Red Tower III Closing; Somerville Planning Board Approves Plan for Taco Bell on Route 22

3f018679c12220e85eb5_sompixredtower2.jpg
The popular Red Tower III restaurant on Route 22 East in Somerville will soon close and be replaced by a Taco Bell restaurant.
3f018679c12220e85eb5_sompixredtower2.jpg

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The venerable Red Tower III restaurant on Route 22 East, home of the World’s Greatest Texas Weiner and the Original Fat Boy Hamburger since 1936, will shut down its grill and turn off the lights before summer comes to an end.

The borough’s Planning Board Wednesday night signed off on a developer’s plans to renovate the building at 950 Route 22 East and open a Taco Bell restaurant.

All those late-night/early morning pork roll and egg sandwiches, bowls of homemade chili, mashed potatoes with gravy, plates full of fries, homemade rice pudding and pastries savored by several generations of locals will be replaced by nachos, tacos, burritos and quesadilla.

Sign Up for E-News

The applicant, Finomus Somerville RE Holdings – based in Warren - had to overcome several hurdles to gain approval.

Nerav Mehta, a restaurateur who owns and operates several other Taco Bells in New Jersey including East Brunswick, Irvington and Jersey City, as well as several Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in Florida, agreed to relocate the drive-up and pick-up windows from the south side of the building to the east side.

All of the required changes Mehta agreed to mimic those required by the Planning Board when the neighboring McDonald’s was going through the site plan approval process in 2009, according to Larry Cleveland, a member of the Planning Board.

Planning Board members were insistent that the drive-up windows be relocated to face Route 22, concerned that noise from idling engines and the speaker at the order window would intrude on residents of Ivanhoe Avenue. Their backyards butt up against the property line of the restaurant on the southern side of the property, which is located next to a McDonald’s at 950 Route 22 East, according to Bernard Navatto, Planning Board chairman.

The speaker will now face towards the Exxon station on the adjoining Route 22 property, nullifying the noise concerns.

“We were unanimous on not wanting to yield on that issue,” Navatto said. “Getting them to agree to move the speakers to the other side of the building and pointed in an easterly direction is really huge.

“Now, noise is not an issue. It won’t reflect off the fence, the wall of the building, it will just go down range; it’s the same way at McDonald’s; you can barely hear the next car when you’re waiting in line.”

No one spoke in opposition to the application when Navatto opened the meeting to the public.

The Planning Board also required an eight-foot, sound-absorbent fence be installed along the rear property line; it will tie in to the McDonald’s fence, ensuring a continuous sound barrier.

The Planning Board also waived the required 39 parking spaces required by the borough’s zoning ordinance because the applicant said 70 percent of Taco Bell’s business is done at the drive-up window. Instead, there will be 21 parking spaces, with much of the parking surface given over to the “queue” – the line of cars waiting to place and then pick up their orders, according to Navatto.

The agreement between the borough and the applicant requires the restaurant to close by 11 p.m., with the drive-up window closing at midnight. Mehta had wanted the drive-up to remain open until 2:30 p.m.

Vinay Mavinkurve, attorney for the applicant, said renovations will begin after the architect submits revised plans to the borough engineer for review and final approvals. Once approved, Mavinkurve said it will take between 3-4 months to renovate and ready the new Taco Bell for its grand opening.

Renovations also hinge on the closing and final sale of the property from current owner Andrea Adams, according to Mavinkurve.

“There is no firm closing date at this point, but we are working towards getting that done within the next month or so,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Other

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, April 23, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Share Talents at Music Recital

April 22, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- The Music Department at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison staged its annual Spring Music Recital, and it was another spectacular show.

Held in the new Berry Performing Arts Center for the first time, this year's recital featured many of the school's most talented vocal and instrumental performers.

Students who participated in the recital included: Aum Mehta ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

More Than Just Kindness for Roxbury Student Adored by Tragically Killed Boy

April 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – She lost her 10-year-old son three years ago in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong, but Laurie D’Amico is sure her beloved Christopher speaks to her all the time. It’s subtle but firm, she says; messages that come as sparks of recollection, inspiration or intuition.

One of those unexpected inklings led Laura and her husband Chris to a jewelry ...

Blood Drive en Plainfield High School el viernes

April 12, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Un esfuerzo de sangre se llevará a cabo el viernes en Plainfield High School en asociación con la Cruz Roja Americana.

¿Alguna vez se ha preguntado qué le sucede a la pinta de sangre que dona?

Según la Cruz Roja, la donación se almacena en refrigeradores helados hasta que se transporta a un centro de la Cruz Roja y se escanea en una ...

Springtime Advice from Rapps Pharmacy

April 17, 2018

It may not feel like spring, but that spring weather is right around the corner and so is allergy season!  Here is some friendly advice from Rapps Pharmacy, your neighborhood pharmacy:

Combating the Allergy Season

As seasons change and pollen counts rise, more and more people clash with the aggravating symptoms of seasonal allergies. Beginning in February and lasting into early summer, ...

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Featured Business: NJ Printing & Embroidery LLC

Nestled in the heart of Plainfield is NJ Printing & Embroidery, a family-owned business providing digital screen printing and embroidery for custom shirts, caps and other items.

The company also offers custom printed business cards, fliers, banners and storefront vinyls, and can provide expert graphic art design upon request.

Eric ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

The German Girl

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa (Washington Square Press, 2016)

For each of the twelve million victims murdered during World War II there is a gutwrenching story to be told. I have read hundreds of memoirs, biographies, plays, and novels that recount the stories of the martyrs; some are exceptional, some are fair. The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, an award-winning journalist, ...

The Skin Collector

The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central, 2014)

Jack the Ripper. The Boston Strangler. The Texas Watchtower Killer. The Zodiac Killer. The Angel of Death. The Butcher. BTK. The police and the press have a long history of dubbing serial killers with names that catch the attention of the public, usually having the effect of instilling greater fear and selling more print media so that ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)

 

In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...