Red Eye Cafe, Montclair
I've been in/out of Red Eye a mess of times just to get a (GREAT) cup of coffee when I'm bopping around in Montclair...today I finally had a chance to eat there. OhboyohboyohBOY was I pleasantly surprised! Red Eye is on Walnut Street, on the block just before the train station.
For starters, let's talk coffee. I am NOT a coffee expert, but I know what I like, and when I saw the Intelligensia sign, I knew these people had a clue. (Sidebar: A few years ago I was in Chicago for Marathon weekend; I drank more coffee - reg and decaf - in 3 days than I had in weeks b/c it was SO. DAMN. GOOD.) The only other place in NJ I had seen Intelligensia in the past was at the Ridgewood Coffee Company, which I believe has since changed hands, so no clue if you can still get it there. According to Red Eye's website, they use: Kobricks Cape Horn Blend. Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso. Kobricks decaf Colombian. Numi organic teas. Spencer's Flavors. I've had the Kobricks and it was also excellent.
So. Each time I've been in there to grab a cup and go or to stand at the bar and enjoy it, I'm blown away by how nice EVERYONE is who is working there. That's pretty rare, as I'm sure you all know, and I think it's a valuable sign of a good business, food or otherwise. Just a good, good vibe.
Today I ended up on that side of town with my mom and my chowhound of a pre-teen niece, and we needed lunch so we headed to Red Eye. Separate of my stunningly-made and dElicious latte, we had a plethora of really good breakfast/brunch choices. Things like a scotch egg banh mi, a chorizo fritatta sandwich. GOOD choices! I finally went with the (housemade - Lentil) soup and grilled cheese w/onion jam combo, Mom with the zucchini fritata sandwich and an excellent cabbage/apple slaw (vinegar-based), and my niece with an omelet that she couldn't finish (and she is a GOOD eater).
Service? Terrific, and more than terrific, genuine. Food? Delicious, and I can't wait to get back!
Methinks word is getting out about this place, but I just couldn't keep it a secret from all of you... :-)