Want to Open a Vegan Restaurant in Montclair?


Jennifer Chaky, whose eco-friendly store Go Lightly opened on South Fullerton Ave. in 2008, started serving vegan ice cream last spring and then vegan lunches this past fall, is ready to hang up her apron. And she’s hoping that she can find another vegan entrepreneur to take her place — and take over her lease.

“I just need to not work six days a week,” says Chaky. “You know how it is when you just decide you’re done? I want to pass the baton. And I’d hate this to become something like a nail salon.”

Of course nail salon it might become. Chaky’s main interest is in getting someone to take over the lease, which ends next March. And she’s not planning to sell the business; she wants to continue as a vendor at fairs and fundraisers for pet causes.  But her heart sinks when she thinks about the vegan following she’s built and her legacy not continuing.

Someone in fact walked into the store on Thursday interested in turning into an eyebrow place. “My first reaction was ‘Thank God somebody wants the lease,'” she said. “And my second reaction was, ‘Oh no!'”

Chaky opened about six months before the Wall Street meltdown, and has watched other nearby retailers, like Semplice and Color Story Home close up shop. She says there’s a pretty vibrant vegan community in Montclair — 390 in a Meetup group — but thinks a vegan restaurant would work better at night, when she’d rather be home with her daughter, Prairie, 13. “There’s only a short time to be a mom,” she says.

Any vegan looking to take over Chaky’s lease should email her at [email protected] or call 973-744-7889. Read her blog on vegan living here.


  1. I’m very sad about this. I completely understand her reasons, but I love the sandwiches and raw cookies! Montclair is losing two excellent, health and environment conscious businesses. I’ll work the front counter if someone can do the cooking. Few people will want to eat what I assemble.

  2. “And I’d hate this to become something like a nail salon.”

    “Would you like a side of sanctimony with your Mung Bean Frozen Tofutti?”

  3. If Blossom would open another restaurant here or even the dearly departed Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch, I would be so, so happy!

  4. NO! I need someone to make that amazing “save the tuna salad”. A really good vegan/vegetarian take-out restaurant is desperately needed and would be so successful in Montclair.
    We certainly don’t need another nail salon but need another Italian restaurant even less!!!

  5. LOL…I love the name, Save the Tuna Salad.

    I agree that a decent vegan-vegetarian restaurant would be great. I am not a veg but I do like to eat vegetarian dishes.

  6. Come on RoC, one of the reasons we all like Jennifer and her shop is because she isn’t judgy and sanctimonious! And her food is delicious. She’s right that it would be a real shame for her space to turn into yet another preening palace.

    Thank you Jennifer for all of your energy and efforts. Hope that you can find a like minded buyer for your business. To lose Go Lightly would be a loss for the community.

  7. NO! I need someone to make that amazing “save the tuna salad”. A really good vegan/vegetarian take-out restaurant is desperately needed and would be so successful in Montclair.
    We certainly don’t need another nail salon but please, not another Italian restaurant!!!

  8. My very sensitive sanctimony detector did not go off at all reading this piece and I eat beef on occasion. Of course, hemp ice cream has no lactose, so I might be biased.

  9. Uh, why not hire someone to work the weekends, then? You don’t always have to be there just because you’re the owner. I guess you don’t trust anyone with your cash register?

  10. I have been going to Go Lightly since it opened. My fiancee and I would do all our holiday shopping there when it was just an eco store. When they started serving vegan ice cream, they moved half the merchandise out. It was so great having vegan ice cream options in the summer because real ice cream makes me sick and with so many fro-yo places popping up around Montclair its nice to have that option. After last summer, Jen really turned the store around and made it into a restaurant. Most of the merchandise was moved out to make room for tables. I didn’t go there as much anymore but I would stop in to say hi. I went to her opening night for the restaurant and it was actually packed! I have gotten takeout once- I got the tuna or eggless salad, can’t remember which one, but it was so good! Hearing that Jen will not be there everyday makes me sad. She is a really great person and I really hope someone can take over the store/restaurant. I can’t take losing Go Lightly and The Bread Company at the same time!

  11. FYI – Kristin and arielrose04, The Bread Company isn’t closing and will continue to offer vegan goodies to spite Will & Sally’s departure

  12. I would LOVE to do the cooking, work the counter, be the vegan restaurant slave – I cant take over the lease though. Someone please take it over and save this store – I’ll work every night for free 🙂

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