Montclair Station Closed, Trend Closed, Sweet Potato & Pecan Closed (UPDATED)

BY  |  Monday, Oct 22, 2012 9:22am  |  COMMENTS (56)

Update: We are sad to report another closing to add to this list. Epernay has posted a sign on their door, indicating that they will serve their last meal on October 28.

Montclair restaurants have had a bunch of recent closings. Sweet Potato & Pecan on Forest Street, a favorite comfort food spot for years, closed last month. Trend Coffee House, which seemed to be closed for renovations, now appears to be closed for good. And, Montclair Station, after a long renovation and opening in March 2010, is now closed. A closing note to patrons was left on the website.


  1. POSTED BY sadie07  |  October 22, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    Anybody know exactly what happened with Montclair Station? From that message on their website, it sounds like maybe a rent issue. If they’re looking for another space there had to be some kind of drama, no?

  2. POSTED BY doglover  |  October 22, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    How about the Sweet Potato & Pecan? Does anyone know where the baker has relocated? Their coconut cake was to die for!

  3. POSTED BY redrum  |  October 22, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    I’m sure this is a list of Fro-Yo places waiting for these storefronts to fill the void.

  4. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:00 am

    Possible replacements:

    1- Chipotle

    2- Pret Manger

    3- Pot Belly

    4- Le pain quotidien

    5- Clay Oven, Indian

    If anyone works in or frequents the city you know what I mean.

  5. POSTED BY Cary Africk  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    As members of the Town Council when it was in construction, Rich Murnick and I went through many of the trials and tribulations getting Montclair Station built.

    The State Historic Preservation commission put them through hell.

    They spent over a quarter million dollars re-creating the portico and in the end wound up having to reuse much new materials.

    Then they were required to re-use the tiles on the roof, although there an insufficient number of them to work with the expanded design.

    Town inspections gave them grief. At one point they had to rip out a ceiling because the entire electrical inspection hadn’t been done properly.

    Then, the code changed regarding the rooftop utilities and they had to change the structure.

    The project probably took a year longer than necessary.

    The principals were good people trying to do good.

    Even our parking authority gave them grief (now there’s a surprise).

    NJ Transit, to their credit, helped all along the way.

  6. POSTED BY lisaromeo  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Montclair Station, and the two restaurants that occupied that space years ago, were so handy for having a meeting with someone who had to travel to Montclair on the train from Manhattan, and then back into the city again. So I’m hoping another restaurant with a decent lunch menu opens there again. Seems like such a perfect spot, but probably a very difficult balance between menu prices and rent.

  7. POSTED BY geo316  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Funny seeing this article – last night I was googling and searching Baristanet for info on why Trend closed up. I kinda liked the place – not so much as an eatery but a great place to meet with folks or chill with my laptop.

    They closed in a hurry – must be some drama there as well… anyone know?

  8. POSTED BY geo316  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    …also Phil’s Deli in the parking lot behind Starbuck’s in Upper Montclair quietly slipped away not too long ago.

  9. POSTED BY townie  |  October 22, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Restaurant economics are brutal, esp for independents running in larger spaces, like Montclair Station. Any learning curve, anything less than becoming an immediate hit, spells doom. This space needs the economics only a chain is likely to bring.

  10. POSTED BY 3rdwarder  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:17 am

    montclair station sold and is going through a renovation now…should be open in 3-4 months.

  11. POSTED BY oliver  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    And yet some places–Raymond’s comes to mind–do what seems like a fantastic business for 20 years (without a liquor license). Gotta figure out their formula!

  12. POSTED BY raeven  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    Can’t imagine footing the bill for the liquor license (which I guess is now for sale?) helped any.

  13. POSTED BY Liz George  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    No liquor license – they are allowed to sell liquor because it is a NJ transit bldg

  14. POSTED BY silverleaf  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Montclair Station being taken over by very successful west coast restaurateur with close Montclair ties.

  15. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Gotta figure out their formula!

    Really good food, fun ambience, good service. Great location with a great outdoor space for warm weather doesn’t hurt either, but the Station has a great location with a poorly designed outdoor area that feels like an after thought and is not connected to the restaurant via windows or french doors. Bad layout. Lose the TV’s too. Keep one at the bar if you must.

  16. POSTED BY raeven  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    Really? I won’t pretend to understand this state and town’s weird liquor laws.

  17. POSTED BY theclairdude  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Raymond’s has really good food? When did they start serving that?

  18. POSTED BY caterwaiting  |  October 22, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    Albert’s (formerly Cafe Amici) at 32 Church also appears to be gone.

  19. POSTED BY raeven  |  October 22, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Actually, I think they do have a liquor license, but one issued by the state instead of by the town.

  20. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  October 22, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

    Liquor licenses in NJ are granted to town in accordance to their population. I believe the breakdown is 1 for every 3,000 people and for store licenses it is 1 for ever 7,000 people. There are some exceptions like hotels. It is a state law not town law.

  21. POSTED BY Howard Beale  |  October 22, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    The sign on Albert’s indicates thet they’re closed for renovations. In Montclair, however, it seems to mean “We’re never coming back.”

  22. POSTED BY arch  |  October 22, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    Trend may be gone but there is another independent tea shop, “Insani-tea” further west on Bloomfield Ave to hang out in.

  23. POSTED BY relax people  |  October 22, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

    I’m glad Montclair Station will reopen with a new owner. Tried the place a couple of times, but it always felt like a hotel bar in a Marriot in Ohio.

    Trend will be missed. Good place to gather and the owners did a great job on renovating the space.

    Epernay was a disappointment, quality was shaky, staff was gruff.

  24. POSTED BY townie  |  October 22, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Montclair Station has a liquor license issued by the State. This is a special license for NJTransit property. Depot Square has the same type of license.

  25. POSTED BY claremont  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    I am sad over Epernay as it was a nice place however I will admit I haven’t seen many people there lately. As for the rest, there are many reasons why places go under and most are for a good reason. One of the real issues in Montclair is the liquor license problem. Just in the last week rumors have it that the South Park license was purchased by a developer who is known to warehouse these things. Speak of a drag on development in Montclair. Why does the town let this happen? We need progress and this certainly is NOT>

  26. POSTED BY mtc4life  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    Montclair’s liquor licenses are regulated by the State Liquor Control Board thus there is nothing the town can do. As the poster above explained we are allowed 1 liquor license per 3,000 residents. I believe there are 13 in the town.

  27. POSTED BY the28thfish  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    I am very surprised to see Epernay closing. Although they were very overpriced, their food was always consistent and good. Never liked Trend, staff had horrible attitudes and the baked goods were stale when I had them.

  28. POSTED BY shrimpalert  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    While Epernay is not consistently great, it had its moments and is the last French restaurant in town. Where else nearby can I satisfy my cravings for cassoulet this autumn?

  29. POSTED BY yougottalovehim  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    Ate at Montclair Station a few times. Food was OK. But Montclair is not the kind of place where places serving “OK food” last very long. When you have the burger at Next Door, or the risotto at Giotto, you appreciate why these places are packed all year. Not to be a food snob, because I certainly am not one, but downtown Montclair is now Route 46 or Route 3. People in Montclair talk incessantly about the restaurants in town and only the strong survive. As to Raymonds, in 10 years I’ve never heard a single person say they were disappointed in their meal there. And it doesn’t hurt that there is a cool wine place next door. 99% of the time these places close it’s honestly because their food is nothing special.

  30. POSTED BY boonanas  |  October 22, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Just ate at Epernay (using a recently offered LivingSocial deal) a couple of days ago and it was okay. Kind of seems like it was on it’s way out due to the amount of people at the restaurant and the quality of the food. (I ordered duck and escargots, both were just okay, nothing spectacular) Really weird how they would offer a livingsocial and then decide to close.

  31. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  October 22, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    I don’t agree about the liquor license issue being the problem. The problem I have is over priced food that at best is okay. There are exceptions – I’ve never had a bad meal at Dai Kashi or Upstairs – but I’m biased so maybe Aki just makes sure I get the good stuff. There have been a lot of places someone raves about when they open and by the time I get to go there it has drastically gone downhill.

  32. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  October 22, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    yeah boonanas, we bought that livingsocial deal too. Time for a refund!

    I thought restaurant closing season was after the holiday season. At least that was when we had our last rash of closings.

  33. POSTED BY ihateplaydates  |  October 22, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    The Station was nothing special, which is too bad because it’s so “walkable” if you live in UM. It was too cavernous, service was really slow, and the food was just ‘eh.

    Trend was exciting–love that old building and the ambiance, at first, seemed good. But the food ended up not being so good and way overpriced, and the service was really lacking. I remember saying to my husband MONTHS ago–this place won’t last.

    Bottom line: Food must be good. Service must be good. I really like the food at Raymond’s, but it is sooo loud when crowded. And the service is inconsistent. Still, we go there.

  34. POSTED BY claremont  |  October 22, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    What many places don’t get in this town is you have to have a great theme, good food, service what is efficient and etc. The Station in UM lasted as long as it did purely for the fact that they offer drinks. The license comes from NJ Transit. So now we have a new place coming, I hope to hell they have a great chef and amazing food because if they don’t, they will fail. Not microwaved food, not a huge menu but something unique. If this person comes from CA I am not sure how that plays into anything. This is a different market. Well we shall see because it is a wonderful place if done well.

  35. POSTED BY sheepy  |  October 22, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    Montclair has 26 liquor licenses. 12 Package and 12 Consumption plus 2 issued by NJ Transit.

  36. POSTED BY bloomfield mama  |  October 22, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Montclair Station…the food was okay, but it was overpriced. I think they raised prices to make up for lack of customers. And I think there was lack of customers because it was just a weird ambiance. I think structurally there needed to be more separation between the bar and the dining tables. You could be at the bar wanting to drink and watch a game, but then there would be a table full of kids a few feet away. The decor got better over time, but for the longest time it was painted a really bright yellow and was not a bar atmosphere at all. So, it felt like having a drink in a breakfast joint or something. Just something about it never really felt good. Weird ambiance, weird acoustics – but then a menu that was suited for a bar. Some place should open that can turn the space into a more happening location. Use that liquor license to your advantage.

  37. POSTED BY PAZ  |  October 22, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

    In my close to 40 years in Montclair & environs, we have always sought out the BYOB eateries. Your own wine or beer is the best choice (most of the time) and keeps the bill down at the end of the dinner so you can save a little cha-ching to pay off your parking tickets.

  38. POSTED BY bloomfield mama  |  October 22, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

    I like beer on draft more than from a bottle. And, I love a good cocktail. BYOB has it’s place, but Montclair really needs a GOOD bar. Egan’s is good, but always too loud and busy.

  39. POSTED BY lauren  |  October 22, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    Shrimpalert, try Mes Reves in Bloomfield for wonderful French.

    Silverleaf, do I hear an In N Out coming our way ;-)?

  40. POSTED BY cathar  |  October 22, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    There is a very good bar in your own Bloomfield, bloomfieldmama. It’s called Obal’s Inn and it cuts Egan’s in most every way. Friendly people, decent bar food, fair prices, absolutely no pretensions.

  41. POSTED BY Kristin  |  October 22, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    I was very sad to hear about Sweet Potato & Pecan, even though I can’t eat most of what they served. My father told me they made the best Goat Curry he’d ever had in his 70+ years. I was hoping to order from them during the next visit.

  42. POSTED BY johnleesandiego  |  October 23, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    Breaking News : Montclair Station is reopening as a kebab house to be called “Horse and Bayonet” – I read it on the internet so you know its true.

  43. POSTED BY bloomfield mama  |  October 23, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Obals? Gag me. Okay for a beer, maybe. But the food is subpar and definitely not where I’d ever wanna order a cocktail.

    Fitzgerald’s is good. It just doesn’t have too much of a bar area. I like Cloverleaf in Caldwell, but that’s a long drive. Bar Cara’s bar area is nice and food is nice.

  44. POSTED BY lucylou  |  October 23, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    I do miss Trend. Elliott, the owner, was completely overwhelmed by his 80 hour a week schedule and moved to Florida. His partner (the Money Man) took over Trend, and couldn’t seem to make it work. So much money was spent expanding the store, which looked gorgeous. I will miss Elliott’s pies, from his grandmother’s recipes. So, where do we go now? Red Eye Cafe?

  45. POSTED BY Conan  |  October 23, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    The Horse and Bayonet is a Gastro-pub in a small, suburban shopping center just outside of Washington, D.C. It opened about 10:22 EDT last night and has been doing a very brisk business since. They serve tapas, fish & chips, and USDA Prime Roasted Politicians. (The Roasted Pols are quite expensive, though, because they are so difficult to clean.) Their signature cocktail is the Wannabe — gin, vodka, scotch, rye, etc., etc., etc., because no Wannabe can ever have too much of anything. The clientele are mostly white, middle-aged-and-over males, who love to argue politics, art, music, women in binders, and sports. They are a veritable font of misinformation, but they are perfectly equipped to handle whatever crisis may befall them here in the early 20th century.

  46. POSTED BY getaclue  |  October 23, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    Epernay just offered a Living Social deal that doesn’t expire for 6 months, looks like they were trying to bilk some out of their cash, good riddance, don’t need scum like this in town, plenty of good restaurants in town, turnover is good.

  47. POSTED BY getaclue  |  October 23, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Epernay just swindled over $12,000!!!! sold 430 at $30……

  48. POSTED BY bloomfield mama  |  October 23, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

    Epernay doesnt get all $30 from each groupon…just a fraction of that. And, Groupon will end up refunding all the money for vouchers not honored. So, Epernay probably ends up losing money. Or, groupon does.

  49. POSTED BY nazlo  |  October 23, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    Montclair Station – so-so; only went there ‘cuz I could bring my dog
    Egan’s? meh
    Obal’s? OK – you’ll fare much better at Tierney’s [“A Bar with a Grill” – their words]
    Fitzgerald’s – overpriced, ear-splittingly loud with food that’s not even mediocre.

    A little bit of a schlep, but try St. James Gate in Maplewood

  50. POSTED BY cathar  |  October 23, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    Bloomfieldmama, no one is saying Obal’s is a “gastro-pub.” And if you want a “cocktail,” there are pricier, far more pretentious places.

    But you said you wanted a bar, by which I naively assumed you want a place in which to drink seriously and to perhaps fill your belly up with cooked carbs while drinking. There Obal’s succeeds beautifully.

    Nor does one have to go to Maplewood to St. James’ Gate, which is way too prefab and studied for me. (It actually seems to have endured the hand of a decorator.) There is always, for those who treasure raunch, either the Great Notch Inn in Totowa or Dingo’s Den in Clifton. These are “bar bars,” where they do not want to know from Midori Sours or the sort of pricey, involved concoctions Holly Korus comes up with here.

  51. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  October 23, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

    Crankypants, if you want a good old fashioned joint, that’s just fine but don’t start messin’ with Holly. She’s a local gem.

  52. POSTED BY barryh  |  October 23, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    We really enjoyed Montclair Station and are sad to see it closed. Mondo’s was another nice restaurant that seems to have closed recently.

  53. POSTED BY PAZ  |  October 23, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

    The old man used to take me to Stanley’s bar & grill in Belleville when I was a kid. The backroom served great homestyle food with a great roasted half chicken on Sunday. The boozehounds would clutter the front bar in a haze of cigarette smoke. The local gin mills aren’t what they used to be but in some ways better without the smoke but a good bartender probably still has a rubber truncheon behind the bar.

  54. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  October 23, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    A little about Epernay: Their short ribs and escargot were the best in the area. Now that they are closing, I am open to suggestions as to where to find some good snails. I enjoyed this restaurant. The food was consistent and if you spoke with the staff you would realize how much they loved working there. When I got the email that they were closing, we went there last night. We tried things on the menu that we always said we’d get around to eating but never did; partly because we had our favorites, but wholly because we thought that there would be another time. We shared our memories with the staff, and they invited us behind the counter to teach us how to make crepes. I looked around the room looking for something to take with me. A menu, a salt shaker. Something that would remind me of Epernay. Instead we left with fond memories of celebrations of good cuisine.

    Muscle Maker and Albert’s locations will be a revolving door of renovations and name changing, albeit with the same owners changing the menu but not the staff. Restaurants in Montclair aren’t affected by a liquor license or location. If they have a staff that makes you feel like a regular and a menu that makes you wish you had the recipe is all it takes to last.

    Epernay did not swindle money from anyone. Living Social allows you to exchange your voucher for any reason. Whether the deal expired before you had a chance to use it, the business closes or if you just have buyer’s remorse. They offered a deal for other reasons. The loyal staff that stuck with them while the tables were empty now have a chance to fill the room with patrons who will tip on the full value of the deal as they figure out their next career. This restaurant lasted 12 years. I can’t say that the next 12 years will be so kind to that space.

  55. POSTED BY shiftynj  |  December 27, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    While we’re taking about bars that serve food, what about the Old Canal Inn?

    Was to Montclair Station for lunch a few times. I did not think the interior had any personality at all, it was more like a waiting room than the old station building was.

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