WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HEALTHY, EARTHY PIZZA

031516earthpizza2The vegan, one of the many selections on the menu at Earth Pizza, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

031615earthpizza1When Paul and Lisa Finkler opened a Pizza Fusion franchise in Red Bank in 2010, they may not have foreseen the niche their restaurant would fill. But the Broad Street restaurant was an immediate draw, and soon customers were asking for more gluten-free and vegan dishes.

Three years ago, tired of the parent company’s rules on menu changes, the Finklers bought out their contract, redubbed the restaurant Earth Pizza and did as asked.
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RED BANK: GLUTEN-FREE EATERY GETS EARTHY

Paul Finkler is severing his ties with Pizza Fusion and rebranding his Broad Street restaurant Earth Pizza. (Click to enlarge)

By ROBERT KERN

You might call it a pizza “de-fusing.”

Just three years after opening a Pizza Fusion franchise in Red Bank, owner Paul Finkler is cutting the chains and rebranding his newly independent Broad Street restaurant as Earth Pizza.

Dissolving ties to a franchisor may seem daring, but Finkler looked at the restrictions imposed by the chain versus his desire to meet the needs of his customers, and said he knew what he had to do.

“Pizza Fusion is a franchise like McDonald’s is a franchise, and they don’t like people tinkering with the menu,” Finkler tells redbankgreen. “I wanted to give my customers what they were asking for, like more gluten-free and more vegan options. Being in a franchise, my hands were tied.”

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EMPTY WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY?

65-broadA year after taking over space from the short-lived Nevada Exchange store — which itself followed the short-tenured Maison Blanche — D’Angelico Guitars has left Red Bank. (Photo bu Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With all the empty storefronts and ‘for sale or lease’ signs downtown, it might be hard to see a silver lining for Red Bank’s economy.rcsm2_010508

Scattered along on Broad and Front streets, windows show reflections and hollowed-out stores, not merchandise.

Or they’re plastered with contact information, like one downtown cornerstone, Ashes Cigar Club, which was abruptly shut down during the height of the summer bustle.

But there’s still hope for Red Bank, says Nancy Adams, executive director of RiverCenter, and things aren’t all that bad when you look at the larger economic picture.

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A NEW PIZZERIA, AND A RAVE FOR VIA 45

pizza-fusionPizza Fusion boasts 68 seats, and plans to offer delivery in about three weeks. (Click to enlarge)

We’ve got some Red Bank eatery news this rainy Monday, with a long-awaited organic-ingredients pizzeria opening today and a second Broad Street restaurant getting a laudatory review from New Jersey’s largest newspaper.

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