Beth Barrett opens the Yellow Door


The morning is peaceful, the only sounds being the soft murmurs of orders being taken. One can smell the sharp scent of coffee beans and warm muffins. The sunlight shines through windows, illuminating a cozy, homestyle cafe open to all who want a comforting start to the day. This is the atmosphere that the soon-to-be new cafe owner, Beth Barrett is hoping for her cafe, Yellow Door.

Beth said that she and close friend—and now partner—Virginia Davis both have a passion for the art of cooking and going out to eat, as well as eating healthy and working out.

“[We] are both passionate about Montclair Village as a place to exercise and use as much as we can because it’s so convenient, but we just weren’t finding—especially after a workout—the kind of food that we wanted to eat,” said Beth. “We kept talking about it, and many conversations led to, ‘Well why don’t we just do it?’”

Beth said that there was a demand for small scale local cafes, opposed to the chains which already fill Montclair.

“There’s a Starbucks and Peet’s, and lots of people love those, but we were looking for something that was a little bit more full-service, a place that felt homey and neighborhoody,” Beth said.

After approaching the landlord to potentially buy the space, everything started happening very fast, Beth said.

“We started walking around the village looking for empty spaces, and there weren’t very many,” Beth said. “Our building might have been the only one [available at the time].”

Beth said that the process of opening the cafe is similar to getting ready to have a baby.

“It’s a nine-month build up similar to when you have a baby,” Beth said. “Your life is put on hold, and for 18 months the baby needs you first, so we feel like our cafe is going to be the same thing.

Beth said that now is the perfect timing. With her twins, seniors Lucy and Luke Barrett, graduating this spring, it was time for her to find her next adventure.

“I made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, but for the last two years, I have been trying to figure out what my next thing was,” Beth said.

Beth said that she wanted to find something that I was really passionate about.

“I am so happy for her because she has always wanted to do something like this,” Lucy said. “She has always wanted to get back out into the workforce and start something of her own. It makes a lot of sense to me that she is starting her own cafe, because she has always cooked for us and other people. I think this is the perfect thing for her to do.”

Lucy said that she can’t wait to help, whether that means working in the kitchen or as a waitress.

“I would love to see her running the social media for the cafe,” Beth said.

Luke said that he is also planning on working there.

“I’m probably going to work there on weekends because I take culinary arts and I’m a food service TA,” Luke said.

Beth said that her first job out of college was working at a catering company.

“I am definitely not intimidated by the large quantities [of food] and the chaos that happens in the kitchen,” Beth said.

Davis also has experience in the food industry, Beth said. She developed her own salad dressing and crouton line called Virginia’s Live a Little, and does all the recipes and prepared food at Mulberry’s.

“[Davis] was also the manager of a bakery where the old Starbucks was, so it’s kind of coming full circle that she’s coming back to Montclair,” Beth said.

Beth and Davis finally decided on the name Yellow Door after many different ideas, Beth said.

“The way our building is positioned, we’re on the busy street parallel to Highway 13,” Beth said. “Cars and buses are whizzing by so [Yellow Door] will be noticable whether you are on the bus or walking by. I think it will really stand out.”

Beth said that the cafe will be open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. In the morning they will serve muffins, banana bread, egg sandwiches, avocado toast, almond butter toast, cinnamon toast and more.

“For lunch, we will do soups and salads and a few sandwiches,” Beth said.

Beth said that she is especially excited about a vegan bowl they will be offering.

“We are really going to try hard to cater to not one specific diet,” Beth said. “We’re not a vegan restaurant, and we’re not a meat restaurant. Hopefully, everyone coming in will find something, whether they are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, full meat, full fat, or whatever they may be.”

Beth and Davis are very excited to be working together and can not wait for the opening, which should be by the end of March.

“My absolute happiest place is in the kitchen,” Beth said. “I love it.”