Montclair Village Asssociation Changes Guards

The Montclair Village Association (MVA) provides much-needed glue connecting Montclair’s denizens, merchants and the City of Oakland.  The group listens to all concerns, and its leader wears multiple hats including retail business developer, graffiti ranger, party host, urban planner and overall visionary.  Now we are changing the leadership.

MVA’s most recent administrator-director, Roger Vickery, did a great job herding all the constituencies.  We especially appreciated the practical and patient approach he used to improve life in the village.  Despite the elected dog mayors, he truly served as the de-facto Mayor about town.  We’re sure that Vickery will be missed after his retirement.

Tomorrow, the torch gets passed to long-time Oaklander Daniel Swafford.  We spent time with him when he announced and ran for District 4 council rep  last year.  With his enthusiastic leadership of Dimond’s safety group (like Montclair SIC) and the Oaktoberfest, we should be in different but very good hands.  Now that steins have been cleaned and put away, Swafford is ready to focus on all-things Montclair.

Please celebrate the changing of the guard, tomorrow.  After the regular MVA meeting wraps, around 7:15pm Wednesday, you’re invited to Italian Colors (map) for the celebration.  For those who have worked with Roger, come and raise a glass to him.  While there, you will also have an opportunity to meet Daniel as well as many caring Montclarions.  Stop by!

Montclair Restaurant Walk, Going Once

The Montclair Restaurant Walk is one hot ticket.  We suggest you act now, or else miss out on this great excuse to graze around the Village and contribute to a good cause or two.

Tickets cost $25/person, and you’ll receive a ticket book filled with coupons for each restaurant.  Buy yours today at Montclair Book Tree, Pacific National Bank, Raimondi’s Paint & Wallpaper or Viewpoint Optometric in the Village.

From what we have learned, the confirmed participants include these sixteen places:

Amba Colonial Donuts Crogan’s Montclair – El Agavero Mexican Cuisine & Bar – Farmstead Cheeses and Wines – Flavors India Bistro – Grille OneItalian Colors Ristorante – Kakui SushiMetro Cafe & Bar – Montclair Baking – Montclair Malt Shop – Pararung Thai Cuisine – Taqueria Las Comadres – Toshi Sushi – Yogafina

After the inaugural events last year, the Restaurant Walk has become a proven success for the Lions Club.  Proceeds go to Lions Blind Center of Oakland; Oakland Fund for the Arts; Montera, Skyline and Oakland Tech Schools; Fred Finch Youth Center; Lincoln Child Center; Local Boy Scout Troops  and other Lions Foundations.

Going once, twice, three times.  Remember to buy your ticket and then pencil in the Restaurant Walk date:  Tuesday, April 20th, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

Get Yer Ticket For Restaurant Walk

We suggest you get your ticket book now for the Montclair Restaurant Walk, scheduled on October 6th.  The first-ever walk last spring was a sold-out affair, and it’s possible to miss this great grazing opportunity if you delay.

With book in hand, you’ll be able to sample offerings from restaurants and stores scattered throughout the village – in 2.5 hours or less!  The Lions Club has added this fundraiser to their long-standing Easter and Halloween events, and it’s nice that adults can have some gluttonous fun for a good cause.  All proceeds go to charity, of course.

Montclair Restaurant Walk - Oct 2009

To get your mouth watering, the confirmed participants include:

A. G. Ferrari Foods – Crogan’s Montclair – El Agavero Mexican Cuisine & Bar – Farmstead Cheeses and Wines – Flavors India Bistro – Flipper’s Gourmet Burgers – Il Porcellino – Italian Colors Ristorante – La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill – Le Bon Bon – Metro Cafe & Bar – Montclair Baking – Montclair Bistro – Pararung Thai Cuisine – Silver Palace Restaurant – Taqueria Las Comadres – The Full Plate – Toshi Sushi

So what’s next? Until the ticket books run out, you may stop in the Village and buy them at Montclair Book Tree, Pacific National Bank, Raimondi’s Paint & Wallpaper or Viewpoint Optometric. These books cost $25/person, and are filled with coupons for tastings. Remember to pencil in the Restaurant Walk date, which is October 6th, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

New Montclair Fundraiser In The Works

We’re always game for a good cause, especially when bribed by food and drinks.

The Montclair Village Association has announced a brand-new Restaurant Walk this spring, which is destined to become an annual charity event.  Coupon books are getting printed now, and will soon be sold for $25/pop at these locations.

Then you’ll be set to nosh your way through 18 places – all in one April night.  The coupons list what each restaurant or shop will offer, so you’ll be able to plan ahead for  the key pit stops.

Montclair Restaurant Walk

This April 21st event is actually a joint effort between the Montclair Village Association and Lions Club.  Proceeds will be donated to the Lions Club as well as other charities.  After years of the same Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween Parade, it’s about time the Lions branched out!

For more info, please click here or e-mail

Give And Receive Gifts From Montclair

While walking along Montclair’s streets yesterday morning, they seemed a bit empty for Black Friday.  Were villagers away, buying electronics elsewhere, or otherwise descending on the bigger mall stores?

On Thursday, December 4th, the Montclair Village Association has organized the Annual Holiday Stroll from 6pm-9pm – and made sure there’s no rain this year!  There will be plenty of Santa cheer and live musical groups sprinkled through the streets.  Several stores are throwing parties with their own refreshments and entertainment too.

Montclair Holiday Stroll 2008

As you know, the Montclair merchants would like to encourage holiday shopping in town.  You don’t have to wrestle with the huge parking headaches or interminable lines, a big plus.  Here are some tried-and-true gifts:

  • Calendars: Pick up a monthly or daily calendar from either Annie’s Hallmark (map) or A Great Good Place for Books (map, site) for finicky teens.  The bookstore offers a 20% discount on calendars now.
  • Wool Hats & Gloves: For women or girls, there are fun gloves and hats with fringes, and other nice woolens stocked at Montclair Sporting Goods (map) this time of year.
  • Kitchen Gadgets: Most people don’t indulge often, and might welcome a new item or two at Someone’s In The Kitchen (map).  Who cares if the recipients cook when the gadget looks nice?
  • Chocolates: You have no idea?  Get that difficult great-aunt some nicely packaged sweets from Le Bon Bon (map) or XOX Truffles (map, site).  Also works as an extra for your beloved chocoholics, of course.
  • Bicycle, Bicycle: This is classic gift for kids or adults, and you can’t do better in the Bay Area than Wheels of Justice Cyclery (map, site).  It’s not that intimidating to go there, either.
  • Baby Stuff: The Tulip Grove (map, site) is the new go-to spot, which opened this year.  A Little Piece of Heaven (map) has infant and kids wear.  The shopkeepers really guide you to a nice gift.
  • Toys: If you need a quick toy for a tot, then head over to Montclair Toyhouse (map).
  • Pet Obsessed: For beloved parents of dogs and cats, Glamour Paws (map, site) has fun items to pamper the beasts.  The interesting bowls and toys grab my attention every time I walk by.
  • Wine Everywhere: The perfect, last-minute gift to bring to your holiday host is vino.  Without playing favorites, head to Crown (map), Montclair Village Wines (map), or newcomer Farmstead (map, site)
  • Cameras: Maybe you should buy a digital camera this year.  You can get live advice and shop smarter at Sarber’s Camera (map, site), rather than drive directly to a big box.
  • All Else Fails: Head up the hill to McCalou’s department store (map, site).  There must be some classic item there you can check off your list.  Or check out many great shops here.

Why boost Montclair?  In these economic times, it makes sense to pursue bargains anywhere.  I’m sure you will battle lines for “just the right thing” or find other items online.  It’s easy to forget the Village options during the holiday hunt.

However, you really should take a spin around the Village and invest some shekels now.  While local businesses don’t have the clout of national chain stores, they make up the Montclair zeitgeist.  If you buy a few things, then you support the local merchants and ensure their survival too.

Yes, this season is about giving and receiving gifts.