RED BANK: RESTAURANT SCENE IN CHURN

After months of idleness, gut-job renovations are underway at the Melting Pot in the Galleria on Bridge Avenue. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank restaurant is preparing to reopen after a long hiatus and change in ownership.

Meantime, another eatery has shut its doors after only six months in business, and a bicycle retailer has pedaled off into the online ether.

Details are below in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Read More »

RED BANK: MELTING POT CLOSES

rb galleria 022816 3Under common ownership, the Melting Pot also shared a liquor license with Taste, its next-door neighbor at the Galleria. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Four months after its next-door neighbor, Taste restaurant, closed amid a failure to renew its liquor license, Red Bank’s Melting Pot  restaurant followed suit Monday, announcing its closing on Facebook.

Read More »

RED BANK: TASTE TO REOPEN, SAYS OWNER

taste 072116 1Taste restaurant in Red Bank’s Galleria complex has been closed for the past three weeks for failure to renew its liquor license, according to borough Clerk Pam Borghi. Ken Kruse, who owns Taste, tells redbankgreen the restaurant and bar “had some issues which the accountant and state had to work out” over taxes. He said he plans to reopen the Bridge Avenue eatery next week.

Meanwhile, the adjoining Melting Pot, which Kruse also owns and which is covered by the license, remains open as a BYOB, Kruse said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ‘IDOL’ SINGER WOWS FANS

Constantine Maroulis 021916‘American Idol’ contestant-turned-mentor Constantine Maroulis set a packed house of hearts aflutter when he played a show at Taste in Red Bank Friday night.

Backed by the Rock of Ages band and fresh off an ‘Idol’ appearance the night before, Maroulis performed songs by Queen, Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams and others. NJArts.net has a write-up. (Photo by Art Petrosemolo. Click to enlarge)

A STRAWBERRY KISS FOR YOUR VALENTINE

020916taste3A Strawberry Kiss, by Taste manager/bartender Meagan Davis. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

It’s Valentine’s Day, and you’re out to make an impression on a certain someone. A romantic cocktail is a good start, but first you have to figure out what that moving spirit is.

An experienced bartender and now manager at Taste, in the Galleria Red Bank, Meagan Davis has a few ideas about what might set hearts fluttering.

Read More »

RED BANK: COCKTAILS FOR A CAUSE

TasteCocktailsThe popular lounge at Taste is the setting for a Wednesday evening of food and drink specialties dedicated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monmouth.

Red Bank Cocktail Week may have come and gone, but this Wednesday evening the popular bar at Taste in the Galleria will mix up a special one-night-only promotion, designed to help one of eastern Monmouth’s longest-established youth-oriented nonprofits fund its ongoing slate of recreational and cultural programs for area kids.

Read More »

KABOOM CLOSING IN ON FUNDRAISING GOAL

kaboom-firecrackerFirecracker says the Kaboom Committee is half-way to its $275,000 funding goal. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In a big change from this time a year ago, the KaBoom Committee is brimming with confidence as it readies the giant July 3 fireworks extravaganza in Red Bank.

Despite a still-sagging economy, sponsorships for this year’s three-day celebration have skyrocketed, and fundraising efforts have put the committee back in the black far earlier than last year, chairman Charles Moran has said.

With two days to go until the festival kicks off, the committee is making a final push to bring in more dollars to cover the $275,000 price tag — up from the normal $250,000 because of additional police presence — for the largest fireworks show in New Jersey, and one of the largest in the U.S.

“The committee is confident the fundraising goal will be met,” member Judy Musa said in an email.

Read More »

FOR MARRIAGE NO.2, WEDDING WALK NO. 1

wed-walkPhyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik, who plan to marry in May, took in Saturday’s Wedding Walk through Red Bank. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Though they were tucked at a table in a corner of a ballroom filled with young women teeming with excitement, Phyllis Merola and Dennis Evanchik were the standouts.

At 50 and 60 years old, respectively, they could have been the parents of just about any of the prospective brides sipping coffee and chatting at a soft roar in the Molly Pitcher Inn Saturday. And the story of how the two ended up at the Molly, to plan a May 7 wedding at the Shadowbrook in Shrewsbury, is one ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script.

They were friends for 30 years and had their own families. But within about a year of each other, the two went through divorces and, some time after, Evanchik made a proposition to Merola.

“He said, ‘if you can date a perfect stranger, why not date me?’ ” Merola said.

In November, another proposition: Will you marry me?

And so on Saturday, when 10 o’clock hit, the couple followed the procession out of the riverside hotel and headed for downtown Red Bank for the borough’s third Wedding Walk, ready to spend a full day tying up loose ends for their springtime nuptials — just like many of the 200 others who registered for the event.

Read More »

PUTTING THE SHAKE BACK INTO A CREAKY HIP

intimates1_ir

We’ve said it before: the ‘Hip City/Hippest Town in New Jersey’ designation for Red Bank has got to go. It’s so rusty it creaks. Even the folks at Red Bank RiverCenter steer clear of it in marketing the town, they tell us.

Ah, but hips, well… they can stay. After all, they’ve only just arrived, in a sense, and they’re doing their, um, parts to help give the town some renewed sizzle as a destination for fashion-conscious women.

How recently? redbankgreen readers may recall that it was just over a year ago that Red Bank had its first-ever lingerie fashion show, or the first one in recent memory, at least. Sponsored by lingerie retailer Sweetest Sin Boutique and held at the now-shuttered Ashes Cigar Club, the packed-house event brought a flash of sexy to a downtown that’s better known for family-themed doings.

Read More »

‘COUSIN EDDIES’ DO A CHARITY CRAWL

eddiecon11A cadre of ‘Cousin Eddies’ made their way around Red Bank Saturday night in a successful bid to get loopy and raise some money. (Photos courtesy of Robert Kern. Click to enlarge)

eddiecon32

Eighteen area men took to Red Bank’s bars and restaurants dressed in bathrobes and trapper hats Saturday night.

In a twist on Santacon, a somewhat raunchy gathering of faux Santa Clauses held annually in New York and elsewhere, the men did a pub crawl dressed as their favorite movie character: “Cousin Eddie,” from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Led by Chris Kenny of Shrewsbury and Dave Carr of Rumson, the mostly thirty-something robesmen hit more than a dozen watering holes on both sides of town, eating, indulging in cold beverages and shaking a pail all along the way to raise money for the Monmouth Day Care Center.

Read More »

A TASTE OF INNOVATION AT THE GALLERIA

tasteJanine Hillyer, left, and Ken Kruse, owners of The Melting Pot, are ready to titillate your taste buds with their new restaurant just next door, Taste. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For years, Janine Hillyer would look over from her view at the Melting Pot, which she co-owns, and see a prime space she envisioned making her own.

She watched it change occupants a couple times — most recently, a restaurant, Savanna, and before that, a coffee shop called House of Coffee. Once Savanna moved out about a year ago, Hillyer and her business partner, Ken Kruse, pounced on the opportunity to make that space their own.

“We would constantly, longingly look over at this place and want to be here,” Hillyer said.

Read More »