Among the multitude of things Red Bank does well, the theater and culinary arts here likely rank somewhere in the range of one or two, depending on who you ask.
On Monday, the two came together as the Two River Theater hosted Broadway in Red Bank, a food and theater showcase featuring more than a dozen local restaurants and musical talent imported straight from Broadway.
The event, developed for Flavour, Red Bank's downtown restaurant marketing effort, was conceived and organized by Chris Paseka, co-owner of Sugarush. Using his connections, Paseka, who worked in New York City's commercial theater industry for more than a decade, was able to entice top talent to participate in what many see as a natural pairing.
For 90 minutes an estimated crowd of more than 300 sampled food items ranging from edamame dumplings with a Thai coconut curry sauce to lobster rolls before being ushered into the main theater space for a revue of popular past and present Broadway tunes.
George Lyristis, owner of Teak and the Bistro and founder of Flavour, hustled behind a couple of warming trays and a dumpling steamer as seemingly endless torrent of excited eaters lined up with their small plates and large appetites.
Though the marketing campaign is his baby, the intention was always to develop partnerships and seek out interesting opportunities to promote Red Bank's restaurants.
Food and theater only makes sense, he said.
"It goes hand in hand," he said. "When you go to the city to see a show, what do you do before or after? You go to dinner."
After striking out on its own, Flavour has made it a point to work together. Flavour and Red Bank RiverCenter are now working in tandem, and there's hope that Red Bank's theaters, Two River and Count Basie, will lead to other opportunities going forward.
Proceeds from Monday night's event benefit Flavour, Two River Theater's Fund for New Work, and the Count Basie Theatre.