Enjoy ‘Starbucks with a little more soul’ at Mara’s Cafe


Courtesy of Kelly Zarnowski

Courtesy of Kelly Zarnowski

The wide array of study areas here at the Hall accommodate students in their pursuit to successfully complete work. Even so, it is beneficial to break the chain and step off campus to study.

Just a quick stroll past the train station is Mara’s Café, a fairly new addition to South Orange.

Mara’s tells to patrons that it is more than just another establishment, but it seeks to be part of your neighborhood.

Warm colors, pleasantly dim mason jar light fixtures and a wide-array of comfortable seating makes this a pleasant spot to study or relax with friends.

The cordiality of servers and soft rock playing add to the spirit of the spot. “Starbucks with a little more soul” essentially sums up the atmosphere at Mara’s Café.

One glance at the menu proves the café has a lot more to offer than soul.

There is a wide array of breakfast and lunch options throughout the day. Along with bagels and croissants, what sets this café’s breakfast menu apart from others is the breakfast smasher, an egg and cheese sandwich to be served on fresh ciabatta bread and pressed panini-style.

A staple of any productive study session must include coffee. In fact, this was the first item I ordered here, as a café in my opinion is only as good as their cup of coffee. The flavor of the roasted coffee itself was enjoyable, not too bold and definitely not flavorless. The price was also satisfying: a small at $1.89 rivals prices at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.

There are an ample amount of other caffeinated drinks which are offered, including teas, frozen hot chocolate, and the gelatoccino, a blend of coffee and gelato.

Perhaps the most impressive display offered at Mara’s Café is the variety of desserts. Slices of all different cakes and pies, decorative cupcakes and dessert bars. If these sweets are half as good as they look under the lights of the large glass display case, I would recommend them.

The one dessert I could not go without tasting was the gelato. Dollops of the creamy Italian treat are offered in several different flavors and I chose the coconut, pleased with its refreshing and velvety consistency and flavor.

Mara’s Café proved a nice change of pace to study and enjoy a sweet treat, a place I plan to revisit to relieve the stress of finals.

Kelly Zarnowski can be reached at kelly.zarnowski@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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