Baristanet Profile: Daniel Lawson

Name: Daniel Lawson

Where do you live? Near Mountainside Hospital in Montclair. Our backyard is in Glen Ridge, and our front yard is in Montclair!

When did you move there? We moved to Montclair in 1998.  We originally lived on Harrison across from Porter Park. We had a huge house that had rooms we wouldn’t go in for months at a time.  So we decided to get a more practical house and that’s how we ended up where we are now.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a very small farm town called Connersville in Indiana.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? I am a costume designer. I currently design costumes for “Evil” on CBS as well as for “The Good Fight” for CBS AllAccess. I am also a brand ambassador for women’s wear line Lafayette 148NY.

Coffee, tea or … ? I love a good cappuccino – I’m looking at you, The Corner!

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Hanging out at home for the whole weekend! I start both Saturday and Sunday at one of my favorite places in town, the gym, D’Fit. I LOVE that gym. It’s a great place to workout with an amazing staff. In the summer, we’ll spend the day in our backyard which is kind of a little oasis with a pool.  And if we’re really lucky, it will be canasta night! We play canasta once a month with 3 other couples. We always have cocktails and a wonderful meal, and then we get down to a good game of canasta! If it’s winter, the weekend is spent cooking, baking and enjoying a fire in the livingroom.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? I have a couple of daytime restaurants my whole family loves: The Corner and Luisa Bakery and Café. For evening, Ariane Kitchen and Bar in Verona is just the best – great drinks, excellent food, lovely atmosphere. We are huge fans of Ariane’s delicious cooking, and her husband, Mike, always makes us feel so welcome and comfortable. They hosted our wedding reception several years ago when they had Culinariane in Montclair.  We were so sad when they left the neighborhood, but then they opened the Kitchen and Bar and we were thrilled! I start every meal there with Ariane’s cornmeal crusted oysters with horseradish sauce! The best! For a more casual, quick dinner we are huge Ani Ramen fans. Absolutely delicious – I actually fantasize about their pork buns!

What’s on your nightstand? I have a great midcentury lamp I bought at an auction in NYC years ago when I lived in Brooklyn. I have an alarm clock – very old school. I have my current book I’m reading about Elaine Stritch called Still Here. I have this great malachite green tiled box with a metal whale handle on it I bought at Home Goods for $7!  I still haven’t decided if it’s really ugly or really cool. And I have one of those chargers you can just set your phone on to recharge. I seldom have my phone in my bedroom, but when I do it’s nice to get a quick and easy charge!

What are you listening to? Old school!  I have been listening to Annie Lennox “Diva” and “Medusa” a lot as well as Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits. 

What are your current indulgences? Talenti’s coconut, chocolate, almond ice cream! And I love having a massage at Elements on Bloomfield in Montclair. We are on their frequent flyer program there and it really makes getting a massage quite affordable. 

What talent you would most like to have? I wish I was more musical. I love to sing and I love to play the piano and I’m really, really rotten at both.  I remember once when my daughter wasn’t even a year old. I was rocking her to sleep one night and singing to her and suddenly this little hand came up and cupped my mouth shut. I thought “how cute – she’s stretching.” I put her arm back down and kept rocking and singing. And sure enough, she did it again. It was definitely a brutal critique of my singing!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? There is a little one block long street near downtown that I can always find a parking spot on!  Of course, I’m not going to say which street!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? I hope they say that I was a nice guy who was kind and funny – not to be confused with “kind of funny”.  Big difference.