Red Bank NJ losing Citarella’s Market after 121 years

RED BANK – Andrew Citarella knew his father introduced the marinated meats to their family deli Citarella’s Market, but he wasn’t quite sure who came up with the recipe for the potato or macaroni salads.

“My grandmother’s recipes, maybe even my great-grandmother,” Citarella tried to remember. “I’m not even sure if she started it.”

After 121 years and down four generations, the deli, located at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and McLaren Street, will close on Saturday, July 9. According to its now defunct website, the first store was located on Bridge Avenue. It moved to Sea Bright in the mid-1950s before arriving at its current location back in Red Bank in 1979.

Fair Haven resident Katherine Raftery remembers attending Red Bank Catholic High School as a teenager and grabbing sandwiches at Citarella’s with friends.

Andrew Citarella, who is managing Citarella's Market for his brother, Ralph Citarella, stands outside the Red Bank business, which is closing on July 6 after 121 years.  Friday, July 1, 2022.

Raftery said her family would return nearly every Saturday in the summer after a day at the Shore.

She praised the fresh mozzarella and marinated hanger steaks. She said her family de ella used to buy their Easter hams at Citarella’s Market.

After getting married, she returned with her husband.

“Ralph (Citarella) used to take the time to teach us how to literally make everything on the grill and now we’re avid grillers,” Raftery said. “We understand it’s the next chapter for them, but it’s sad to see them go.”

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