Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Fine Grind


Curlz
 Share

Recommended Posts

A recent post on Baristanet pushed me to finally get over to The Fine Grind, a place I've had on my list for at least a year b/c they often have live music. While Little Falls may not be a culinary mecca (or maybe it is? Tell us!), I thought this place was charming, the coffee delicious, and prices more than reasonable enough to deserve a post.

Their baked goods range from biscotti to shortbread to muffins, and their substantial menu also included a long list of cupcakes (stuffed and otherwise). We shared a huge and delicious eggplant/mozz/arugula/red pepper panini; they also offer wraps and soups. From what I can tell all of their food is brought in from outside purveyors, but the panini is pressed on site in a panini grill, and the pumpkin muffin I had was also terrific.

Imo, places like this are worth the side trip, most esp if they're running a billboard campaign across the street from StarBUCKS. :biggrin: Easy to get to off of Rts 23 or 46, and hey--you can hit Maria's Ravioli after you get your caffeine fix! Nice spot to grab coffee/dessert, too.

The Fine Grind

480 Main Street

Little Falls

web site

Hours

Monday - Thursday • 7am - 10pm

Friday • 7am - midnight

Saturday • 8am - midnight

Sunday • 8am - 8pm

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second on Fine Grind. My girlfriend and I went there once and we have a friend who works there. She's learning how to actually put together the coffee blends and such herself. It's a real legit coffee house. Plus the cupcakes come from a bakery in Nutley whose name I forget, but they make a Nutella cupcake that is not to be missed.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since its around the corner from my office (which I visit once or twice a week), I am going to have to give them a shot...anything will be better than *$s

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since its around the corner from my office (which I visit once or twice a week), I am going to have to give them a shot...anything will be better than *$s

I Love the Fine Grind, it is very homey and everyone is very friendly. I love the different drinks - and especially the stuffed cupcakes. I try to spot by a couple of times a week. GO Rhonda!!! Great Billboard!! :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A recent post on Baristanet pushed me to finally get over to The Fine Grind, a place I've had on my list for at least a year b/c they often have live music.  While Little Falls may not be a culinary mecca (or maybe it is? Tell us!), I thought this place was charming, the coffee delicious, and prices more than reasonable enough to deserve a post. 

Separate topic, but I've heard that the Japanese restaurant on Main St. (where the Portuguese restaurant used to be, and before that an Italian restaurant) is very good. Anyone know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Separate topic, but I've heard that the Japanese restaurant on Main St. (where the Portuguese restaurant used to be, and before that an Italian restaurant) is very good. Anyone know?

Are you talking about Tomo's?

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried them today. The coffee is a huge improvement over the Starbucks around the corner. The small parking lot makes it very easy to stop and run in, without having to worry about parking on the street.

I like.

BTW, is the Japanese resto Sakuroku? The one on the corner? I've been there many times and really enjoy it. For sushi, they have the best in the area...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The Fine Grind is very quickly becoming my favorite area coffee house...last night I stopped in with a friend after another terrific meal at Chengdu 1. Why? Because after all of that spice/heat, I actually crave dessert (a rarity)! :wink:

The place was packed. Really packed. Full to capacity and then some; we were the first pair waiting for a table, but others came in shortly after we did, and were told that they should either come back in 20+ minutes, or perhaps take something to go (I should note that I loved the way the staff handled the customers who couldn't stay--they were friendly, professional, and just basically kind).

I had (very good) decaf, my friend had a vanilla coffee w/whipped cream, and we each ordered stuffed cupcakes from the lengthy list of flavors (I'd say there are at least 2 dozen options). Sadly, the only flavors available were the 2-3 listed on the specials board; they get a rotation of flavors from their supplier, which turns out to be...drumroll, please...The Petite Cafe in Nutley! From what I can see, all of the food that they sell at TFG is brought in from outside purveyors, and they've found some excellent suppliers, imo! There is a full description in the printed menu about how the owner stumbled upon The Petite Cafe and their cupcakes, and that's how they came to sell them. I ordered A Clockwork Orange, which was an orange cake filled w/orange and cream mousse and vanilla icing; he had a Butterscotch Kiss, a vanilla cupcake with butterscotch mousse and vanilla icing. We each allowed the other to take a bite, and agreed that the flavors were strong (in a VERY good way), and neither the cake nor the icing was too sweet (a peeve of mine-not a sugar freak, sorry!). My only complaint is that the cupcakes are kept in the fridge there, so they're served way too cold! I actually put my plate on top of the (ginormous) coffee mug so I could warm it up a bit. BUT. These were some seriously delicious cupcakes. And I rarely rave about desserts.

My pal took home a Boston Cream cupcake "for his son," so the bill for 3 cupcakes, 1 reg coffee and 1 'specialty' coffee came to just under $11. Most of the cupcakes are $2 each; larger ones are $2.75, iirc. VERY reasonable, imo!

If you don't like crowded small(ish) spaces, I'd suggest you try The Fine Grind on a weeknight first, or at lunchtime. But DO try it. :wink:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Fine Grind is very quickly becoming my favorite area coffee house...last night I stopped in with a friend after another terrific meal at Chengdu 1.  Why? Because after all of that spice/heat, I actually crave dessert (a rarity)!  :wink:

The place was packed.  Really packed.  Full to capacity and then some; we were the first pair waiting for a table, but others came in shortly after we did, and were told that they should either come back in 20+ minutes, or perhaps take something to go (I should note that I loved the way the staff handled the customers who couldn't stay--they were friendly, professional, and just basically kind). 

In case you missed it, Fine Grind's billboard was one of the lead stories on 1010 WINS late last week (I forget whether Thurs or Fri) - 3 times an hour, all day long - which might explain the crowds. They've gotten a ton of publicity from that. Good on 'em; I hope that the crowds last after the hubub dies down.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hadn't heard that, but I'm not surprised, since the NYT picked up on the billboard as well. I really get the feeling that they have a pretty big group of regulars already but if this is bringing more people in, good for them!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe we just hit it on an off day, but unfortunately, I haven't had the same great experience at Fine Grind as the rest of the world. We stopped by yesterday (Saturday) morning around 9am. There was 1 person ahead of us & the "barista" apparently couldn't take our order for two black coffees while waiting for the cappuccino machine to finish the other person's order. So there we stood for a good 10 minutes...waiting...for someone (anyone) to take our order. Around 9:10, another worker sauntered in & proceeded to tidy up around the counter instead of tending to the customers. Then she started buttering a roll for the customer ahead of me. Finally, the first worker asked the second worker to take our order instead of helping her! Then while getting our two black coffees, she answered the phone for a take-out order (first rule of retail: take care of the customers in the store first!).

They had two coffees of the day listed: a mild roast & dark roast (Guatemalan). We ordered the dark roast, but that was still brewing. So at this point, desperate for caffeine, we took the mild roast. Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that these are "real" coffee people running this store - this coffee was awful. So bad, that on the way home we stopped at Dunkin Donuts because it had to be better than this.

I know there are alot of *$ haters out there, but at least they know how to move the line along.

The funny thing is, we were on vacation in Mexico last week & the NY Times story on the Fine Grind made the faxed hotel edition of the paper. When we read that, we thought "hey, this is right in our town, we really should give this place a try." I think I'd be hard pressed to go back.

www.cookstour.netMy Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's too bad, but I noticed the same slow service when I was there. The barista was goofing and joking around with the customers in front of me. I'm all for a social interaction between customers and staff, but only if you are capable of working and joking at the same time. I still have to say that my coffee was much better than the coffee at Charbucks, though I haven't tried the drip coffee yet.

All in all, its still the best coffee I've had in the area.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting, but I guess I'm not surprised. I've been there 3-4 times now, and I have seen that happen once, but it was between the two young women working the counter. They were so busy joking around that my mom turned to me (we were sitting down at a table waiting to order food) and said "Um, this is a COFFEE house, right? You'd think the first thing she would do is bring me that cup of coffee I ordered." Then again, the owner was there when I was there on Fri night and the place was packed. That night, they seemed to be really efficient behind the counter and on the floor; I was facing the espresso/cappucino machine--the guy working it was a machine himself!

I guess it's the difference between the corporate environment and a local, independently-owned store. Still, you should be able to walk in and get a coffee to go without it taking more than a few minutes.

Tkrongold, I hope that you'll try it again, esp since they're in your town! Worth a second try, imo.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was back at the FG (yes, again) and I think I've figured out the a decent way to describe this place: it's rock and roll, not Mozart. I don't mean that in a nasty way; just in reality. You shouldn't expect to go in and find impeccable, efficient service; for that, my guess is you have to go to the corporate-owned giant. What I do see are decent manners and somewhat disjointed service, but a place that's comfortable with a great atmosphere and a nice overall vibe.

There are kids (KIDS! Since I'm double their age so I can say that) working there when the owner isn't and they're nice, but they're not fine dining staff members. They sit down at the adjoining table to take your order, they tell you which items they hate or love on the menu, and they b.s. with their friends and the regulars who come in, and they hang outside in the back to have a smoke. If you can go to there expecting that sort of atmosphere, I think it can be very enjoyable. And the coffee is great, as are the cupcakes! :biggrin:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm...not sure I agree with you, Curlz. I think if you are going to run a retail food service outlet (or any retail business for that matter) then you need to know how to provide good service. Believe me, I would never expect the service I get at a "fine dining" establishment, but I do expect "service." And I expect the workers (the kids) to know how to take my order & deliver the product efficiently & pleasantly. If not, then the owners hired the wrong people to take care of their investment while they are not on-site. And I don't think you have to go to a corporate-owned giant to get that. Bluestone in Montclair (packed with young help) provides good, efficient service (not to mention good coffee) but that's probably because the owner (or owners) trained the help properly.

If the coffee had been good, I probably would give it another try (& hope that the owners were working on the day I visited), but mediocre coffee + bad service = keep ordering beans from quality on-line vendors & brew at home!

www.cookstour.netMy Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TK, I completely agree with everything you said above--really! But I do think that these kids provide friendly (albeit slow and casual) service--and I do like the coffee there, 'tho I'm definitely no coffee expert. I do love Bluestone's coffee (and OMG, their zucchini bread!), but their hours don't always work for me. That's one of my go-to places in Montclair. Definitely a different 'vibe' from FG, though.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at FG last night. It wasn't my first time, but they saved my bacon with free, reliable wi-fi to do some remote reboots for work.

The service was pretty good, I think. I just wanted some chamomile tea and they were going to give it to me in a teapot and a cup, but when they saw me setting up a laptop, they noticed and asked if I'd rather have it in a mug. It was nice of them to notice since the less liquid by electronics, the better. :-)

It was pretty busy for a Monday night. Next time I go, it's going to be for the coffee. However, the Petite Café cupcakes are just as good a draw as ever.

They were attentive and working pretty well for kids last night; I didn't really get a "rock star" feel. If nothing else, they could do with hiring someone else for sure.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Rest assured that Fine Grind is still stocking Petite Cafe cupcakes as they relocate!

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rest assured that Fine Grind is still stocking Petite Cafe cupcakes as they relocate!

Stupid question here, but who is relocating? Fine Grind, or Petite Cafe?

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just for clarity, those cupcakes are NOT baked by FG. They are delivered daily by Nutley's The Petite Cafe (recently closed to relocate but still cranking out those awesome stuffed cupcakes). I don't mean to take any credit from FG (love the joint, too), but what's fair is fair: they are "imported" from Nutley (soon to be Lyndhurst) daily.

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...we each ordered stuffed cupcakes from the lengthy list of flavors (I'd say there are at least 2 dozen options).  Sadly, the only flavors available were the 2-3 listed on the specials board; they get a rotation of flavors from their supplier, which turns out to be...drumroll, please...The Petite Cafe in Nutley! 

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

which turns out to be...drumroll, please...The Petite Cafe in Nutley!
Ooh, sorry Curlz ... I don't know how I missed your "tribute" to TPC. But they ARE so good, it is always worth mentioning and at this very moment in time they are not as readily available (in Nutley). I think when the sun rises I'm taking a short road trip to FG! :rolleyes:

Nutley Resident

-------------------------

Proud to be American

Proud to be a Nutley Township Resident

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...