Monday, February 2, 2009

Remembering the Jones Diner



I couldn't let my previous post on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones pass without an appreciation of the former occupant of the southeast corner (the one with the new hotel) -- the Jones Diner. We lost this one in September 2002.

Here's a passage from a piece that Tom Robbins did for the Voice back in January 2002:

Jones Diner is in an area zoned for manufacturing because, when it was built, the big cast-iron and federal-style brick buildings along Lafayette, Great Jones, and neighboring Bond and East 4th streets were filled with woodworking and machine shops and small garment plants. At breakfast and lunch, workers swarmed through the diner's narrow door, plunking themselves on the green padded stools and into the brown booths. Most of those businesses are long since gone; however, their lofts are now occupied by well-heeled residents and swank high-tech offices.

But Jones Diner has endured. Its $3 breakfast specials (juice included) and the never changing plastic-lettered menus above the big gleaming coffee tureens, offering meat loaf sandwiches for $3.25 and pot roast for $4.50, still lure passing delivery workers as well as employees of the neighborhood's last industrial outposts, the lumber yard down the block and the muffler shop across the street. There is also a loyal cadre of local residents who, in a swath of urban landscape that boasts three Starbucks, an Au Bon Pain, a Wendy's, a McDonald's, and an ever expanding universe of mid- to high-end restaurants, still find the Jones the most comfortable dining place within walking distance for simple meals.


For further reading:
The Fate of a Fabled Greasy Spoon Raises Questions About Landmarking (New York Times)

Former site of the Great Jones Diner (Flaming Pablum)

Jones Diner - Lafayette St. (NYC.com)

[Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

7 comments:

esquared said...

I loved the Jones Diner -- that and the old Phebe's (before they renovated it and became a frat boy hangout.

EV Grieve said...

Yes...there are some great shots in Phebe's of what the placed used to look like...

Ken Mac said...

Used to eat here almost daily. The two guys who ran the place were tops, their wives made the apple and cherry pie, yummy with thick crust. Thursdays was the fresh turkey special. And burgers to die for. I REALLY REALLY miss Jones Diner.

EV Grieve said...

I've actually been thinking about their bacon...

Jeremiah Moss said...

i loved this place. thanks for digging it up. does anyone recall the ghost sign for orphaned children on the wall outside the windows, over the parking lot?

Ian said...

miss it

Scott K said...

2 meals a day, to go, in a round foil tray for 3 years while I worked on the next corner south at the Small Furniture Store. Classic NYC fuel.