Baristanet Profile: Paul Brubaker

Name: Paul Brubaker

Where do you live? Montclair, near Edgemont Park’s new circular driveway. We get to hear the Montclair Community Band every Sunday morning. Did you know they played when it snowed?

When did you move there? 1997, after renting for a year and a half on St. Luke’s Place. I still miss that apartment.

Where did you grow up? At a concert by The Tubes, Capitol Theater, Passaic, N.J. 

But I took my first breath in Washington, D.C., and spent my childhood in Cary, N.C., Hockessin, Del. and Mendham, N.J.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I run the Communications Department at Paterson Public Schools. It’s a job that allows me to draw from my experiences as a high school history teacher, award-winning journalist (who had covered Montclair!), government communications director, and parent of children who attend public schools. I’m always writing, always talking, always on a deadline, and always 100 percent grateful to the journalists who have been bravely covering the news of our district throughout the pandemic. 

Coffee, tea or … ? Usually, it’s one cup in the morning, and that’s it. But I will say that The Paper Plane Coffee Company’s Vincent Vega coffee soda is mind-alteringly good. 

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? 

Coffee and NYT news quiz with my wife, Lynette. 25 minutes of meditation. Join other parents cheering our kids on at a soccer game. Bike ride with the kids to the farmers market where we get tacos from the Mezoco truck. Cook something we never made before. Screen a great movie. Play guitar. Write something. Drink a wine my wife picked or have a beer with a neighbor.   

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

You want me to choose ONE? In THIS town? Here’s how my neurons fire: Italian = da Pepo, Italian with a blazer and nicer shoes = Fascino, Burgers, Wings and Rings = Tierney’s, Chinese = T.S. Ma, Jewish Deli = Mikki & Al’s Noshery, Fried Chicken = Turtle + Wolf, Soul Food  = Café Moso, Can’t decide = Raymond’s. Want to know where in Montclair these places are? See the Shop.Eat.Repeat.Montclair campaign developed by The LHB Group at on Instagram and Facebook

What’s on your nightstand? 

One lamp. One iWatch charger. One iPhone charger. One picture of our twin daughters when they were born. One copy of Ron Chernow’s Grant. One copy of David Byrne’s How Music Works. One copy of The Village: A History of Greenwich Village by John Strausbaugh. Suddenly, I’m realizing why my earning potential has been limited. 

What are you listening to? Podcasts about World War I. They help me fall asleep. David Byrne’s American Utopia. Everything by The Smithereens

What are your current indulgences? Guanciale. It’s the cheek of a pig and a key ingredient in spaghetti carbonara. (Thanks, Stanley Tucci’s Searching For Italy!)

What talent you would most like to have? Carpentry.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair (or your town)? 

Montclair’s greatest natural resource is the children of the community, and we should be doing everything we can to help them achieve their potential, pursue or create opportunities to delve into their interests, and work together to make the community better in a spirit of mutual respect and appreciation. Our own children got a great early boost toward these goals at the Montclair Community Pre-K, where I have been a board member since 2015.    

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? The first line in the movie, Moonstruck. “He looks great!”


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