IN RED BANK, A CULINARY LULLABYE OF B’WAY

Clockwise from top left: Young Broadway veterans Katie Boren, Miguel Cervantes, Jeff Kready and Kenita R. Miller offer up a four-course cabaret performance when Red Bank Flavour serves up some BROADWAY IN RED BANK at Two River Theater on April 16

Last we heard from Red Bank Flavour, the promotional partnership was busily pounding the pavement to drum up interest in a Dine Downtown campaign for March. As April rounds the halfway point, however, the flavour of the month is not so much Broad Street as it is the bright lights and sensory stimulus of Broadway.

On the evening of Monday, April 16 — at a point in the drab foothills of the working week, when theaters are generally dark and restaurants largely devoid of lines — all eyes will be on Two River Theater, as more than a dozen of the borough’s favorite restaurateurs, caterers and vendors join forces for a night of tastes and talent that puts the show back in a showcase called Broadway in Red Bank.

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NEARLY NAKED FOR A GOOD CAUSE

The cause was cancer prevention, and the nearly naked male and female models were there for educational purposes – swear!

Go Naked and Check Yourself, a soiree thrown together by Red Bank’s Sugarush cupcakes and Sweetest Sin lingerie, drew some 250 partiers to Teak Restaurant on Sunday, all there to learn how to check themselves for detectable cancers of the skin, testicles and breasts.

Miss New Jersey 2012, Michelle Leonardo of Tinton Falls, added some tiara power. redbankgreen was there, too, naturally, to capture the flavor and flashes of flesh. Hey, it’s our duty.

WIN A BON JOVI GUITAR. GO NAKED. OR BOTH

Done3In an effort to raise awareness about detectable cancers, two Red Bank shops are organizing an evening of champagne, sweets and beautiful, bare skin.

Another organization is auctioning off a guitar donated by pop star Jon Bon Jovi to help feed and clothe those in need.

Well, one of those got your attention, right?

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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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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.

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RED BANK’S LATEST RUSH: CUPCAKES

sugarush guys 2011Jesse Bello-Paseka, left, and Chris Paseka opened the doors to Sugarush just after Christmas on East Front Street. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rcsm2_010508For years, it was a joke among friends that Jesse Bello-Paseka and his partner, Chris Paseka, should take their hobby out of their Manhattan kitchen and to the public.

The couple, who, until recently did marketing and design work on Broadway, were known for their planning, decorating and baking prowess for private events and parties. But they grew tired of the daily grind in the city, and decided to make a change in lifestyle shortly after they were married this summer.

“A few years ago, we joked that we’d quit our lives, quit the rat race and go to a small town and live our lives kind of stress-free,” Paseka said. “After the wedding, we were like, why don’t we entertain it?”

It’s not quite the stress-free life they imagined — not yet, at least — but the pair is perfectly happy with their reincarnation as a baking and business duo and owners of Sugarush, a new specialty cupcake shop and bakery in Red Bank.

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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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