokaboka, a destination for rail-riders and beach bums, cleared out a majority of its merchandise in this past weekend’s sidewalk sale, and will likely lock the doors by the end of this weekend, owner Mike Boylan tells redbankgreen.

“It’s more of an economy and internet thing,” said Boylan, who operated the store for six years with his wife, Kathleen. “There’s just a lot on the internet I just can’t compete with.”

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IT’S ALL A MATTER OF TASTE IN CUPCAKE CITY

Photos by Stacie Fanelli. To enlarge the slideshow, click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Late in 2009 and into 2010, a sign in a window on West Front Street indicated a new specialty shop, Cake Red Bank, would be moving in soon, teasing the palates of passersby.

It never came.

But then, amid a series of pounding snowstorms that buried the area, a couple from Manhattan brought baked batter to the table in a nook on East Front called Sugarush, offering an array of cupcakes and confectionaries. It appeared  that Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka had firmly staked their frosting knives in the ground.

Little did they know that two prospective cupcake merchants were greasing mini foils in preparation for their own cupcake outlets within blocks of Sugarush. Within a matter months, Red Bank, a town of 1.7 square miles, has become home to three cupcake shops — the Pasekas’ Sugarush, Cupcake Magician and Mr. Cupcakes — setting the stage for a turf war.

But several months in, the rivalry has shaped up as plain vanilla, with owners playing nice and customers, apparently welcome to options, having largely formed their own opinions and allegiances, showing that even in a small market, it’s possible to find a niche within a niche.

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WATER MAIN FIX SLATED FOR SEPTEMBER

sbury-hydrantWork on an old water main below Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to begin after Labor Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

An overdue upgrade to boost water pressure to homes and businesses along Shrewsbury Avenue is expected to start in September, says Red Bank Engineer Christine Ballard.

On Wednesday, the borough council awarded a $524,206 contract to a Long Branch company to replace the outdated four-inch water main beneath the bustling corridor with an eight-inch line.

“We’ll start work probably after Labor Day,” Ballard said.

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MEXICAN MARKET PLANNED ON SHREWSBURY

197-shrewsbury-ave

Juan Torres is looking to move his Juanito’s brand to Shrewsbury Avenue, formerly the home of Red Bank Furniture Emporium. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI rcsm2_010508

There’s an appetizing item on the Red Bank Zoning Board‘s plate tomorrow night: Mexican.

The mini-empire of authentically Mexican eateries and retail food outlets, Juanito’s, is looking to spread into a space at a recently shuttered Shrewsbury Avenue furniture store.

Juan Torres, who owns Juanito’s Restaurant, Juanito’s Grocery and El Guero Grocery, is seeking the board’s approval for a short list of variances to open up Juanito’s Market at 197 Shrewsbury Avenue.

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ROOM FOR PINTS, PASTA, JAVA AND SUSHI

dubThe Dublin House is adding a second-story room to its Monmouth Street location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Dublin House on Monmouth Street is making a little more elbow room for its customers. rcsm2_0105081

Red Bank’s authentically Irish pub grub spot won approval earlier this week to knock down a wall next to the upstairs bar and extend the area with additional seating and a stairway to the northeast end of the Victorian structure, Dub co-owner Euegne Devlin said.

“It’s just going to be like a little lounge room,” he said. “It’s basically only for the convenience of my customers.”

The addition of 20 to 25 seats in a 400-square-foot room — to be done in the same style and colors of the public house’s update four years ago — plus a staircase leading directly to it, will eliminate the slightly awkward walk through the upstairs dining area to get to the second-floor bar, Devlin said.

“People were complaining about going through the dining room,” he said. “When you come upstairs, (now you can) walk right into the bar.”

More business news from Red Bank after the jump.

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CLEMONS RECALLED AS A TRUE ‘BIG MAN’

clarenceClarence Clemons, right, backs up Stormin’ Norman Seldin, behind the piano, at the Lock, Stock and Barrel in Fair Haven sometime in the late ’70s. (Photo courtesy of Norman Seldin; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He’d already soared into the music industry stratosphere alongside Bruce Springsteen when Clarence Clemons bumped into an old friend, the guy who helped get him his start in the Jersey Shore music scene, and asked if he could sit in, like old times, playing the saxophone.

The late-1970s encounter took place in Sea Bright, where Clemons had a home and was known for towing local kids around with fishing poles for some post-tour R&R.

And earlier this year, to celebrate his 69th birthday, Clemons bought a plane ticket for a longtime friend and former bandmate to fly down to Florida to sing at the party.

Clemons, who passed away Saturday from complications of a stroke, invested as much of himself in his friends and community as he did in his music, friends told redbankgreen in interviews this week, following the Big Man’s death.

Flags will be flown at half-staff throughout New Jersey in Clemons’ honor Thursday. A funeral service was held Tuesday in Palm Beach, Florida.

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THE COUNT NEEDS A CUT

basie-bust21Attention jazz and history lovers who hate weeds: volunteers are wanted to help clean up the area of the Red Bank train station that’s home to a bust of borough native William ‘Count’ Basie. Councilman Ed Zipprich said the bust, dedicated less than two years ago, has become overgrown with weeds and brush, and plans a cleanup of the area in the near future. For info, call borough hall at 732.530.2740. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

CODA FOR TWO MUSIC SHOPS ON MONMOUTH

summitSummit Music has cleared out, and across the street, Honey Child Music has shut its doors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Within days of each other, two Red Bank music education shops shut their doors last week, dealing a double blow to Monmouth Street’s reputation as a place where kids learned the basic chords that might someday land them on the stage of the nearby Count Basie Theatre. rcsm2_010508

Summit Music, which in recent months shifted from instrument sales and drum repairs to kid-focused instruction by joining forces with the national School of Rock chain and Little Rockers, quietly cleared out of its space, at 52 Monmouth Street, just before Memorial Day.

Maureen Tieri, who’s owned Summit the last three years, could not be reached for comment.

Diagonally across the street from Summit, longtime children’s music shop Honey Child Music went dark after losing the lease on the space at 73 Monmouth.

The departures leave Monmouth Music, at 30 Monmouth Street, as the sole instrument and instruction shop on a street that boasted three.

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