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Mara’s Café and Bakery Coming to Fanwood Crossing

Fanwoodians will soon welcome Mara’s Café and Bakery in the vacant retail space below Fanwood crossing.



Marci and Mark Semel of Fanwood will be opening Mara’s Café and Bakery — the first business in the vacant retail space on the street level of Fanwood Crossing.

Semel said they are very excited to be opening the space and expect it to be open sometime in March. 

“We are very excited about the location, the town and the franchisees,” said Ian Magley, President and CEO of Mara’s.

Currently a Mara’s Bakery exists in Morristown and a Mara’s Café is located in Denville.

This is the first venture of its kind for Mark and Marci, Mark works on Wall Street and Marci has been in the hospitality business for 26 years.

“There’s a lot of firsts with this,” Marci Semel said. “There are a lot of learning curves.”

For Mara’s, this is the first location they will be franchising out and for the Borough of Fanwood it is the first business opening up in the Fanwood crossing.

Semel said everyone is working hard to bring it together.

Mara’s Café and Bakery will entirely face the train station and make use of the concrete patio at the crossing. 

Semel said if possible they will use the patio all year long, but it will definitely be open for use in the summer months.

Mara’s sells fresh coffee by the pound and imports many of their ingredients from Italy.

Semel added that they will also be looking to bring in products from other local businesses.

Some of the specialties that will be featured at Mara’s include, cheesecakes, pies, peanut butter cake, cupcakes, seasonal specialties such as eggnog and much more.

For breakfast, the Café and Bakery will feature items such as bagels and croissants. 

According to Semel, Mara’s Café and Bakery will play music, but not have any televisions so that families can visit to sit and actually talk.

Mara’s will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For more on what Mara's has to offer, visit their website.

Check back with scotchplains.patch.com for information on when Mara’s Café and Bakery officially starts construction at Fanwood Crossing.

The business is using all local general contractors and Semel added that she and her husband are trying to keep it as local as possible.

Once things are moving with construction, Semel plans to set up fun events at the Café and Bakery and hopes to partner with a lot of people in town.

Elizabeth Alterman (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 10:36 PM
This is great news for Fanwood! I've had their cheesecake and quiches and they're delicious. Best of luck!
Tired December 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
This is a direct slap in the face to Fanwood Bagel and Dunkin Donuts. Who's the genius that thought to add a cafe that sells coffee and serves breakfast right between the two current businesses that serve these same purposes? Is that really what we needed there? What a disgrace. I for one will never visit his estabishment. Long live Fanwood Bagel.
SPFMOM2 December 12, 2012 at 12:28 AM
@Tired....lighten up. You sound as if you have never ventured further than South Avenue. Fanwood Bagels did not close when Dunkin Donuts opened their doors and the 3 nail salons (located on the same block!) did not shut their doors when a 4th nail salon decided to add to the personality of Fanwood. There is plenty of room for a new eatery and a menu that offers something other than burnt coffee (sorry DD) and bagels to go. Fanwood Bagels is a great place and will be there long after you are gone. Open your mind and wish the local family who is taking a chance on YOUR town well. Perhaps you should walk to Westfield, they have tons of eateries which all seem to thrive....take the train to NYC....5 italian restaurants on the same block (shocking) and each place is packed with happy customers who are happy to have a choice. Fanwood needs some new blood...it's called competition and I will be happy to say hello to our new neighbors and buy breakfast, lunch or dinner from them.
Gianni December 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I would never go elsewhere for a morning bagel but sometimes after running errands in the afternoon FB is already closed and a panino or quiche would be just right.
Tired December 12, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Hey mom you speak of other towns, Westfield and NYC. Take a look the next time you're there at the people traffic on the street in those places. Then look at South Ave Fanwood. It doesn't take an expert to see there's only so many customers that walk/stop in downtown Fanwood. If you think a bakery cafe is going to be a huge draw I'd say think again. This is a ridiculous idea on a par with the nail salon fiasco.
SSM December 12, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Very well said, SPFMOM2. I am also looking forward to this establishment opening. I know a lot of others in town who are also happy to see this business coming into town. This is what Fanwood needs, and I hope our locals will be sure to support it. Over the years I have heard many complain that there is no place to go with the family to eat downtown. Glad to see they will not have TV's!
Stefannie buthorn December 12, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Any chance of gluten free offerings????
Anthony December 12, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Looking forward to this opening! I wish Marci and her family good luck on the venture. I for one have never gotten the attraction to Fanwood Bagels. Don't find anyone in there particularly friendly and it has a drab interior. Bagels are so-so in my opinion. Hope this also gives Double Dipper a run for it's money as far as sandwiches. I find the owner in there very rude. In fact, the only food restaurant I really like in Fanwood is Nick's Pizza. Good pizza, nice people. We need a little more of that in town!
Anthony December 12, 2012 at 05:46 PM
By the way, this is just my opinion. I am sure others differ.
Special Education Teacher December 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Gluten Free! Gluten Free!!!
SoS December 13, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Have you even bothered to look at the Mara's menu? To compare what they offer to Fanwood Bagels or Dunkin Donuts is absolutely ridiculous. Is it a slap in the face to Rice Inn, too, since they'll be...gasp...serving dinner? An more upscale, family place that serves Breakfast, Lunch AND Dinner? Yes, please. Thank you Marci, this is exactly what Fanwood needs. Good luck! We'll be stopping by often.
SoS December 13, 2012 at 04:04 AM
You're not alone. I love the bagels there, no doubt...but it's so dark & dirty inside, I'd never take my family there to eat...I buy them by the dozen and bring them home. Double Dipper is good for ice cream & deli sandwiches, but after seeing the Mara's menu...I'm looking forward to this as well.
Tina Fairweather December 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I have asked on many occassions for our local Fanwood Dunkin Donuts to make a donation or contribution to school events (i.e. PTA / journal ad -- and I mean nominal -- like $25 ad). After all, our community supports their store. They have refused. Every single time. And I been told the same by others who have had the same experience. So I don't patronize them.
geoeag December 13, 2012 at 05:17 PM
The best eats in town are at Flannery's / O Brians Pour house, and they have TV's ! We need a cafe like another nail salon.
Charlene M. December 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I like that they have a dinner menu 5-9 pm that includes a kids menu. Hope they serve the various salads at dinner time too.
Tired December 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
You don't patronize a business because they don't give money to every crazy soccer mom that walks in the door looking to bilk them of $25??? Maybe, like most of us, they think they pay enough in taxes that fund the schools already. I applaud their policy and urge other businesses to follow suit.
SoS December 13, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Because what a nightmare it would be to sit down with your family to eat and HAVE NO TELEVISIONS TO STARE AT. OH THE HUMANITY! Listen, everyone loves to joke about Fanwood's nail salons, but your analogy here makes no sense. There aren't 3 or 4 other cafe-type places in town. The only thing that comes remotely close is double dipper, and let's face it, that's an ice cream shop that happens to sell food, not vice versa. This place is going to be unique to Fanwood. I'm not putting down Flannery's, or Fanwood Bagel, or any other place...I've been to all of them and will continue to go to them when I'm in the mood for their particular kind of food/atmosphere. This place is going to fill a niche that I usually have to drive to Westfield for. For that I am thankful.
Tired December 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I happen to know many that are having a laugh at the fact they chose this ype of business for the new retail space. A real travesty, Fanwood deserves better.
Tired December 13, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Yes I did and what do you know, they serve breakfast, they sell bagels and sandwiches. To top it off they sell coffee by the pound AND in a cup! Whoa just what the Dr ordered for a failing downtown. A third business that does what the established already do. Oh but they'll also be selling their food later. Wonderful.
Barney Oldfield December 13, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Tired, The folks at Dunkin Donuts do not support or give contributions to any charitable organizations in town, not in my experience, none. Has nothing to do with schools or PTA. They do not donate anything period. Not to scouts, not to any fundraising event for any cause. They are simply jerks. You should fit right in there.
SoS December 13, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I think you're still missing the point. Yes, of course they sell breakfast, but it's a whole different atmosphere than the other places that do. Example: I want to take my family to a sit-down breakfast...I'm not going to Dunkin' because pre-fab food sucks (I'll buy my coffee there, though). I'm not going to Fanwood bagels because sitting with toddlers at a cramped table with DPW workers isn't really my thing (I'll buy a dozen and bring them home, though). What do I do? Usually, I'll head over to Westfield. Well now, I don't have to...it's more convenient for us and I'm supporting a Fanwood family business...DD & FB aren't losing my business that day, because they wouldn't have had it in the first place. Variety is a good thing.
WarrenG December 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM
There seems to be this idea that the town chooses what types of businesses fill this new space. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter who decides to take this space so long as the town can benefit from a new rateable. As far as Fanwood Bagels is concerned, I love their bagels but their store is in need of some investment. Would have been a great idea on their part if they, like the dog grooming place, moved into the new space. Well-Groomed is a major improvement over the old Try-Cobb and I would venture to say that they're more profitable now. I've only lived in Fanwood since 2005 but it seems to me that Fanwood's downtown is at least going in the right direction. Fabio's, OhBrian's, Ginger Sushi are all great.
MattyIce January 03, 2013 at 05:39 AM
The doubters of this new place are crazy. In Denville, Mara's is the most amazing eatery we have here, and due to the new Mara's location in Fanwood, people will be coming from all directions for the atmosphere..Hands down it is one of the more classiest places in town, no comparison to a bagel shop or dunkin donuts..NONE AT ALL....I myself live right next to a DD, but I still drive 15 minutes a day for Mara's coffee..Best of Luck!
Amy Boroff January 18, 2013 at 02:40 AM
After sampling a cupcake and coffee (thanks Marci) I have no doubt that Mara's will be a great addition (and challenge for new year resolutions, lol)!
Nikki Klepka January 18, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Full disclosure - I work for Mara's. I would like to personally invite everyone, including "Tired," to visit Fanwood Mara's when it opens. A few (of many) reasons why Mara's is a great choice for Fanwood: 1) We do believe, strongly, in giving back to the community - whether it is through direct donations, sponsoring events, assistance with fundraising, etc. We wouldn't be anything without the community - and we'd love to be a big part of Fanwood's community! Marci in particular is very passionate about this as well - we couldn't have picked a better first franchisee! 2) Our Denville cafe is a very successful business. Denville has a fabulous downtown area which also includes Starbucks, Smart World Coffee, Dunkin Donuts, Denville Bagels, & a few diners/breakfast spots, along with many other fantastic restaurants. These businesses do well with what they serve - but we try to distinguish ourselves from them by serving a wider range of even higher-quality products, in a warmer and friendlier environment. Mara's has developed it's menu offerings to be the perfect destination to satisfy even the most diverse group of eaters. We do plan on drawing crowds from all over, which can only help other local businesses as well. I'm running out of characters for my comment - if anyone would like to know more about Mara's, please feel free to email me directly at nklepka@marascafe.com. We look forward to seeing you in Fanwood!
FW Resident February 07, 2013 at 03:36 PM
We cannot wait for Mara's to open. My family will definetly support Mara's!!! This place needs it!!! Fanwood bagels really needs to fix up thatstore. Leaks everywhere and its so dirty. And not to mention Double Dipper..just plaine old rude!!! Thank goodness for Red Mango!
Ron V April 03, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Why would anyone want D&D when there's one on every corner? At least this will hopefully have real coffee
Eric Coffey April 25, 2013 at 09:34 PM
I've never seen a place like mara's. this is exactly what Fanwood needs. Something that will give back to the community and create foot traffic for downtown and the other businesses. They have absolutely everything to offer. From sugar free options of pie to vegetarian sliders. Sorry "tired" you lost this one
geoeag April 25, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Bad service no parking and overpriced. They won't last long.
geoeag April 25, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Very poor service, overpriced and no parking = won't be around long. Tried it 3 times and was hoping for better.everyone was complaining orders not received wrong food being served. I watched it happen and it wasn't pretty. Good luck that rent can't be cheap.

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