Fans of Cafe Matisse, a beloved restaurant in Rutherford, got a tantalizing amuse-bouche this week – but only that, when it looked like the owner might open a branch in Montclair. But don’t give up hope yet.
A good friend (and Matisse fan) writes of her experience at the Rutherford restaurant:
“What’s not to like? Amazing food, beautiful space and gardens, exceptional staff,” adding that the nicest thing is they have a wine shop in front so you can grab a bottle there.
“When you arrive they bring you into the shop for a short wine tasting — they select something to pair with the day’s menu, which is seasonal. Food is small plates, almost like a tasting menu. We should go together sometime.”
Now the bad news. Cafe Matisse’s plans for a Montclair restaurant were 86’d at the last Montclair planning board meeting, when a conceptual review of a proposal from Peter Loria, owner/chef of Cafe Matisse in Rutherford, was discussed. Loria wanted to convert the C. Zimmerman Oil building to a restaurant. The property at 98 Watchung Avenue, listed at $799,000, is located next to The Pie Store and Montclair Music Studio.
According to the Montclair Times, when the planning board heard what Loria wanted to do with the space, specifically valet parking that would bring patrons’ cars to the Fairfield lot, they discouraged Loria, telling him to look for another Montclair location.
We tried to reach Loria, who was interested in buying a building rather than renting, for additional comment, but he did not call back. Sadly, Jim Walters, Remax realtor, confirms Loria’s position.
“Usually there are one or more pieces on the market in Montclair, but in review there are none that in my opinion are suitable or fit the profile for Mr. Loria,” says Walters.
The good news: A tipster tells us the restaurant is still very interested in opening a second location in Montclair and there may be a possible alternate location. They have been looking to open a second location (the Rutherford location is here to stay) for more than a year in Montclair and will continue to do so. Apparently, they get a lot of Montclair customers who come to Rutherford now.
Tell us — are you a Matisse fan? Have you been there before? And what should I order (taking a trip there with my disappointed, but still hopeful friend soon…)?