Cranetown, a Progressive Chinese Cuisine restaurant in Montclair NJ, closed its doors this week, not long after opening in the fall of 2015. Located in the Siena Building, Cranetown took a fresh approach to Chinese Food. Forget the usual battered and fried dishes most of us associate with a Chinese Take-Away, the culinary team offered innovative dishes such as a General Tso Chicken using bone in chicken instead of the typical breast meat (or nuggets). The dumplings were swoon-worthy.
The very things that made Cranetown stand above all else, is also what presented challenges. Much of the Chinese Food experience in the Garden State is of the fast food variety, even locations with table service have a vibe similar to chain restaurants where it is more than apparent that a great deal of the food comes from food service companies. Looking over the menu, without knowing all the details, it is hard for many of the locals to understand the difference between Cranetown’s General Tso and the common stuff.
A lot of the challenges faced by the restaurant are typical of Montclair. Although considered the “food capital of the Garden State,” there is a large vocal portion of the populace who cannot understand that fresh and quality ingredients cost more. One just needs to eavesdrop on a conversation about supermarket chicken to realize that locals will complain about the price of Organic Grain Fed Chicken at Whole Foods and instead opt for some factory farmed frankenfood containing “18% solution” from the big chains. (what exactly is in that solution?)
Details regarding the future of Cranetown are unknown at this time. A social media post stated ” We are sorry to inform you that we have closed our doors for the foreseeable future. Any updates regarding the status of Cranetown will be posted here.“
Cranetown will most certainly be missed. Until something new comes along the parking lot at Hunan Taste in Denville will most certainly see a lot of traffic from Montclair.
John Lee is Black Tie and Flip Flops’ Raconteur-In-Chief: the World of food is his playground ~ the whole world! Having a Navy Dad gave John the passion to discover the world. Whether in one of Mr. Boeing’s flying machines, as an armchair traveler with a great book, or a plate beaming with the exotic flavors and fragrances, his day is all about discovering the world and sharing the stories with everyone he meets.