Luisa Bakery + Cafe Opens in Montclair

Plus: Other restaurant and brewery openings in Morristown, Clayton, Collingswood and more.

Photo courtesy of Luisa Bakery + Cafe

Luisa Bakery + Cafe in Montclair had its grand opening on July 30, and, per Instagram, they’re already running strong with a bevy of baked goods. The bakery-café also does a savory menu, with Middle Eastern flavors deftly sprinkled throughout, as in pita-stuffed egg sammies, Jerusalem bagels (the “Proud Immigrant” is an intriguing mix of scrambled eggs, beef bresaola, tomato and harissa mayo), za’atar and honey-glazed fried chicken.

The space is run by chef Meny Vaknin, also owner of Marcel Bakery & Kitchen and the reopened (after a facelift) MishMish, both in Montclair. As Vaknin told us when we interviewed him in February, Luisa inherits high expectations, replacing as it does the beloved Gina’s bakery. Judging from the confident-yet-playful menu, sleek (open-air) space, and modern dining savvy (think: made-to-order vegan bowls), Vaknin is up to the challenge. Luisa Bakery + Cafe, 110 Walnut Street, Montclair; 973-707-5153

Sandi’s soul food restaurant on Speedwell Avenue in Morristown celebrated its Grand Opening on Tuesday. The family-owned operation is helmed by chef Sandi Rogers, who opens the restaurant as much to honor her private-chef grandmother Eula as to carry on the traditions of the soul food canon. The menu hits plenty of classic marks: collard greens, fried chicken, grits, smothered pork chops, chicken and dumplings, peach cobbler—punctuated with seasonal product, special recipes, and family favorites. Sandi’s, 82 Speedwell Avenue, Morristown; 862-242-8088

Core3Brewery opened in Clayton a couple weeks ago, and from the looks of their current tap list, things are going well. The brewery, founded by two friends, is located in a stand-alone building on Delsea Drive, with natural dark wood tones, plenty of natural light, a taproom and even some merch already available. As for that tap list, beers are available in four pour-sizes (from 5 to 16 ounces), and come in a range of styles including a nitro-tap black IPA, a berry-infused saison and an ode to Clayton cream ale called The Road to Fisler’s Mill. They’re still experimenting with flavors (expect something bourbon barrel-aged eventually), so the curious and thirsty should stay tuned. Core3Brewery, 609 N. Delsea Drive, Clayton; 856-498-8945

Gelato Dolceria experienced a couple hiccups after its soft opening in Collingswood early this month. They closed for a few days, fixed things up, and are set for the official ribbon-cutting on Wednesday. This is the second location for the imported gelato spot (the first opened in 2016 in Haddonfield). And while “imported” might not be a buzz word in the local-everything era, the difference is all the gelato served here is made with milk from Italian dairy cows in Italy. Flavors should be similar to those in Haddonfield—Tiramisu, Spumoni, Pistachio, Banana Dulce, Stracciatella, etc. Also as in Haddonfield, expect gelato flights and baked goods (macarons) as well as a short drinks menu. Gelato Dolceria, 792 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood.

In the Works:

—As of Sunday, Four City Brewing Company in Orange had #comingsoon beneath a picture of some delicious-looking beer on their Instagram. The finally-soon-to-open brewery was founded by Anthony Minervino, Jeff Gattens and Roger Apollon Jr. It brings to life the long-empty warehouse and cold storage space at 55 South Essex Avenue. It also marks the first brewery to open in Orange in over four decades. Not much is known yet in terms of number of taps or beer styles, but in an interview with a local news station, Apollon Jr. mentioned a Pina Colada IPA, Pinot Grigio IPA and a cream ale, among others. Sounds like reason to be excited for the grand opening. Four City Brewing Company, 55 South Essex Avenue, Orange; no phone yet.

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