RED BANK: A PAWS FOR A BUSY PET PHOTOG

Kim LevinLittle Silver-based pet photographer and author Kim Levin visits Red Bank’s Galleria Sunday for a book signing session to benefit the Save US Pets Foundation.

Animal lovers and book lovers from all around the greater Red Bank Green know Kim Levin as the Little Silver-based picture-book creator (and self-described “phoDOGrapher”) whose many book bylines include Cattitude and Why We Love Dogs. Her images have appeared worldwide on everything from calendars to cocktail napkins; in People magazine and Modern Dog; and on her own line of Molly & Fig greeting cards and gift items.

The professional purr/pooch portraitist — who in 2014 documented her travels across Iditarod country in a Monmouth County Library exhibit entitled Alaska: Landscapes and Dogs from the Last Frontier — is back on her home turf, doing what she does best, and finding time Sunday afternoon to “paws” in Red Bank for an appearance keyed to one of her pet causes.

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RED BANK: A KID’S DANISH WITH SANTA

danishThe Danish Cafe in the Galleria will have three seatings for breakfast with Santa this Saturday. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Looking to bring the kids out for an alternative to the usual firehouse pancakes with Santa this year?
How about a Danish breakfast with Santa in Red Bank?

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RUMSON WOMAN DONS NEW ROLE: AUTHOR

The author with her first, self-published children’s book, which she’ll sign at an event in Fair Haven on Thursday.  (Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

It all started with mom and dad.

Dorothy Whitehouse, daughter of Elaine Sourlis and the late Ted Sourlis, owners of the Galleria at Red Bank, remembers her mom taking her to fashion shows as a kid and her dad encouraging her to publish one of the stories she would often write. Now, on the tenth anniversary of his passing, she has done just that.

Whitehouse, of Rumson, recently self-published her first book, Monique’s Boutique, a whimsical touch-and-feel children’s book that takes readers on a journey through a chic Madison Avenue style boutique, complete with samples of silk, taffeta, satin and other fabrics. River Road Books in Fair Haven will be hosting a book signing launch on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.

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LADIES HIT THE TOWN FOR GIRLS NIGHT OUT

Flutes of champagne in hand, women assembled at the GLAMbar for the second annual Girls Night Out, touted below in a banner over Broad Street. (Photo above by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

As night fell on a perfectly crisp autumn day, ladies kicked up their heels and headed to downtown Red Bank for RiverCenter’s second, semiannual Girls Night Out Thursday.

As they stopped by theGLAMbar, one of the three check-in points, they were treated to champagne, reusable shopping bags full of gifts and discounts to local businesses, restaurants and bars, along with an entry to win a $100 Red Bank gift card and other prizes.

“We’re always so busy,” said Margaret Mass, director of the Red Bank Visitors Center, alluding to the women gathered nearby. “This is a chance to relax and have some fun.”

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ROOM FOR PINTS, PASTA, JAVA AND SUSHI

dubThe Dublin House is adding a second-story room to its Monmouth Street location. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Dublin House on Monmouth Street is making a little more elbow room for its customers. rcsm2_0105081

Red Bank’s authentically Irish pub grub spot won approval earlier this week to knock down a wall next to the upstairs bar and extend the area with additional seating and a stairway to the northeast end of the Victorian structure, Dub co-owner Euegne Devlin said.

“It’s just going to be like a little lounge room,” he said. “It’s basically only for the convenience of my customers.”

The addition of 20 to 25 seats in a 400-square-foot room — to be done in the same style and colors of the public house’s update four years ago — plus a staircase leading directly to it, will eliminate the slightly awkward walk through the upstairs dining area to get to the second-floor bar, Devlin said.

“People were complaining about going through the dining room,” he said. “When you come upstairs, (now you can) walk right into the bar.”

More business news from Red Bank after the jump.

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CHURNING ITALIAN ON BROAD AND WEST SIDE

racioppisAfter 15 years in Red Bank, Racioppi’s Kitchen locked its doors Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The last two years were tough for Joe Racioppi (no relation to this reporter). The last six to eight months in particular, he said, became impossible to weather. rcsm2_0105081

“It got to the point where I just couldn’t make the payments at home,” said Racioppi, who lives in the Navesink section of Middletown. “So it was at the point where I either found another job or got kicked out of my house.”

He chose the former, and on Sunday, months before the 16th anniversary of Racioppi’s Kitchen, Racioppi turned off the lights and locked the doors of his Italian deli and restaurant for the last time.

“It sucks,” he said. “It’s kind of depressing, but on the other hand, it’s kind of relieving.”

Racioppi’s is just one of a handful of businesses making an exit from Red Bank in recent weeks.

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SUNDAY: MARKET ON YOUR CALENDAR

farmers-market1Red Bank’s popular farmers market makes its traditional Mother’s Day debut Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s time to polish momma’s apple, locavores.

Red Bank’s ever-popular, always-growing open-air emporium, the Red Bank Farmers’ Market, returns to the blacktop of The Galleria on Mother’s Day for its 12th season of dishing out homegrown fruits, vegetables and miscellaneous wares.

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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.

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FARMERS MARKET THE SUNDAY SPOT

farmers-market2Stacey Gentile, of Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, hands out cheese samples to visitors of Red Bank’s farmers market. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Cherry Grove Farm has been at the Red Bank Farmers Market for two weeks, and it’s one of the first such open-air markets the Lawrencville-based farm has decided to take part in. Employee Stacey Gentile says Red Bank was at the top of the list of places for the business to try and branch out.

Schnitzie Snacks, a homemade dog-treat business from Long Branch, doesn’t take part in other farmers markets, just Red Bank.

And for the last six years, the owner of Bohemians Panes, out of Tinton Falls, has made the parking lot at The Galleria her No. 1 spot to sell an array of arts and crafts.

These three businesses could set up shop at markets elsewhere, but they choose not to.

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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.

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TOMMY’S GETS READY TO FIRE UP THE COAL

tommy-logoOwners of Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza say it’s likely the restaurant will be open in a week or two. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It looks like we have a leader in the race to bring coal-fired pizza to Red Bank.

Within a week or two, Tommy’s Coal Fired Pizza owner Tommy Bonfiglio says his family-style restaurant, located in the Galleria where 2Senza held residence for 15 years, will be ready to open its doors before the holidays, as promised.

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