LYNDHURST, N.J. — Stepping into Caffe Millefiori in Lyndhurst is like stepping into a slice of Italy.
The espresso is strong, the coffee is good -- the "best in Bergen," according to George the owner -- and the front room is often filled with men of a certain age passionately debating, talking, and discussing everything from politics to "futbol."
It can get so loud, in fact -- George, who didn't want to reveal his last name -- decided to open a "Quiet Room" in the back for those who want to drink their coffee in peace or work on their laptops (there is free WiFi).
In reality, it's that European energy that fuels this snug spot, making it the anti-Starbucks where you can literally sit for hours long after your drink has gone cold. George gets his beans from Italy and Colombia and believes the proof is in the pudding that his clientele, many of whom are of Italian descent, choose to come here. (The Italian music that wafts in the background is another draw.)
The pastries and breads come from Rockland Bakery in Nanuet, N.Y. and are delivered fresh daily. In addition, the cafe serves cold cut sandwiches and eggs -- "We can't really cook here," he said.
Caffe Millefiori -- which means "1,000 Flowers" in Italian -- has been owned by George for the past year and a half. It was something his adult son first invested in before moving to another business venture in the Caribbean, leaving George to mind the store.
A loquacious man who likes making up nicknames for his customers, he, too, is as much a part of the atmosphere as the characters that fill it.
The cafe is open seven days a week from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. and is located at 242 Stuyvesant Ave., (201) 507-1036.