Return Trip Guaranteed

InteriorTalk about your transformations. Round Trip Fare, the newest restaurant to inhabit the space at the Upper Montclair train station (formerly occupied by Daily Soup, and before that Lotsa Pasta) has rolled into the station with personality to spare. The once-pea soup green walls and clanky metal chairs have been banished to create a space reminiscent of an elegant dining car. Looking beyond the decor, for proprietors Kim Sisco and Heather Maione, there’s also got to be some deja vu. The two met years back while working at Lotsa Pasta; later they entertained the idea of opening their own restaurant. Up until a few months ago they were thisclose to signing a lease in Kinnelon, until they heard word that Daily Soup would be vacating the space. Wrapfries_1 "When we realized we could be in Montclair, and in this space, it was like we came full circle, right back where we started. That’s where we got the name Round Trip Fare," says Maione. Another coup was landing Chef Arturo Barrales, formerly of Cafe Panache in Ramsey and Blend in Ridgewood. Long before he was a head chef, Barrales worked pantry at a restaurant Sisco’s family owned. Besides renewed connections, Chef Barrales, Sisco and Maione have something else in common — all are parents to sets of fraternal twins. The fate that brought them together seems to translate into good karma for the fare itself. Touted as new and classic American food, the varied menu has something for everyone. "We wanted the atmosphere of a tablecloth restaurant, but a place where you can have a great burger or pizza, even if other people at your table wanted a more traditional meal," says Maione. We stopped in for lunch and were wowed by a cayenne-infused lobster soup with shrimp. Then we tried an artfully prepared sirloin steak wrap (pictured) with melted mozzarella, poblano chiles, tomato and avocado, served with perfectly seasoned french fries and a tangy jicama and carrot slaw. A chicken quesadilla was another big hit; teamed with salsa, sour cream and chunky guacamole, it transcended the typical by pairing the traditional chicken and cheese filling with sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

Platecake Round Trip Fare is open for dinner, too, and through early reviews we’ve learned that an asian-marinated grilled skirt steak with mashed sweet potato, as well as a horseradish crusted salmon fillet, are gaining a devoted fan club. Another score is a children’s menu with the requisite pizza, grilled cheese, pasta and chicken tenders. In addition to free delivery, commuters can drop off dinner takeout orders in the morning, so food is packed and waiting when they step off their scheduled train. Until their liquor license transfer is complete, customers are being treated to complimentary glasses of wine, or after-dinner liqueurs with coffee. Desserts, like Paul’s Famous Cheesecake (Paul being Heather’s husband) are worth saving room for. Round Trip Fare (973.783.8747) is open five days a week for lunch and seven days a week for dinner.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations Heather and Kim! Round Trip Fare looks fantastic! I just can’t wait to be there. Wishing you all the success in the world!

  2. Have had the pleasure of knowing Kim from a previous excursion of the Lotsa Pasta days. For many years, dining there was always a pleasant and interesting experience, until the plug was pulled. It was a sad period to be devoid of that place. Soup just didn’t appeal to the overall majority it seems.
    But now, there has been reincarnated, an infant that has natural inborn instincts to mature into a mainstay. Judging from the attendance, mine being twice, thus far, it revels in the old feeling that was once there and the return of a good old friend and all of the familiar faces. The overall attitude exhibits their intent on making this succeed. By the way, the food’s pretty good. Hi to Sharon.

  3. Great food, Great atmosphere.
    After reading about this restaurant
    I thought I’d give it a go.
    WOW.
    Nice Jazz playing while I ate.
    No rush to get us out.
    Left with a smile and a full belly.

  4. Nice, comfortable atmosphere. Food is delicious and the service is excellent! A+++++++++++++++++++++

  5. Congratulations Heather on your new Restaurant, we are comming for dinner this evening with your Mom….

  6. Congratulations Heather on your new Restaurant, we are comming for dinner this evening with your Mom….

  7. Congratulations Heather on your new Restaurant, we are comming for dinner this evening with your Mom….

  8. We took a large group this past Saturday night and the whole experience was fantastic!
    The fried calamari was great. However, we all agreed, the Buffalo calamari, which was presented like Buffalo wings, was even more outstanding and came with a side of thick blue cheese dipping sauce. Fantastic if you like things a little hot. If I could I would never have it any other way. Also garnering raves was the stuffed poblano pepper. Even the folks who don’t like peppers said it was great. Our guy from Philly said “it tasted like a really good Philly cheese steak with the works”. Also worth a mention was the hummus and spinach artichoke dip with toasted pita slices.
    The scallop special in tomato beurre blanc over mashed potatoes took first prize for me. A bit salty, but the sauce was outstanding. The strawberry sea bass special in roasted pepper coolie with pesto mashed potatoes was great. OMG the pesto mashed potatoes were unreal! I would’ve been happy to eat only those and I was tempted to bribe the chef for the recipe. The grilled chicken over cappellini with tomatoes and garlic in oil and white wine was very, very good as well. I’m sure I was breathing fire after that. Also worth mentioning was the penne with shrimp in a saffron cream sauce.
    The half roasted free range chicken was good, but not outstanding and the ahi tuna with bok choi was way too salty and seemed unoriginal and really the only thing that was below average.
    The desserts had us raving as well. The triple chocolate layer cake exploded with flavor. Absolutely fantastic, and again, many said the best they’d ever had. Also great was the apple-crisp with cinnamon ice cream. The apple-crisp was good, but the cinnamon ice cream was really fantastic and made the dish. Death by chocolate cake was “as dense a neutron star” and only for the bravest of chocoholics. Some claimed it to be too dry.
    We loved the coziness and the warmth. Great décor. Not really the place to go if you want a quiet dinner though. The building’s small size makes for a loud atmosphere. The old folks nearby not only got cranky when a cell phone rang, but shushed us twice and complained constantly about the noise.
    The staff was quite pleasant and genuinely welcoming. Our waitress Kelly was very engaging and quite accommodating. Several times she made suggestions and offered substitutions that added a personal touch that really enhanced the experience. She was so nice and a lot of fun.
    We all agreed that this was, by far, one of the finest dining experiences we’ve ever had. Go!

  9. Had lunch there last week, great food, great for kids, when the train comes by they love it. niceto eat outside, nice breeze, even has parking on a workday, surprise!

  10. Finally tracked you two down, happy to see your doing great. The place looks great too. Good Luck! Kelly (Fort Lee, NJ)

Comments are closed.