Montclair, NJ – Montclair is celebrated for its thriving food scene. From an abundance of Italian options to French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Brazilian and yes, even “Wafu” – not to mention some of the best cheeseburgers anywhere at Tierney’s – Montclair has it all and folks come from far and wide to take it all in. But simmering just below the surface there’s more to explore – in the form of lively pop-up dinners, a supper club and a private tastings scene! It is the secret sauce that that makes the Montclair dining destination extra special.
Want to get in on the action? All you need to do is be curious, learn to know where to look and when you find out, act fast! These events are unique, intimate and sell out quickly. Follow on Instagram, get on mailing lists and read all area foodie news and you too will be someone who knows someone.
Let’s first start with Sam’s Table, featured on Baristanet in 2022. Chef Sam Stymest and pastry chef Kasandra Beltran’s floating feast has shown up behind a hedge in a secluded garden, at a commissary hidden in the back of a corporate park and even as a collaboration with other area chefs and their private dinners. Their food is beautiful, bright, seasonal, vegetable forward with meat accents and not to be missed! To find out when the dinners are happening, follow them on Instagram @samstable2020 or email them at SamStymestsTable@gmail.com to get on the mailing list. There is a dinner planned for May 21, seats may be available.
Butler & The Board
Chef Jeff Butler is a classically trained chef and industry veteran, having worked for over a decade at Daniel, Esca and other top New York City restaurants. He then set up shop in Montclair and now produces delectable small batch, artisanal charcuterie and Wednesday evening take out family meals from his storefront on Forest St. in the Walnut Street business district. But that’s not all – Chef Butler, along with his wife and business partner Cathy Chan Butler, have been hosting casual “Petite Dinners” in the shop for several months now. It is a very intimate experience – as in only 10 seats – a multi-course meal that will focus on a particular theme that changes with each event.
To get first word on their Petite Dinner series, go to their website: www.butlerandtheboard.com and sign-up for their mailing list. Also be sure to follow them on Instagram @butlerandtheboard – the next dinner is happening on June 3!
Chef Alex Abd’s Supper Club at Just Jake’s
If you’ve grabbed a bite at Just Jakes, you may have noticed that the bar food is a little better than your usual wings and mozzarella sticks. That’s because veteran chef Alex Abd is behind the burners, providing tweaks and elevated quality twists to standard pub fare. O.G. area people will remember his delicious cooking from back in the day, when he was at the much loved ShuBox café in Cedar Grove. When that eventually closed he joined forces with the team at Just Jakes. For fun, he also hosts occasional private supper club wine dinners for a core following (with room for more) in the back room. These dinners are raucous fun and led by highly entertaining sommelier Dan Johnson. There was a recent and memorable French Japanese fusion themed collaboration with the chefs from Sam’s Table (see above) called “La Tete Dans Le Miso”. Communal tables, delicious food + flowing wine – it’s a party!
To get the word on when these dinners are happening, be sure to follow Chef Alex on Instagram @Alexandrin63 and when you see his announcement about the next dinner, send him a message through Instagram. You should also follow @Justjakes_Montclair on Instagram as well, and when you see a post about the dinner send Chef Alex a message though his Instagram account.
Husband and wife chefs Roger Rodriguez and Julia Choi-Rodriquez have firmly established themselves as THE area go-to for fine and luminous artisanal bean-to-bar chocolates. And that magical Basque cheesecake! And the amazing chocolate chip cookies and brownies! And can we discuss their special piccolo sundaes? Well, there’s more to come – be sure to stalk their Instagram account @Vestachocolate and go to their website Vestachocolate.com to sign up on the mailing list to get the alerts for private dinners, chef collaborations and tasting events – coming soon!
The Beastro – Chef John Thomas
When Chef John Thomas isn’t providing catering for private jets & elevated backyard BBQ celebrations through his company The Beastro, he can be found doing pop-up collaborations with area chefs and small businesses, such as the recent take over of East Side Mags on Bloomfield Ave., temporarily turning it into “East Side Tacos” to celebrate free Comic Book Day. Meat is a specialty and this former punk musician likes to play with fire in the very best way. To stay in the know, follow The Beastro on Instagram @The_Beastro_Catering and check out the website at www.thebeastro.net
Mary Connolly is also known as “Marie Fromage”. Follow her in Instagram @MarieFromage