If you're tired of the same old cup of coffee or the totally predictable fast-food lunch or snack, perhaps it's time to venture out of your comfort zone and pay a visit to the Latin Quarter Café in the heart of Springfield. You'll enjoy the experience and the food.
Located at 247 Morris Avenue between Mountain Avenue and Center Street, the Latin Quarter serves a coffee and espresso from beans imported from South America and Africa. The beans are roasted and ground on premises, so fresh has a whole, new meaning. If you want a cup of java that really wakes you up, try the Colombian. Its deep flavor is not for the faint of heart. This is coffee as it was meant to be—strong and packed with bracing flavor. And for those who prefer a mellower, smoother coffee, there's a delicious Kenyan brew.
A Taste-tempting Menu, no Fried Foods
The Latin Quarter Café, open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, offers take-out primarily. Patrons can call 973-921-0221 to order in advance and then pick up their fare or have it delivered.
But if you have time to relax, do it. The Latin Quarter has two tiny tables, four chairs and three stools—not enough for a crowd but ideal for pleasant conversation with a few friends over steaming coffee. If you're hungry—and the aromas from the kitchen will tempt you—there are arepas, tasty corncakes with cheese, emapanadas, the classic Latin American turnovers with light, flaky crusts and a variety of well-seasoned fillings. On a really cold, blustery day, the black bean soup will warm your soul.
Other choices are Cuban sandwiches, barbecue chicken, bagels and croissants with a variety of spreads, meats or cheeses, and French, Chilean or Spanish omelets.
Perhaps best of all in these stressful times, everything is recession-priced. The manager, Rafael Corredor, says he wants to offer an alternative to pricier coffee shops—more menu choices, fresher coffee, high quality and lower prices.
The Romance of Latin Home Cooking
The Latin Quarter Café opened in early December, a chilly time—weather-wise and economically—for any new venture to begin. Rafael Corredor is entrepreneurial. His optimism shines through his smile and engaging conversation. He's an experienced restaurant operator, having run Mexico Lindo in Chatham and Fulton Milano in Rahway in past years. On top of that, he holds a Ph.D. in economics from the National University of Columbia, the country he hails from. He retired from teaching at schools such as Kean University, Brooklyn College, Montclair State, and William Paterson College. Now, he pursues his other lifelong passion—cooking and serving delicious meals with a Latin theme.
To Rafael, Latin cuisine covers a broad geography. He views the Latin world as one that includes all the romance language countries—not only Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, but also Romania, parts of Africa, and the whole of South and Central America. Over the centuries, each of these countries has made important culinary contributions. As a chef, he draws on all these influences. For your next cup of coffee, snack or inexpensive lunch, step into the Latin Quarter Café.