If you don’t already know of this local entrepreneur, Sally Monterrosa is the founder + owner of Boho Cafe at 113 Watchung Avenue, and Boho Hair Salon at 111 Watchung Avenue in Montclair. Sally and her family live in Matawan, but the charm of Montclair always drew them in to spend time there. It became clear that that’s where she wanted to run her businesses. We had a chance to chat with Sally back in 2021 about her two businesses — both easily recognizable by their stunning boho-chic aesthetic — and what she likes to do outside of work locally. Read on to learn more about the Montclair-based salon and cafe and its owner.
The Montclair Girl: What did you do before opening Boho Cafe? How did you get into the industry?
Sally Monterrosa: I have been a hairstylist since I was 14 years old. I started the Boho Bridal company in 2003 and then opened my first Boho Hair Salon location in Asbury Park in 2016. Our Salon was created as a place for women to come to feel beautiful and inspired. We were intentional with our space and making sure we offered not only hair but a lifestyle and mission to really change our industry. In 2020 we had a vision of opening our second location, this time as a salon and cafe concept. We wished to elevate our clients’ experience by adding a place to gather, dream, nourish, and self-care all at once. As of 2020, our salon is and will be a salon/cafe concept.
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MG: What inspired you to get into the restaurant business?
SM: My husband and I have always had a passion for people. To us, there is no better way to connect than over a cup of coffee or some great food. We are also both long-time vegans and wanted to create a space that people could come to for good food that’s healthy and good for you.
MG: What’s the story behind the name of the cafe + what inspired the design/vibe?
SM: Boho Cafe was named after the connected salon located next door called Boho Hair Salon! The cafe and salon are two of five businesses we have built under the Boho Brand. Our root intention throughout each and every one of our businesses is to emphasize the importance of wellness in achieving inner and outer beauty. The cafe was founded in August of 2020 but was rebranded into the Boho Cafe in June 2021.
The design of the cafe was inspired by the beaches of the Caribbean, the colors of Palm Springs, and the laid-back vibes of California. We want each customer to walk into our space and feel transported to a stress-free, fun-loving environment.
MG: Tell us about the cafe menu items.
SM: We offer organic specialty coffee from our roasters at Canyon Coffee in California, ceremonial grade Matcha from our friends at Matchaful, NYC, and a selection of Harney + Son’s Tea. Additionally, we offer a variety of fresh juices, smoothies, acai bowls, sweet and savory toasts, sandwiches, and salads. There is truly something for everyone, and we are most excited about our selection of Mocktails (BYOB!). My personal favorite would have to be The Mija, a mocktail with mango, coconut, lime, and tangy Tajin — the perfect summer drink, especially with one of our Esquites Toasts!
MG: What would you say makes the cafe stand out?
SM: I think that besides our unique cafe/salon concept and design, our customer service and the atmosphere are what sets us apart! We love connecting with each and every customer and want to make everyone feel welcome in our space. We want the cafe to always feel like home.
MG: Tell us about Boho Hair Salon.
SM: Boho Hair Salon was created with the intention to empower, embrace, and cultivate true connections through beauty, bridal, wellness, music, and lifestyle workshops. Our artists are inspired by the Music, the Art of our cities, and the community that surrounds us. With a strong belief in sisterhood, we focus on giving you the ultimate salon experience that transcends into your everyday life.
MG: What is your favorite restaurant in Montclair?
SM: There are so many wonderful ones in the city of Montclair, We love so many, but one that stands out to us and one we have enjoyed for over 8 years is Mesob, one of the best, if not, the best Ethiopian restaurants we have experienced, and the owner and staff are just the kindest people!
MG: What is your favorite boutique in Montclair?
SM: Again, so many great ones! I do love Dot Reeder. It has such unique items and the cutest jewelry designs.
MG: What do you love most about Montclair?
SM: Montclair is so diverse and artistic. You can really feel the influence of being so close to New York; in the people, and in the culture. Over the years, through our church program and volunteer opportunities in the area, we have built and become a part of such a beautiful community up here. We love that the city is multicultural and diverse, and just knew it was the perfect spot to open in!
MG: What is your favorite thing to do in Essex County?
SM: The parks with my family and our dog, which have some great city views.
MG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire.
SM: What makes Montclair special is the variety in storefronts, food concepts, and designs. I love how everyone puts a lot of thought into their spaces and all collectively make sure they speak to the demographic. There is a little bit of everything for everyone.
MG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Essex County?
SM: Our kids Love the turtle-back picnic area with water views!
MG: What is your favorite place to work out in Essex County?
SM: I am usually a runner, so I love running in the parks. However, some of my team love Pure Barre and The Bar Method.
MG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
SM: We love hanging at our salon/cafe concept of course! We also love a fun night out with delicious food and drinks at Faubourg. Such a gem that reminds me of NYC spaces.
MG: What is something you think needs to come to Montclair?
SM: More vegan restaurants. My family and I are avid vegans, and it’s so nice to have options. I also think a lot more people would give it a try if they saw just how delicious it can be!