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Raymond's Opening Not Yet Determined, Co-Owner Says

Long-awaited, the brunch transplant from Montclair will be unveiling the famous French toast sometime next week, a source tells Patch.

It's beginning to look a lot like Raymond's. The oft-delayed opening of the dynamo brunch spot on the corner of East Ridgewood Avenue and Oak Street still remains unclear, co-owner Joanne Ricci said Tuesday, disputing an earlier report on Patch.

A source told Patch the restaurant had aims to do a friends and family opening on the weekend with plans to open to the public sometime next week.

Ricci says the restaurant does not yet have a certificate of occupancy and has made no determination as to when the brunch spot will open.

The restaurant has spent the last month building a staff and implementing training.

Raymond's first acquired what once housed Washington Mutual Bank in 2011 and projected an opening in summer of 2012.

The Ridgewood location will be slightly larger than the original Montclair location and will retain the classical 1930s Parisian flair with reclaimed subway tiles, old brick and an archway.

"It's the best french toast in the universe," Ricci said in late 2011. "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."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this report cited a source claiming the restaurant would open next week. The report has been updated to reflect comments made by Raymond's co-owner Joanne Ricci disputing those claims.

John Hahn December 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I love the look of it. It makes me think it could be in Paris. Don't ask me why. I have never been to Paris.
anonymous December 04, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Do they have a liquor license?
James Kleimann December 04, 2012 at 03:25 PM
No liquor license.
anonymous December 04, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Why is it so hard to get a liquor license in Ridgewood? While Ridgewood has a lot of restaurants, I think they could invite an even higher caliber of restaurant if they were able to guarantee some profit from the sale of beer and wine.
James Kleimann December 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Liquor licenses are issued by the Alcohol Beverage Control. Unless the law has changed, my understanding is one plenary license (bars and restaurants) in a municipality comes with every 3,000 in population. There are also situations where "pocket licenses" are held; basically an owner can hold multiple liquor licenses. In a town like Ridgewood, a liquor license can easily go for more than $500,000.
SusieHomeMaker December 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
love raymonds in montclair !!! great homemade marshmallows & fab hot chocolate ... plus sayer got a job there!! its all good!!!!
Ridgewood Mom 26 December 04, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Ooooo I hope it's not mobbed, because I can't wait to go!
Harlan Consider December 04, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I have always been baffled by the whole liquor license deal in this country. Why do we have it? To control alcohol consumption? I doubt it, as I can take in any amount of my own stuff and drink away. Pretty much the rest of the civilized world has little to no regulation when it comes to restaurants selling alcohol. Almost every little coffee shop and tiny eatery in Europe has bottles of wine and liquor for its customers.
Brian December 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
There are 5 liquor licenses in Ridgewood. Smith Brothers, Blend, Office, MacMurphy's, Park West Glen Rock has 4: Jalapenos, Glen Rock Inn, Greek Tavern place, Athletic Club The mystery is why the Blend liquor license has for decades turned over from one disaster to another without ever being able to stabilize and make money. Sure there is that hefty upfront cost of the license and space. But it has been a trail of tears in that space from the Russian White House to some pool hall/bar to the current place that never seems to be open. It would be fantastic to get another good restaurant option into that space. Think Bacarri Grill or El Cid or a real wine bar or even what Blend was supposed to be before it became a dirty night club. Some nice food with a bar scene as well would be really great in downtown. The promise of having that liquor license seems so great but the space just seems destined to fail.
James Kleimann December 04, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I will have to check into this, but I believe there are more than five actual licenses in Ridgewood. I believe there are seven; several are being pocketed. Again, I'd have to look more into it. As far as Glen Rock goes, I think the athletic club holds a different class of license. I believe that's a club license, not a plenary retail license as you would see at a Smith Brothers, Office, GR Inn, etc. Would you guys be interested in me doing a story on liquor licenses?
RdgwdGRock December 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Yogi to a friend "Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore, it is too crowded"
dara brown December 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM
There is the license from "Blend' and there is another 'pocket license',( i THINK the one that the guy from the old Moma Rosa's had that came from the old "Esposito's). If memory serves me correctly, the town is in possession of that license, and tried to sell it with a minimum bid of $600,000 a few years ago, with no takers.
Ridgewood Mom 26 December 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I suspect it is yet another money maker, and that's why we have to have it. $500,000 (or more) is a nice chunk of change for the Village. Personally, I'd prefer that a restaurant NOT have a liquor license, and then I can bring my own, which is often better and cheaper anyway!
Brian December 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
An article on liquor licenses would be interesting to me. A tangent off the main article would be some reaction to the NJ wine exemption and whether that program is successful for the restaurants/wine makers that are participating. (does it include NJ beer as well?) What are the rules? Can anyone just offer NJ wine or do you need special licenses/insurance? Also, if there really is a license for $600k just sitting there maybe the Village should require the developer of Sealfons to include that license as part of the development. A restaurant down there with a license might help to improve foot traffic south of the movie theater. A condo community would offer a built in audience as well.
Joanne Ricci December 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hi all, I am co-owner of Raymond's. This article was published without fact-checking. We do not have a CO yet, and must still pass an inspection in order to open. We are not having private tastings, and have not committed to an opening date. We appreciate everyone's anticipation and good wishes and want to be sure that we are as ready as we can be before we open.
AMAMOM December 04, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Elks club too.
Brian December 04, 2012 at 08:11 PM
We appreciate you posting but there is no need to be so snippy. Jamie was giving you free publicity in anticipation of your opening and your response was to take a shot at his fact checking. I don't see that he did any harm in reporting a story as he was told it. This seems like an honest mistake regarding a fluid situation. Perhaps you could simply add the information you have instead of attacking the author. I hope you are more receptive to the community and welcoming of people who patronize your restaurant. I have to say this post really leaves a pretty bad first impression for those of us who don't know your other restaurants.
RdgwdGRock December 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
...and in other "news", royal couple expecting quintuplets. this is from a reliable source only to Patch
Alfreddie December 04, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Hi Joanne, I didn't find your response to be snippy. You were appreciative and informative. Thank you for your participation on this site. My whole family Loves Raymonds in Montclair and are looking forward to your opening, whenever it is, here in Ridgewood!
Harlan Consider December 04, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Brian: I have re-read Joanne's comment about three times now. Where on earth do you get "snippy" from?
Brian December 04, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Really?? How about we start with the part where she writes: “This article was published without fact-checking.” This statement is untrue. It is not that there was no fact checking. It is that the sources which were checked did not get the story correct. There is a comment by the author as to his sources regarding the CO. I also read the following sentence with emphasis added: “We DO NOT have a CO yet, and must still pass an inspection in order to open. We ARE NOT having private tastings, and HAVE NOT committed to an opening date.” --There is no reason to state this in the negative instead of just providing the facts. And the closing sentence: "[we] want to be sure that we are as ready as we can be before we open." --It sounds like it is a burden that potential customers are excited about her opening. Sure she says Thank you but then quickly shifts to a dismissive tone. My suggested rewrite: “Thank you for all in the interest in Raymond’s. It really warms our hearts to know so many of you are so excited about our opening. I am an owner and I just wanted to clarify a couple things from the above post. We are in fact waiting on a CO which requires an inspection. Once we get the CO, we will be moving on to some friends and family tastings and will then set an opening date. We are very excited and very anxious and can't wait to open as soon as possible. We will be sure to update Patch as soon as we set an opening date.“
Ridgewood Mom December 05, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Welcome Raymonds!
Dan Johnson December 05, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I think they do have a liquior license. They also are threatened with the CO inspection of which Ridgewood is notorious. I can understand why they are scared. The inspectors are not something the village should not be proud of.
Michael December 05, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Ridgewood building department has been the death of many a village business. Add an irate owner and it could be a ton of money flushed down the drain. You have to sell a lot of French toast to pay for a year and a half build-out.
Mikka H December 05, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Irate? why not.....listening to someone like brian and having to get a CO in this town is enough to make anyone bonkers....
Anonymous Guy December 05, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The CO process in Ridgewood is ridiculous, however, they should be able to get a TCO if they are mostly there and the punch list items are not life threatening. Unfortunately Ridgewood continues to suffer from a building department that's run like a Fiefdom and not like a building department. Best of luck to Raymond's, a welcome addition!
MG December 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Joanne you should not nit pick when free advertising is involved.
ann m December 05, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Joanne was not snippy, some just have to find a negative in everything... Can't wait until you open....
Steve December 07, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Yes! You are right! We need yet another restaurant in Ridgewood! I hope one opens up in the Blend space like you suggest, since Raymond's is only the latest one to be opening soon! When are we going to change the name of our town to "Village of Restaurants".
Steve December 07, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Some people (Brian) have waaaaay too much time on their hands...and get offended at anything (Brian). Life's short. Lighten up. Sometimes things in writing don't come out the way they're intended, folks. Let's not rush to judgement here just to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

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