Red Eye Coffeehouse Offers More Than a Fresh Blend.
We’re lucky residents here in Montclair; we get our pick of shops, restaurants & bars, and cafés. Not every town has the luxury of a quaint yet thriving downtown, and certainly no other town has Red Eye. If you’re looking for an eclectic café with heart and soul, Red Eye is your coffeehouse.
I took a walk in last Monday for lunch and the manager, Peter Lang, ushered me into the laid-back, friendly vibe that is Red Eye. The smell of freshly brewed coffee consumed the café’s bright interior. Upbeat tunes like Altered Images’ “Happy Birthday” played in the background. Shady garden seating lines the exterior wall, too, but it’s the people that make this place great.
My waitress, Samantha, recommended their regular drip coffee, “It is excellent,” she says, “but most people come for a cappuccino or a latte.” Samantha also advised Red Eye’s espresso to be “out of this world!” They use Intelligencia beans, a brand based out of Chicago.
After taking back an espresso, I have to agree with Samantha – it was rich and flavorful. I also ordered the mango and grilled chicken sandwich special—a mouthwatering blend of flavors complete with strawberries, arugula, balsamic vinaigrette, and herb mayo on toasted ciabatta bread. It comes with a mixed green salad lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette—a delightful compliment to the sandwich. Everything is fresh and fantastic.
It was quickly obvious; Red Eye’s customers come for the coffee and stay for the atmosphere. Jennifer and Dan of Roseland sat at the table to my left with their adorable 20-month-old daughter. They visit Montclair restaurants regularly, and Red Eye is their favorite, “The atmosphere and friendly service can’t be beat. The quality of food is so much better than other restaurants, and the prices are reasonable.”
I chatted with Lang, whose passion and dedication for Red Eye struck me by no surprise. His level of commitment translates to his staff and infuses the café with heart and soul. I pointed out the books that line the wall opposite our table, “Those are part of the owner’s personal library. A lot of people mark their places with bookmarks or dog-ears so they can continue reading when they come back. We have conversations, not just cold interaction,” he says. Lang was proud to say he and his customers care to chat beyond ‘hi’ and ‘thank you,’ “It’s neat to have a place in town that still holds onto that café culture.”
Red Eye is located at 94 Walnut Street in Montclair.