When I opened as Danny’s Italian Restaurant in 1969 there were about 15 restaurants in Red Bank. As I mentally walk through the past, the most popular through the 70’s were: Sal’s, The Lil Krut, Luigi’, The Molly Pitcher, The Union House, The In Between, The Oakland Street School, The Palace Diner, The Brothers, Tang’s and one or two more that I cannot pull from my memory.
Having grown up in an Italian household, food always played a major role both for nutrition and social interactions. If you add that I have been in the restaurant business since I was 11, most of my world has evolved around food and restaurants.
Over the past 49 years both mine and about 60% of the American public’s palate has been dramatically educated. This has placed a demand on food service establishments to put out a good quality product or get out. Hence the high mortality rate for restaurants in general. Even today, the fast food chains are dying and being replaced by newer trendy eating establishments.
Named Chefs dominate our culture today; 50 years ago it was Chef Boyardee. When dining out there are only two types of food, good and mediocre, of course fast food is of no consideration in this article nor is price. It does not matter whether I pay $5 for a hamburger or $35 for an entree. If the food is mediocre, I feel like I tore up the money and threw it out the window. I am sure I am not alone with these feelings.
Dozens, if not more restaurants have come and gone in this area over the past thirty-five years. The good news is that we are in great shape for restaurants in Red Bank today. I am very impressed with the number and the variety of eateries. I dine out for breakfast and dinner seven days a week, meaning here at Danny’s or at one of the 100 something places in town of which 56 are sit down restaurants. In the coming months I would like to write about local places, many of which are in the locations that housed the restaurants of our past.
With more restaurants coming, Red Bank mayor and counsel, Rivercenter and Local merchants have to work together to develop a parking garage, parking program, signage and valet service. We need to be able to let our area residents know there is parking available as well as handle those coming to Red Bank as dining destination. Thirty years later they are still trying to build a parking garage on White Street.
Written By: Daniel Murphy