The construction workers at the corner of E. Ridgewood and Oak St. must have be getting a bit annoyed – as they fit old bricks into the exterior of the older Washington Mutual Bank building, scores of people each day continued to ask, "Hey, what are they putting here?"
By Friday, the mystery had been removed and their breath was saved – a white sign with red lettering notes the upcoming arrival of .
"We are very excited to come and we are really looking forward to being here," said Joanne Ricci, co-owner of Raymond's, as she poured hot cocoa for passersby during the Downtown for the Holidays celebration. "We're getting a lot of support and people are excited to have us coming. That makes Ray [Badach, co-owner] and I really thrilled."
Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until summer of 2012 to savor some of the specialities. But that didn't stop Ricci from beginning community outreach on Dec. 2, greeting the folks of Ridgewood and enticing them with the out-of-this-world french toast.
The Montclair restaurant, now in its 22nd year, is one of the most notable brunch outposts in the state.
"It's the best french toast in the universe," Ricci laughed. "We pay a lot of attention to the quality of the ingredients we use. We get our eggs from a farm up in Sussex county and it's better than organic," she added.
When open, the space will be slightly bigger than its existing sister in Montclair. The design team, known for its work on Balthazar and Keith McNally in Manhattan, is getting to work to transform the space, Ricci told Patch. The look will retain the classical 1930s Parisian flair with reclaimed subway tiles, old brick and the Montclair archway.
But there will be a few changes, Ricci said.
"Because we're starting from scratch and we have a little more room, there will be a few things we can do here [that] we just can't do in Montclair because of the physical space. Still, you're going to know you're in Raymond's."
The casual American bistro, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday. It will open at 8 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. on Sundays.
While best known for breakfast and brunch, Raymond's will be pushing lunch and dinner fare too.
"We want to be here for whatever people are looking for," Ricci said. "It's not a 24-hour diner but we try to keep things at a very accessible price point, with things people really want to eat and in an environment that is really comfortable and inviting."