Blueprint Cafe sports a large statement mural. Photo by Laureen Delance
Welcome to Newark Food Diaries! Come along with me as I eat my way through Newark and let you know what I find.
First up: Blueprint Café. I recently took a ride deep into the Ironbound to enjoy a quick dinner at the café, which opened this past February. Eager to get some sustenance before a meeting, and needing to inject some stillness into my day, I crossed my fingers that they would offer service less than an hour before closing.
Upon entering I was in awe of the space—eclectic and tasteful accoutrements, a large statement mural, bright windows, high ceilings, accents of exposed brick, a patio, and seating options for every mood. In short order, I was also impressed with how much my belly was speaking out. I headed to the register and made my order: a make-your-own bowl with coconut rice as the base (the other options are quinoa and skillet potatoes). On top of the rice, I opted for chicken and green herb dressing, which consisted of kale, Swiss chard, collards, chili and garlic herb sauce.
There were just a handful of customers there at the time, so it was easy to practice stillness and enjoy my downtime. As I waited for my bowl, one of the restaurant’s co-founders greeted me and asked if this was my first time there. Upon finding out that it was, she initiated me into the history of the venue and shared some details about their events, which include Friday night after work sessions helmed by DJ Urban Philosopher. I will definitely be attending, especially since I know the café has its very own parking lot (this is a gem in #citylife).
Laureen ordered a coconut rice bowl with chicken topped with green herb dressing. Beverage: mango-flavored tea. Photo by Laureen Delance
My food arrived, and I was taken aback by the serving size. I’d gotten used to the some of the newer venues around the city offering very small servings at quite the cost. This $21 dinner (please don’t tell my mom that’s how much I spent on dinner…please?) caused some sticker shock at first, but I got a lot of value for my money. I rarely need to ask for a doggie bag, but on this day, I did.
Ticketed by Brick City Live Register here to create ticketed events.
Hospitality abounded. The gentleman at the register thought the reason I requested a to-go plate was because I was concerned about the fast-approaching closing time. He encouraged me to relax and not be concerned with having a hard stop. I appreciated the hospitality, and my to-go platter ensured a healthy volume of food for an encore meal for the next day.
The cozy and cool interior at Blueprint Cafe. Photo by Laureen Delance
Overall, I had a wonderful hour at Blueprint Café, which is located on the far east end of Raymond Boulevard, among a collection of construction company offices. I stopped by on a quiet midweek night when they close a little earlier, but the café’s Instagram account is chock full of lively scenes from their open mics (Thursdays) and the aforementioned Friday night events. I imagine Blueprint Café will become the place grab a bite after a fun evening by the Orange Sticks at nearby Riverfront Park.
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I recommend Blueprint Café, and I definitely recommend the bowl option. The mango iced tea? Not for me, but different strokes for different folks. I’m not a fan of sweet drinks, and the tea was a bit long on sweetness and a little short on flavor. (I imagine if lemon or lime juice were squeezed into the tea, that would have made quite the difference.)
Blueprint Café proved a great place to intersect two of my utmost priorities: stillness and good food. They have won a repeat customer.
I hope you’ll stay tuned for more reviews from me. Until then, eat good food, folks!
Blueprint Café is located at 369 Raymond Boulevard in Newark. The café is open Monday through Wednesday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.