Brunch at The Tiny Elephant.
Over the last couple of years, Montclair’s cafe culture has started booming. One of the more popular additions to the town has been the Tiny Elephant, a cozy little cafe nestled in the bustling and ever-changing Watchung Plaza. For any restaurant, holding your own in upper Montclair’s main eating area can seem like a struggle, but The Tiny Elephant has done so with a good attitude, a delectable selection of food and bakeries and a distinctly Montclair feel to the place.
The cafe is located at 54 Fairfield St., next to Watchung Booksellers. It is directly connected to the bookstore, which adds an individual style. Being able to search Watchung Booksellers wonderful selection of books while you wait for your meal is a truly enjoyable experience. To some, the placing of the cafe can seem out of the way, but the Tiny Elephant’s outdoor seating can often be seen packed with content eaters, soaking up the summer daylight and breathing in the fresh Montclair air. Outdoor dining in Montclair has faltered recently due to the additions of many sit-in restaurants, but the Tiny Elephant almost dares those that aren’t already infatuated by the delicate cafe by putting happy customers on display to the town residents that pass by.
With a menu like that, it would be very hard to not be a happy customer. For breakfast, the Tiny Elephant works with traditional egg dishes that are both homey and expertly made. These include a simple avocado and eggs on toast and a delicious huevos rancheros wrap (which I would personally recommend) that is made with eggs, black beans, avocado and a house-made pico de gallo. The lunch menu provides wider selection of the cafe’s meals, including a unique but expertly made pear and prosciutto sandwich and salads that range from fennel and beet slaw to BBQ chicken ranch. Along with this, the cafe also offers a wide range of tasty baked goods such as cookies and cakes.
To get an insight into how it is manageable to uphold such a friendly atmosphere with food that is great, I spoke to a former employee. Sasha Baker formerly worked at the cafe, and had only positive things to say about the management and job. “I applied to the Tiny Elephant because of how positive it seemed,” said Baker. “Alison Meade and Dana Bachan who run the cafe are professional and understand how to make people value experience as well as food, which I saw as important.”
The management has visibly made efforts to live up to their mantra: “small place, big taste.”