Tuesday, October 2, 2018

[Updated] The future of the former Great Jones Cafe

Applicants vying for the former Great Jones Cafe space will return before Community Board 2's SLA licensing committee tonight.

Here's the background info as presented via CB2:

The Great Jones Cafe - Returning
(OP) Licenses: — J.F. Jones, Inc., d/b/a Great Jones Café, 54 Great Jones St. (100% Corp Change) (OP – Restaurant)

Great Jones Hospitality LLC, comprised of Anthony C. Marano, Scott Marano, Jonathan Kavourakis and Byron Burnbaum, is becoming the primary investor in J.F. Jones Inc. d/b/a Great Jones Café after the death of James Moffett. Anthony Marano owns the building. Great Jones Café has been open since 1983 and has continually had a liquor license since then. The hours of operation that are presented are from 11 AM to 4 AM 7 days. There are 8 tables, 31 seats and 1 bar with 5 seats. They state they are a restaurant with background music. There is existing sound proofing. One employee will be designated to ensure that at all times the sidewalk will not become a nuisance to neighbors.

The principals have agreed to a new kitchen venting system and have expressed a willingness to reduce the hours of their license to 2 am Sunday through Wednesday and 4 am Thursday through Saturday. Negotiations and stipulations are ongoing.

The applicants appeared before CB2’s SLA committee on Sept. 4. (For starters, they will keep the name the Great Jones Cafe.) During that meeting, Kavourakis (aka Chef Big Sexy), whose résumé includes stints in the kitchen at The Stanton Social (Chef de Cuisine) and Vandal (executive chef and partner), described the menu for the new venture as "modern American" with "very approachable foods" and "a place where it's comfortable to eat every day." (He noted that the Cajun cuisine served at the Great Jones Cafe is "not trending now.")

Two local residents, including longtime Noho power broker Zella Jones, spoke out against the application, sharing concerns about the 4 a.m. close (Great Jones Cafe also had hours until 4 a.m.) as well as the noise from the kitchen exhaust that overlooks the sidewalk.

In the end, both the applicants and CB2 agreed to a layover on the application to allow time for Kavourakis and company to explore a new venting hook up and reconsider the hours of operation.

Tonight's CB2 SLA meeting starts at 6:30 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 151-155 Sullivan St. (at Houston Street), Lower Hall.

Moffett, the longtime owner of the Great Jones Cafe on Great Jones Street west of the Bowery, died on July 10. The restaurant never reopened following his untimely death.

Updated 5:30 p.m.

Avi Burn of Pinks and Pinks Cantina is also one of the applicants. He shared some addition information.

"Chef Jonathan is aiming to create a menu that people can eat several times per week. We felt Cajun food — while amazing and hearty — is a once-in-a-while treat for many people. Nevertheless we will pay homage to the old menu with some GJ classics and some inspiration from the old menu."

Burn said that the "not trending" quote about Cajun food was taken out of context.

Here's more:

The idea was really to keep as much of the spirit of place as possible. We will clean up, make some cosmetic changes, re-do the food and drink menu while keeping some classics and aim to offer a great update to a classic neighborhood restaurant.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A request not to leave any more bread at the Great Jones Cafe

RIP Jim Moffett, owner of the Great Jones Cafe

New owners vying for the Great Jones Cafe space


Matt Fiveash said...

A guy called "Chef Big Sexy" who uses phrases like "not trending" seems like an interesting choice to take over what was perhaps the most un-douchey neighborhood joint that ever was. To trade on that place's brand and reputation by continuing to call it Great Jones Cafe would be a crime against humanity.

cmarrtyy said...

When an established joint is taken over by a foodie organization it becomes "trendy" and loses it's uniqueness. Food isn't always about the food.

Joe said...

I was really excited about this until the article mentioned the food was changing. I can get "approachable American food" at hundreds of other nearby places

Unknown said...

The menu was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. If if were further east, I’d happily eat there every week.

Anonymous said...

I could eat Cajun food every day, as Cajuns do.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know who the chef was and how to get an idea of how they made those wings? Trying my hardest to find a replacement and it's impossible.

Unknown said...

The douche-canoes who took over this place will be a flash in the pan. They see a popular place, sneer at it because it's too down to earth, and think they can simply buy it out, pump their money into it, and they'll reap the same popularity that they feel they and their elitist trends are entitled to.

"A menu that people can eat several times per week"? Nobody's going to your place "several times per week." Great Jones Cafe was a hallmark on the City, and had a large following that religiously came there for their "once-in-a-while treat," and even some who came several times a week.

People like this are exactly why we can't have nice things.

P.S.- And to second the poster above me, I'm looking for the chef too. In the hail-Mary chance anyone knows his name or where he is now, please let us know.