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West side bonds run deep amid outbreak

Red Bank’s downtown has always thrived, through just about all and any adversities — it’s resilient in its own special way. However, it’s rather difficult to say that the same prospect applies to Red Bank’s west side. There’s just a delicate balance that can easily be shattered if something big stirs up the pot. And as we all know and are currently experiencing, our lives have been profoundly changed by the events that have recently transpired.

It’s hard to say what the future holds for the west side of Red Bank, but if there’s one thing we can say, it’s that the bonds run deep over there. We recently spoke with Joe Durso, owner of KITCH Organic over on the west side of Red Bank on 75 Leighton Avenue, who explained how they’re adapting to the ongoing changes that’s affecting us all.

KITCH Organic is finding ways to help out our community.

“When the closures started, it was scary. Obviously, we never been through this before, but I feel our communities, like if anyone has to be creative, it’s the restaurant community,” said Durso upon hearing the news about the mandated closures and local state of emergency due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. He points out how the restaurant community was proactive and quick to the news, adopting new policy changes to help out the community. “And I fell like they took a couple of days off, or whatever they needed to do to regroup, and came out swinging. Once this is over, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity.”

Businesses over on the west side are scattered, so one may be led to believe that there isn’t as strong of a bond among the businesses, but that’s hardly the case. In fact, it’s times like this that the strong bonds between the business and community show themselves.

“In times like this, I feel like it’s time to really show your town pride and show where you are and I feel like the west side has shown that. It’s cool a lot of people are starting to shed light on that. And I feel like in the next coming weeks, it’s really important to support your community and support your local restaurants and local businesses. And hopefully we can get through this together.”

Organizers from the Indie Street Film Festival collaborated with the community to help paint the beautiful mural at KITCH Organic back in 2017.

What really amazed Durso was the quick response of the west side, pointing out how Lunch Break and JBJ Soul Kitchen responded by not skipping a beat with their respective operations. He even was actively seeking out to help those in our community as well, by offering some sort of delivery service to those in need. While the near term outlook is uncertain, it’s important to know that continued support from residents will go a long way to rebuilding. Durso mentions what people can do to help out.

You don’t have to eat out every night, I think everyone should still cook and everyone should be with their family, but I feel like you have to almost pick the place you’re going to support. It’s very easy to support a restaurant right now who’s open. Just order food and eat it, it’s not really rocket science how you’re going to support, but you cant just stop now. Just promote on social media, every order matters right now a lot.

-Joe Durso, KITCH Organic

KITCH Organic’s location presents its own challenges because it doesn’t have the same luxury of constant foot traffic from a busy downtown area, but considering how the bonds run deep between them and the community, they’re more committed to do what they can right now to help the community. They’re in constant contact with other west side businesses on how they can support one another through this time, so we can all get through this together.

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