Home Essex County Mercado: A Portuguese Marketplace Concept in Montclair

Mercado: A Portuguese Marketplace Concept in Montclair

by Diana Cooper
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On any given day, 605 Valley Road Montclair is bustling with people. The Montclair marketplace, called Mercado, is truly a one-stop-shop for breakfast and lunch needs: with a coffee bar, a hot food bar, and a menu expansive enough to try something new every day for a whole month. This local gem comes from the owners of Sandwich Theory, a former Montclair sandwich shop that has since closed its doors. In 2021, the owners brought a concept to Essex County inspired by marketplaces where they grew up in Portugal. Read on to learn more about Mercado and what this restaurant brings to the Montclair food and drink scene.

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The Making of Mercado

Mercado officially opened its doors on Monday, November 29th, 2021. The owners, Marcelo Silva and Carla Silva, had originally signed the lease before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They were starting to plan the move from their former location, Sandwich Theory, to their new location right down the road when the breakout began and plans had to be put on pause for businesses worldwide.

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“As you can imagine, this was a challenging time. We were also incredibly fortunate that we had our former location still open. Our regular customers truly held us over while we were setting up the new location. We are so grateful for that,” the owners shared with The Montclair Girl in 2021.

Sandwich Theory, which was previously located at 590 Valley Road, has been in business since 2009. After 10 years, the owners decided they needed a larger location and wanted to update the concept behind the sandwich shop’s menu and space.

Mercado’s Inspiration

Luckily, Marcelo and Carla found an open space near their former shop and immediately signed the lease. “We always loved the cozy and friendly feeling on our block seeing the same faces daily and being in someone’s life in this way. When we realized we needed a larger space, we knew we would stay right here,” the Silvas shared.

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So where did the restaurant get its name from?

“We are originally from Portugal. Growing up, we would visit our local food hall in town, which is known as Mercado (The Market). These traditional markets are a combination of a large, indoor farmer’s market and a food hall. They are a fun and lively mix of butcher shops, charcuterie, fresh fish stands, and produce where you can also gather with friends for a quick meal, coffee, or even drinks,” the owners said. “We wanted to bring this lively energy into our place here in Montclair. This is the inspiration for Mercado.”



About The Menu

As told to MG, Mercado pays homage to traditional Portuguese marketplaces. Per the website, the eatery values “genuine ingredients and real food” and serves up “delicious staples, coffee and espresso drinks, and curated market goods.”

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The options are expansive. There’s a traditional menu, with healthy breakfast and lunch options (sandwiches, bowls, salads, etc.) — but there’s also a build-your-own bar where you can customize a salad or health bowl. If you’re going the conventional route, the Mercado Breakfast Sandwich (pictured above) is a must-try. 

Though the food is reason enough to add this spot to your list, Mercado also has a full-scale coffee bar, with the same drink options as any standard coffee shop would have. It’s rare to find a restaurant where the coffee is as good as the food, but like we said: one-stop-shop. (PS: order the iced maple latte). 

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Aside from coffee drinks and teas, there are cold-pressed juices and various smoothies such as strawberry tart, avocado rush, triple berry, and spiced chocolate. The full menu can be found on the website here.

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Mercado Montclair is open every day of the week at 605 Valley Road from 8PM – 4PM. The restaurant is available for catering, dine-in, takeout, and delivery. For more information, follow Mercado on Instagram here.

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