CHURN: ON TIME FOR RED, BUT LATE FOR BLU

la orquidea 021315La Orquidea opened for business Thursday, just in time for the Valentine’s Day rush. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn notes the passing of a torch on Red Bank’s West Side.

The longtime former home of Johnny’s Jazz Market, vacant since the death of butcher Ralph “Johnny Jazz” Gatta four years ago, finally has a new tenant. And the proprietor of the new Shrewsbury Avenue shop, called La Orquidea, is someone who may be familiar to patrons of another former Red Bank favorite, the River’s Edge Café.

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SURF’S UP: TACO CHAIN TO OPEN NEXT MONTH

surf-taco-hiringSurf Taco held open interviews for its Red Bank location Saturday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rivers-edge-cafeRob Nagel had Red Bank on his wish list for seven years, but few opportunities to expand his wildly successful Surf Taco chain to this end of the Jersey Shore arose.

“It’s always been a goal to get up here,” Nagel told redbankgreen. “It’s high-energy, an urban feel. There’s always something going on in Red Bank, and I think it’d be a great fit for us.”

Nagel’s chance to get into town came when Bob Guido, owner of River’s Edge Cafe, packed it up and moved out to Ocean.

“Once I walked into here, I felt the vibe,” Nagel said. “We knew we had the right location.”

A month after signing a lease for the 3,000-square-foot space at 35 Broad Street, Nagel is shooting for a March 1 opening, and appears to be on track.

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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:

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RIVER’S EDGE SEEKS RETURN TO COZINESS

bob-guidoRiver’s Edge Café owner Bob Guido says he’s been trying to sell the lease to his Broad Street location for about a year so he can move into a smaller space. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For more than a decade, Bob Guido had himself a cozy little business serving breakfast and lunch on Red Bank’s West Front Street, often with lines forming out the door.

But after 13 years running the River’s Edge Café in the spot now occupied by Muscle Maker Grille, it became clear to Guido that he needed more space than the 50-seater afforded him. One option was to buy the Elks Lodge next door, but that didn’t work out, which led him to where he is now, at the spacious, high-profile restaurant at 35 Broad Street.

“In 2003, everything was humming,” he said. “We used to have a line at the old place. I saw Broad Street as an answer to expansion.”

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