Nestled in Montclair New Jersey, about 15 miles west of Manhattan, there’s a corner coffee shop that every local knows. In sits in the historic Watchung Plaza which is well-known for its “main street” vibes and mom-and-pop shops. In this plaza, locals and tourists alike can enjoy the culinary crafts of true artisans, those who stand defiantly in the face of “big coffee” and “big food.”
Aptly named “Local Coffee”, this independently owned coffee shop has established itself as not just a great place for breakfast and a caffeine fix, but as a social gathering hub where people actually put their phone down and talk face-to-face for once.
Speaking of “mom-and-pop” shops, Local Coffee is run by owners Robert & Adele, who have two children of their own. The family-owned vibe is apparent the second you set foot in the door. We caught up with Robert to ask about the shop, its history, and how it vibes with Modern Oats.
How and when did Local Coffee get started?
R: Local was started from a passion to develop a well-designed, socially minded, best-in-class, traditional coffee shop. Traditional in that we want you to taste the coffee and appreciate the process by which it arrived in your cup. Socially minded in that we developed the space to encourage social interactions and discourage all day work activity (there’s plenty of shops you can go to for that). Also, we are intimately involved in our wonderful Montclair community.
What’s the most rewarding part about running a café?
R: The most rewarding aspect is the immediate positive feedback from serving our community.
What’s the toughest?
R: The toughest part is the physicality of the job. There’s a lot of lifting behind the scenes (but we love every second of it).
Is there anything that sets Local Coffee apart from the competition?
R: There are a number of things that set us apart but at the top of the list is our amazing team. They love what they do and it shows.
Why do you feel Modern Oats is a good fit for your customers?
R: Learning about Modern Oats was a serendipitous moment as we were actively seeking an oatmeal partner but couldn’t find the right fit. Everything in our shop is highly curated and are our favorite products. On an out-of-town trip to a Lacrosse tourney this past Spring, we discovered Modern Oats on a quest for a delicious and nutritious snack and it was love at first bite.
Is there a clear favorite flavor among them?
R: Yikes, tough to pick a favorite among the group but Vermont Maple is our go-to.
Anything else you’d like to add?
R: Yes! Our relationship is just that, a relationship. We never feel like we’re just a commerce opportunity for Modern Oats and we appreciate that.
Local Coffee can be found at 107 Watchung Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey. They’re a short drive from both Newark and Manhattan making them easily accessible, but far enough out that they never lost their small-town vibe.
The next time you’re in the Montclair area, swing on by and become part of the family.