WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SURF TACO’S SALSA ROCKS

052715surftacosTwo beef tacos and a Hawaiian salad hit the spot at Surf Taco on Broad Street in Red Bank. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumFast food joints came and went quickly for years in Red Bank, but none of them seemed to connect until four years ago, when the Point Pleasant-based chain Surf Taco opened on Broad Street, offering “coastal style” fast-food.

A regular customer in the early years, PieHole hadn’t stopped into the Baja style eatery in quite a while. Why? Lots of other restaurants opened in town, and this former fave was somewhat forgotten. But, needing a quick lunch, we decided to pay the simple, brickwalled tacqueria  a visit.

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THANKSGIVING: TWO PLACES TO EAT FOR FREE

lunch-breakVolunteers will once again serve a traditional spread at Lunch Break, above, while Surf Taco is offering food from its menu of Mexican dishes. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

110914 surf tacoAt least two Red Bank institutions are going out of their way to make Thanksgiving inclusive for all, even those who can’t pay.

Details are below…

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RED BANK RENEWS PUSH FOR LATE CLOSINGS

rb-late-nightBars and restaurants are doing their job keeping doors open late, some say, but more merchants must stay open to attract more visitors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As Red Bank continues to claw its way out of an economic hole it hasn’t seen since the we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-it Dead Bank days, Mayor Pasquale Menna tends to periodically jab downtown’s retailers with a reminder that it’s going to take work to bring Red Bank back as a top destination in the region and beyond.

Lately, though, he’s taken a firmer approach.

At a council meeting last month, when two requests for car shows on Broad Street appeared on the agenda, he paused from the typical rubber-stamping of such requests.

“This is a chance to tickle, pinch, smack our retailers to stay open on Sunday,” Menna said, and then pointed to Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams, who was seated in the audience. “Get the word out. Tell them to stay open on Sunday. I might start smacking instead of pinching.”

It was another lash at a limp horse he’s been flogging since before Red Bank’s business dipped with the national economy. For years, Menna has been urging merchants to move away from the nine-to-five mindset and keep the lights on after dark and on Sunday, when too many stores, he says, are closed.

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FROM GARAGE, POP’S PLANS TO HIT THE ROAD

pops-extProduce from the vegetable garden outside Pop’s Garage in the Grove West will be used in dishes. (Click to enlarge)

food

Pop’s Garage, a popular Mexican restaurant on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, opens its third outlet today in the Grove West shopping center in Shrewsbury.

The taqueria is the seventh in a cluster of varied restaurants owned and run by Marilyn Schlossbach, the brains behind Langosta Lounge, another Mexican place on the boardwalk; Trinity and the Pope, offering Cajun dishes in downtown Asbury; the Dauphin Grille, a seafood spot in that city’s Berkeley hotel, and the casual-themer Labrador Lounge, in Normandy Beach, where the third Pop’s Garage is also located.

But this one represents a breakout for Schlossbach, and not solely because it’s located in a highway shopping center. Along with her partner-brother Rich and husband Scott, Schlossbach created the Shrewsbury Pop’s as a prototype for what they hope will grow to into a national franchise.

redbankgreen caught up with 46-year-old Schlossbach – who is also running for state Assembly as a Democrat in the new 11th District – at a pre-opening party in Shrewsbury last Friday for the scoop on her empire-building plan.

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TACO TIME IN RED BANK

surf-taco-openCynda Raffensperger, forefront, and Emilie Hansen, take in the view of Broad Street while catching lunch at Surf Taco, which opened Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With no advertising, and not even a storefront sign, Surf Taco opened for business in downtown Red Bank Thursday, and the place was immediately humming.

“It’s been a good turnout, and it’s all kind of word-of-mouth,” chain owner and founder Rob Nagel said.

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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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SURF TACO SURFING INTO RED BANK

rivers-edge-cafeRiver’s Edge Cafe is moving out, and Surf Taco is moving in to 35 Broad Street. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rcsm2_010508Jack Anderson has a saying: “Nothing is a done deal until five minutes after the ink dries.”

The ink dried at 35 Broad Street, at around 4p Monday, so the deal is done. Surf Taco is coming to Red Bank.

“They are officially the tenants,” Anderson, the building’s landlord and owner of Jack’s Music Shoppe, told redbankgreen.

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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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