MEMORIAL DAY ROUNDUP

american-flagsA home on Bingham Avenue in Rumson displays a row of miniature American flags in recognition of Memorial Day, which is Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Memorial Day is this Monday, signifying not just a long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season, but most importantly a holiday to pay tribute to the American soldiers who’ve died in service to the country.

Here’s a roundup of Decoration Day events around the redbankgreen.

Read More »

RIVERCENTER PLANS DOWNTOWN KIOSKS

rivercenter-sandwichRiverCenter’s first kiosk is slated for installation in English Plaza to let visitors know its new location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Not that it was so easy to find when it was sequestered in a second-story space above Broad Street, but with Red Bank RiverCenter‘s move three months ago, the agency compromised what little visibility it had, taking up residence in an all-but-hidden office in English Plaza.

And if you’re a tourist looking for the Red Bank Visitors Center, which shares space with RiverCenter, well, good luck trying to find it.

But the move presented a fresh reason for RiverCenter, which promotes the downtown and portions of the West Side businesses, to put into action an idea executive director Nancy Adams has harbored since she stepped into her role more than three years ago, she said.

On Wednesday night, Adams presented the borough council with a plan to install information kiosks in English Plaza to alert visitors to the new RiverCenter and the Visitors Center digs.

It would be the first of a handful of kiosks downtown to offer maps and pertinent borough info to people coming into town, Adams said.

Read More »

CHOPSTICKS, WATER PIPES, SCISSORS & MORE

phole-2Vietnamese eatery Pho Le opened on Broad Street last week. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rcsm2_010508Middle Broad Street in Red Bank appears to be pulling itself from a retail malaise. It wasn’t all that long ago that for every business in the area, one or two storefronts were empty.

More recently, though, there’s been an infusion of new businesses — and diversity — on the blocks between Monmouth Street and Harding Road, with the addition of two new pizzerias, a gourmet Chinese sit-down, a beauty boutique and two upscale consignment shops.

The latest to join the mix is one-of-a-kind. At 90 Broad, Vietnamese restaurant Pho Le set out the chopsticks and noodle bowls late last month.

More info on the recent churning below.

Read More »

CUPCAKE CRUSH IN RED BANK

mrMr. Cupcakes is one of two new cupcake purveyors in Red Bank, making three in total. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The batter’s going to start flying in Red Bank.

Just months after Chris Paseka and Jesse Bello-Paseka opened cupcake-centric Sugarush on Front Street, two new niche bakeries plan to open in town, waging, if nothing else, a serious cupcake competition in town.

Read More »

RUBBER STAMP NO. 3: SUSHI SPREAD

irving-chenBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fans of Red Bank’s only spot for brown rice sushi are about to get some elbow room.

Sogo Sushi, a takeout restaurant with just two tiny tables in its Monmouth Street space, is planning to bust through an interior wall to make room for seating and an expansion to the menu.

On Monday night, owner Irving Chen (right) won borough planning board approval for the plan.

Read More »

ON THE GO: CIGARS, SUBS, WINE & PLUSHIES

carminesJust a year after opening, Carmine’s Sub Shop has changed owners. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Another Red Bank business bites the dust — or in this case, has been stubbed out — over rent in Red Bank. rcsm2_010508

Cigars Plus, one of the last, if not the last, places to enjoy a smoke indoors in Red Bank, is heading out of town.

Owner Frank Toscano tells redbankgreen his landlord, John Bowers, of Philip Bowers Realty, didn’t want the space filled with smoke anymore and was squeezing him on rent. Toscano will maintain his original Cigars Plus shop in Brick.

“We lost our lease,” he said. “The landlord is kicking us out. He didn’t want smoking in the shop, so I have to leave.”

More details on what’s churning in Red Bank’s downtown after the ‘Read More.’

Read More »

BON JOVI FINDS NEW KITCHEN SPACE IN RB

soul-kitchenPlans for Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen will keep the bay doors for now. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Bon Jovi’s Soul Kitchen has found itself a new home in Red Bank. It just needs a thumbs-up from the borough to fire up the grill.

The mega-star and super-philanthropic Middletown resident’s non-profit, the JBJ Soul Foundation, has filed plans with the borough’s planning and zoning office to move into a former auto repair shop on Monmouth Street, just west of the train tracks.

Read More »

BAIT SHOP SEEKS TO REEL IN APPROVAL

111-efrontThe former Harper’s Copy Center on East Front Street would become a bait and tackle shop if Red Bank zoners approve. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Looking to sink a hook into a property on the East Side of Red Bank, a Fair Haven man will go before the zoning board Thursday seeking approval to open a bait and tackle shop.

The application, for a “certficate of continuation of non-conforming use” in a zone that prohibits retailing, was submitted earlier this week by Max Berry, of Fair Haven.

Berry, who could not be reached for comment, intends to open Pride Bait and Tackle at the former site of Harper’s Copy Center, which relocated its services to Rumson earlier this year.

Read More »

A ROOF LEAKS, AND BITTERNESS FLOWS

bakhet-011911Youssef Bahket with pails of water collected beneath a hole in the ceiling at Brownstone Cleaners. (Click to enlarge)

brownstone-011911

A roof leak at a Red Bank laundry shop early Tuesday ruined customer garments and may have caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment damage, the owners say.

It also unleashed a torrent of accusations between the owners and their landlord.

According to borough fire department officials who investigated the incident Tuesday morning, the leak was one of many caused by a combination of heavy rain and ice-blocked downspouts, some of which have tripped alarms.

But Youssef Bahket of Brownstone Cleaners claims that today’s leak is just the latest in a series of leaks dating back years that the building’s landlord has refused to fix. He said he went to the police station out of desperation, prompting a visit by safety inspectors and the fire department— also the latest in a series.

In reply, landlord Linda DeAngelis, who lives above the business, says Bahket is “an arrogant, conniving liar” who “lied” to officials by claiming the roof had collapsed in two places when it is merely leaking, a problem she says she’s racing to fix.

Read More »

DOWNTOWN, THE YEAR CHURNS TO AN END

rb-dinerVacant since May, the former East Side Cafe is getting set to reopen as the Red Bank Diner. (Click to enlarge)

rcsm2_010508By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The last time redbankgreen published a rundown of Red Bank’s downtown economy, it was a rather dour picture sprinkled with a sense of optimism.

While clusters of storefronts worked better as mirrors than as shopping destinations, RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams was bullish on the borough’s economy, saying the large number of vacancies in town could be parlayed into new, exciting ventures for businesses to infuse new blood into the heart of Red Bank.

Seems Adams had a bead on the future.

Nearly a dozen new businesses have either moved in or are set to open their doors in the next couple of months, Adams said.

“There’s stuff going on. It’s kind of nice,” she said.

Here’s what’s churning in Red Bank:

Read More »

RED GINGER FINDS A NEW HOME

red-gingerRed Ginger Home is relocating from Monmouth Street to Broad Street at the end of the month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508Five years ago, starting a new business on Broad Street wasn’t the most feasible plan for Rob Amend and Michael Yavorski, on account of the higher rents. So they went to the freshly-completed Noglows Building at 65 Monmouth Street, where they have built a broad client base and even won a few accolades along the way.

It recently came time for Amend and Yavorski to revisit the Broad Street idea. With a little help from stores moving out, an opportunity presented itself for the two to move their furniture and interior design business, Red Ginger Home, down the street.

“The rents are still not great on Broad, but five years ago we were a new business and now we’re established,” Amend said. “Now we feel comfortable expanding.”

Read More »

A PASSION FOR FASHION & KEEPING IT LOCAL

A crowd that spilled over onto the Monmouth Street sidewalk packed the courtyard of the Dublin House Pub Wednesday night for the second alfresco fashion show held there in three months.

Like the last one, held in April, this one was organized by Rosa Davis of Bella Mystique on Broad Street. It also again featured amateur models from in and around Red Bank, and was supported by local hairdressers, modeling advisors and makeup artists. A series of raffles raised money for Lunch Break, the soup kitchen on the West Side.

But even with the parochial slant, the event had the frisson and throb of its more urbane counterparts. redbankgreen photog Peter Lindner was there with his gear to capture it all in pixels.

To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To get back to redbankgreen, hit your escape key.

BUSTIN’ IT AT THE DUB, TAKE TWO

sinead-dunneSinead Dunne models a swimsuit that will be featured in the show. Below, Ruthie Chaparra in a kimono-style dress. (Click to enlarge)

ruthie-chaparra

Somehow, little old Red Bank survived its first century-plus of existence without an outdoor fashion show featuring skimpily clad amateur models.

Rosa Davis of Bella Mystique filled that cultural void with panache on a chilly night back in April. That’s when several dozen customers of her Broad Street boutique strutted a red carpet laid down outside the Dublin House on Monmouth Street.

The place was packed, the music was throbbing, and there was enough jiggle in the courtyard to boost the ambient temperature by a couple of degrees.

So why wait another century to do it again? Even if the temperatures are now tropical quality.

Read More »

BATH JUNKIE GETS UNEXPECTED CLEANING

bath-junkieBath Junkie executives made an unplanned trip to Red Bank Monday to restock their Monmouth Street store after an employee allegedly cleaned it out of all merchandise. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Passersby and boudoir-supply shoppers may have noticed something was a little off at Bath Junkie on Monmouth Street in recent weeks.

The store was empty.

But despite the resemblance to the dead-of-night departures sometimes seen in downtown Red Bank, there’s good news: the store is sticking around.

The bad news for the company that owns the shop: it was cleaned out of all its merchandise, shelves and displays, says company CEO Judy Zimmer.

Read More »

FROZEN SUBSTANCE DOESN’T NEED SHOVELING

frozsurtCo-owner Daniel Natale outside his Frozsürt store, which opened on Monmouth Street yesterday. (Click to enlarge)

Rcsm2_010508

Just in time for the sudden onset of springlike weather and the end, we hope, of the mini ice-age winter we’ve experienced, a long-crystallizing frozen dessert business has opened in Red Bank.

The debut yesterday of Frozsürt marks the first time in more than half a century that no newspapers are being sold at 2 Monmouth Street, the longtime home of Red Bank News.

Read More »

WARM & SUNNY, WITH MORE TO COME

rachel-grayA multitasking Rachel Gray of Red Bank checks her phone messages and surfs the web while enjoying a dose of beautiful springlike weather on Monmouth Street earlier today. The weatherbot forecasts more of the same for the next few days. (Click to enlarge)

NEW LIGHTS CAUSING HEAVY PROBLEMS

Rt35 fixNorthbound Maple Avenue traffic backed up during work at the West Street/White Street intersection last May. The completion of the job hasn’t alleviated the problem.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Those shiny new traffic lights on the north end of Maple Avenue seem to be having and unintended effect: rather than ease the flow of traffic, the lights are actually impeding it, according to resident Carl Colmorgen, or anybody who gets stuck in the daily a.m. logjam on nearby Monmouth Street.

Colmorgen brought up the issue at Monday night’s bimonthly Red Bank council meeting, saying that a study, or enforcement, or something needs to be done to get the issue fixed.

Read More »