Happy Valentine’s Day! One of the things I LOVE about Montclair is the fact that I don’t have to leave town to shop, eat, or play. One of my very favorite stores for both gifts and practical cooking needs is Olive That and More in Upper Montclair. I never thought I would actually crave olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but this store has me hooked. This store is family run and the owners will inspire you to try their products in new ways. I will be dipping some strawberries in their chocolate balsamic today for sure! If you like to cook or even eat, this store is essential. It was recently voted Best Storefront/Window for 2015! in the Best of Essex poll and the interior of the store is equally inviting. When I think of an artisanal food store, I don’t always think kid-friendly, but the store owners of Olive That and More have young children themselves and will welcome your whole family when you come in the door. They even have a toy bin for the kids and a bench for parents to sit and take a breather. It’s a great place to pop into when you’re getting off the train or shopping in Upper Montclair.
I also have to say that a huge part of the charm of this store is that it’s family run and owned by Jennifer and Steve, individuals who not only want to sell their product, but bring the community together. They host events, cooking workshops, and recently even a chocolate tasting at their store. Montclair draws such warm, interesting people, said store owner Jennifer, we enjoy getting to know everyone. People are drawn to olive oil for very different reasons, it may be a memory of home cooked meals, but it can also be for healthful benefits, weight loss, or incorporated into beauty routines and daily care. People are always coming in to share their personal stories with us about friends and family. When I asked Jennifer why they chose Montclair and their Upper Montclair neighborhood for the store she said, So many of the residents of Montclair are self-proclaimed foodies, home chefs, and have a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and shopping local, it seemed like a perfect setting. After visiting several locations around Montclair, karma took over and we were presented with our current location – The Garden Shop at 246 Bellevue Avenue, the aesthetic created by the previous shop owner provided inspiration for the store’s decor. Close to the train station, Valley Road, Bellevue Theater, and Anderson Park, we couldn’t have designed a better spot for a store that invites individuals to come in and taste the flavors of the world. We always wanted the store to be an extension of our home, from the bench out front, to the dining room table as the centerpiece, complete with a toy chest for kids–we wanted you to feel comfortable here, an invited guest. In addition to that, we wanted Olive That and More to be a place where you might want to gather with friends and share stories that you would share over good food….travels, recipes, health, history.