Toast Red Bank a shrine to late father’s diner

Toast Red Bank a shrine to late father’s diner

By Devin Loring on December 11, 2015

RED BANK – Nine years ago, Amy Russo Harrigan had no intention of opening a restaurant. Now she has three.

Russo Harrigan owns Toast – you may have heard of it. Her breakfast joints are located in three of New Jersey’s most walkable downtowns: Montclair (opened in 2007), Asbury Park (2011) and now, Red Bank.

Her latest acquisition, located in the former Broadway Diner at 45 Monmouth St, didn’t come without its fair share of community resistance and heartbreak.

Russo-Harrigan’s father was a partner in the diner, and after his passing in 2014 and the subsequent closing of the diner in August 2014, saying that the community was upset was an “understatement,” Russo Harrigan said.

“I think more than anything, (the Broadway Diner) had been in a place for 18 years and, you know, it was the town’s diner,” she said.

Red Bank’s Broadway Diner closes after 18 years

Honoring the community

“This buildout, as painful as it was and as emotional as it was for the community as well as myself and my family … I really wanted to honor the town I was coming into, and give them an amazing spot to be the hub, the coffee shop, the everything again,” Russo Harrigan said.

The diner has been through multiple incarnations over the years, but Russo Harrigan’s father and a partner operated the 24-hour Broadway Diner there since 1996.

After Russo Harrigan’s father passed away in 2014, she took over the eatery with the expectation that renovations would take eight weeks…

Photo by Tanya Breen.