TheNook.JPGAnyone with small children knows how difficult it can be eating out. If you’re lucky, like I was with my first daughter, crayons and food are enough to keep your kid occupied and well-behaved while you can actually chew your food and take your time to eat. If you’re unlucky, like I was with my second, you ask for the check as soon as you order so you can be prepared to escape when your kid shows signs of eruption. Thankfully, now that my little one is 3-years-old, we can enjoy eating out and my girls, for the most part, are well-behaved in restaurants.
How I wished for a place like new Montclair restaurant The Nook when we went through the rough eating out period. Parents in Baristaville now have a place that understands eating out with kids.
The Nook is the latest restaurant from Sheree Sarabhayavanija, owner of Spice II and Habañeros, and inspired by her son Luck and daughter-in-law Anne. Luck and Anne have three boys ages 5 and under, so if anyone knows about eating out with little ones–it’s them. They recently moved back to NJ from Vancouver, Canada and, along with Sheree, decided to bring a family-friendly restaurant to Montclair that offers breakfast, brunch and lunch daily from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.

thenookplayarea.jpgSo what’s so family-friendly about The Nook? There is a Kid’s Play Area in the restaurant with an easel, trains, toys and, best of all, a kitchen set, which will be filled with play food and chef hats and aprons. Luck tells me that there will also be a huge board which they will fill with pictures of kids and their families and kid’s artwork.
Kid’s meals are priced right at $4.50 and offer the standard kiddie meals: silver dollar pancakes, french toast, Belgian waffles, Eggs and Sausage, Chicken Fingers, Hot Dogs, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Next to the play space is a community table and a lounge area. Want to meet a friend for a playdate? Meet at The Nook, let the little one’s play a enjoy a good meal. The rest of the restaurant is filled with traditional tables.
Sheree and family were nice enough to let me come in yesterday morning to learn about The Nook and sample the menu. It’s a good thing I like to eat, because they brought out five different meals: French Toast, kid’s Silver Dollar Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, and two types of omelettes–egg white with mushrooms and peppers and traditional with broccoli, asparagus and cheese. I liked everything, but my favorite was the French Toast. It was large pieces of thick, crusty French bread sweetened just right. I was very happy about the quality of the kid’s pancakes and fresh, seasonal fruit that it came with too.
The Nook will have its Grand Opening this Friday, July 23. Sheree and family have some great plans for the restaurant too: monthly family nights, using local artists work as rotating art, and adding some great items to the menu. The restaurant will also be available for private parties.

The Nook
537 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07042
Open Daily from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm

Editor, writer, social media manager. Food, cocktail and coffee lover. Proud Jersey girl.

25 replies on “The Nook: A New Family Friendly Restaurant in Montclair”

  1. Good luck to them and we’ll be sure to check it out once our 17 month old closer to 2 1/2.
    (Assuming they last that long… That location seems to be cursed in that no restaurant seems to last more than a year.)

  2. What a smart idea! Sheree is building a regular empire in Montclair; I wish them lots of luck in this new endeavor.

  3. This is a great, creative idea for a restaurant in Baristaville, and I’m sure they’ll be successful. Food looks great in the photos! Right around the corner from the Y – Sheree is making lemonade from a lemon of a locale. I think she’s got the recipe for success.

  4. Great, but if only they wouldn’t serve “standard kiddie fare.” I never understand why restaurants insist upon offering kids the unhealthiest foods on the planet. (The usual suspects: chicken fingers, hot dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches.) Doesn’t exactly start ’em off on the right foot. I’m tired of going to restaurants and seeing only deep fried and fatty foods on offer for my beautiful daughter. I want her to eat healthy. She likes healthy foods. Why can’t I order them for her in a restaurant? Her health and wellbeing are in my hands, and I take that responsibility seriously. A kid-friendly restaurant sounds great. Too bad they got everything right but the food.

  5. I was looking for a breakfast spot in Montclair Center and was hopeful about The Nook, despite the dreaded location. However, after reading about the kid-friendly atmosphere, I will be looking elsewhere or wondering if there will be an adult area, adult hours. The concept is so unappealing to me and probably to others who don’t want screaming brats while eating.
    Chow down!

  6. Wow, what an unnecessary reply. If you haven’t got anything nice to say Ms WW…

  7. I saw this and got so excited. The concept of having a place where your kids can play and eat in an environment where you don’t have to worry about your kid occasionally shouting or bothering other diners seemed great.
    However….horrible, horrible execution of the idea.
    We went today and it was by far one of the worst dining experiences I’ve had. We walked in and had bad vibes right from the get go. We were the only ones there, aside from one other couple. Well, it was SO HOT. It felt like the AC wasn’t on at all. We asked the waiter if it was broken and he just said that he’d ask them to turn it up. Soon the AC kicked on, but it was so hot that our toddler got SUPER cranky and ended up bawling and we had to take him out for awhile just so we didn’t bother the sole other table. Then the food came. Absolutely gross. I ordered eggs benedict and not only did it taste horribly, but it was also just gross. I poked into the egg and parts of it were slimey and all this water came rushing out and made the bread all soppy. The ham tasted low quality. The potatoes were okay, but hardly as good as Raymond’s. Our coffee tasted like folger’s and we asked for milk for our coffee and they charged us $2 for that!! Who charges for milk to go in your coffee?? The toddler’s scrambled eggs were fine – he liked them. The ham, egg, and avacado sandwich was like a breakfast burrito, but with absolutely no seasoning and no accompaniments like salsa, etc. Bland and dry.
    So, in summary: horrible environment (bad temp control), weird vibe (empty and weird decor), and really, really bad food.
    I want my $32 back. Seriously.
    I’ll never go back and I bet they aren’t open more than a couple of months, max. Which is a bummer, because it’d be nice to have a place where there was a little play area for kids. But, it won’t be the Nook.

  8. Delicious food, wonderful environment, great prices, generous portions! The ‘pulled pork sandwich’ was absolutely luscious, the French toast awesome, the vegetarian egg-white omelette just perfect.
    All of the above, coupled with friendly, prompt and ingratiating service, conspire to make this my regular breakfast/brunch spot!

  9. Where in the heck did you eat, WaCourson? Because you’re describing a completely different experience than we had. It was literally one of the worst dining experiences I’ve ever had. The eggs benedict was horrendous, the restaurant had to be 90 degrees in there, and they charged me $2 just to put milk in my coffee. Hardly generous!

  10. i brought my daughter here and she loved to play with all the toys, we went around brunch and definitely had a good time. The French Toast was amazing the fruit that came along with it was great too my daughter loved it, my friend had the Cheese Steak , i tasted it and it melted in my mouth, amazing. We will definitely be going back soon, im sure everything will get better since they are first starting out and i wish them luck

  11. Did you mean to say ingratiating service? Ingratiating service is not a positive to me.

  12. Nobody charged anybody $2 for milk, and it was never 90 degrees in the restaurant. I am extremely sensitive to heat, and I was so comfortable I and my friends spent at least two hours there.
    Nice try, DRCO. But we all know you’re a competitor. “BloomfieldMaMa” indeed!
    Did I mention that the Strawberry/Banana/Nutella dessert crepes were absolutely divine?

  13. I have not been here yet, but wow, great thread already. I can’t wait to try it. Are they open7 days?

  14. I ordered some takeout as I wanted to give this place a shot, but wanted nothing to do with the kid-friendly environment (still had to endure a bit while I waited…nothing more unappetizing than kids screaming and throwing toys). I ordered the BELT (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce, Tomato) sandwich and it was practically inedible… soggy white bread, soggy and greasy fries, wet lettuce and tomato sticking out all over the bread. I also ordered a Belgian Waffle and although it looked OK, it too was also disappointing. It was doughy, chewy and came with some mystery syrup, not maple. Can’t imagine they’ll last very long…

  15. Great food. Great service. Really nice environment. Generous sized portions at good prices.

  16. “Nice try, DRCO. But we all know you’re a competitor. “BloomfieldMaMa” indeed!”
    I am absolutely not a competitor (nor “DRCO”) – give me your email address and I’ll email you to prove it! I have nothing to do with the restaurant industry (nor any other business) whatsoever. (In fact, I’ve conversed with you before on other message boards and know you from the gay community!)
    We were customers – two moms with a 20 month old son. It WAS indeed extremely HOT in the restaurant and they DID charge me $2 for milk to go with my coffee! And, our food DID taste absolutely gross. And, we will never go back. My guess is that some of the positive reviews here must be by the owner & friends, because there’s just no way anyone could be having such a positive experience the same weekend we were there. No way. Osirum’s review seems spot on.

  17. Thank you all for your comments. As a new restaurant we appreciate your feedback so that we can improve and better serve you all. I want to apologize for any problems there may have been. To BloomfieldMama there must have been a misunderstanding with our staff. We normally do not charge for milk that you would put into your coffee and we have refunded your bill for that day.
    This is our first week and we will do what we can to improve so that we may last as long as possible. There will be improvements and changes to our restaurant and we hope to be able to offer great service to you all.

  18. Took my family there this morning for the first time to try something different from Raymonds, Toast, or IHOP so was 5 of us including the 3 kids. Very positive experience. The kids loved playing in the play corner and bolted there immediately so my wife and I were actually able to order and chat like normal adults while we waited for the food to come out. I had the baguette french toast with fruit and a cappuccino while my wife had the eggs benedict with home fries. The kids had healthy breakfasts too – french toast, eggs, fruit. They also substituted bacon at no charge. Eggs benedict done perfectly while my french toast was delicious. My only issue was that the grapes in the fruit were not seedless, which made it difficult to feed to the kids without de-seeding them first (that should be an easy fix for them to make). I have to say I was also really pleasantly surprised by the cappuccino with a nice frothy top. It was only ourselves and another family there at the time so I hope people find this place and help them make it work.

  19. I hope people will give this restaurant a try and make up their minds for themselves. With regard to BloomfieldMama’s bill, it sounds like a misunderstanding to me. The fact that The Nook refunded Mama’s bill in its entirety really tells you a lot about the integrity of the owners.

  20. While my experience wasn’t quite as bad as Bloomfield Mama’s, I do have to say it wasn’t positive. First of all, as a consumer, i’m always a little offended when restauranteurs don’t seem to put any attention into the decor. This place has been 4 different restaurants in the past 3 years and not one owner has put any money into it. My experience has been when people care enough about their establishments to take pride in them, (egan’s, raymonds, Giotto) they tend to succeed.
    That being said, the meal was the real disappointment. I ordered a bacon egg & cheese sandwich with home fries. The bread was stale, the bacon soggy, the eggs were scrambled together with shredded cheese that wasn’t quite melted and it came with soggy french fries. I brought the fries situation to the waiters attention, and he didn’t seem to know the difference between french fries and home fries, even though my girlfriend had home fries right on her plate. He brought me back out a plate of home fries that were no better than the french fries were (soggy and of poor quality).
    Unfortunately, it wasn’t worth trying again. Its a shame nothing can survive in that space.

  21. Do you think you might have had a miscommunication with them about the milk?? seriously, your post seems a bit ranting. I have been there a few times– milk for my coffee is always free. and really, i was there yesterday, and it was nice. not raymonds….but good. and great idea.

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