Renewed and Refreshed, Zebu Readies for Reopening
Forced from its previous home on Broad Street following a dispute over rent six months ago, Zebu Forno prepares to reopen in a new location just two doors down.
So, it might have taken him more time than he expected. When Andrew Gennusa failed to come to an agreement with a previous landlord over rent he took the bold step of closing his business down, all with the intention of opening it a few doors down just a couple of months later. Now, six months later, and several months after he had originally hoped to reintroduce the cafe, Zebu Forno is opening its doors to customers once more.
Located at 12 Broad Street just two doors down from its previous location, Zebu Forno, the combination coffee shop, cafe, bakery, pizzeria, entertainment stop, and lounge will open tomorrow, March 1 at 7 a.m. For Gennusa, it couldn't have come fast enough.
"People come around every day. People are looking for us," he said. "(Zebu Forno) fills that niche that's been missing from Red Bank for the past several months.
"There's a void downtown and this will fill it. The reassurance I get comes every day in the people I meet who come up to the door or who I see around town. They say they can't wait for us to open."
In Zebu's hiatus, Gennusa said he had time to consider the cafe, what makes it work and what could make it work better. Everything customers have come to expect from Zebu will return, he said, but now there's more of an emphasis on making the operation move more smoothly. For instance, he said, instead of training an entire staff how to make sandwiches - and seeing the inconsistency that comes along with a process like that - Gennusa has streamlined the food preparation process by having it all come out of a kitchen with a regular staff.
Mostly, the changes impact Gennusa the most.
"This move is nothing but positive. It gave me time to recharge; kind of get my thoughts together on what Zebu needed to get itself repositioned in the community," he said. "I went from one landlord extreme to the other. From one who didn't want to work with me to one that bend over backwards for us."
While he declined to say how much, Gennusa did indicate that the rent, now, is significantly lower than what he was paying previously. The low rent as well as the landlord's excitement of having Zebu on the ground floor of downtown Red Bank's largest building more than made up for the high expense that comes along with turning in an empty shell into a complete cafe, he said.
There have been some hiccups and delays along the way, of course. At Planning Board meeting in November, Gennusa said he hoped to have Zebu open by the end of the month. The end of the month came and still brown paper lined the storefront. Then December came and went and the paper still remained. Finally, nearing the end of January, Zebu began to take shape and near closer to that longed-for opening.
With the opening a day away, Gennusa said he couldn't be more pleased.
"I had the option of picking up and leaving. But, I really couldn't be happier that I made the decision to stay," he said. "As long as I'm creating and I own this business, this place will be open."