Whenever the wait is too long at my #1 Joseph Leonard, I cross the street to Jeffrey’s Grocery, put my name down for both spots, walk back and forth between the two restaurants and accumulate drinks until I finally snag a seat!
Just like its neighboring eatery, Jeffrey’s Grocery is another gem from restaurateur genius Gabriel Stulman’s Happy Cooking Hospitality group (the name comes from Stulman’s father FYI). It is not as cozy as JL but has the distinctive West Village neighborly vibe and warm atmosphere that instantly makes you feel at home. You’ll find the signature rustic ambiance, with its exposed brick walls, vintage cookbooks and elegant evening candle lighting.
When it first opened, Jeffrey’s Grocery called itself a “luncheonette” and had a small market area in the store-front with goods from local New York farms (hence the name). It didn’t last long before they realized they should skip the grocery part and stick to being a bistro-like eatery and expanded the dining space. It then quickly became a popular local hangout with an upbeat scene.
The restaurant has a large bar space with seats overlooking the tiny kitchen, and less than a dozen tables. Unless you booked a table (they only take reservations for parties of 6 or more) do not bother walking in as a large group – parties of 2 are ideal, 4 at the most. For dinner and brunch, expect a pretty long waiting time. You can drop in your name and party size and they will give you call when a spot opens up, but I would just hang out there with a drink (decent wine selection and cocktails) and make the most of the vibrant bar scene and beautiful people-watching.
Sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen!
Jeffrey’s menu focuses on seafood and has an ambitious raw bar. The menu changes seasonally and their oyster selection daily. Along with a raw bar selection or a seafood platter (by the way Jeffrey’s peeps, the Frenchie in me has to point out you’ve misspelled “PlateauX de la mer” hem hem), go for their signature (but costly!) Lobster Spaghetti – $39. Also, always look out for the daily specials.
Just like JL, Jeffrey’s is open all day, 7 days a week, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch on weekends and even a late night menu (Thurs-Sat until 1am). You can start the day with home-made pastries for breakfast and their own coffee blend in collaboration with Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Lunch is tranquil and neighborly. And even though the happening bar scene can sometimes get loud, Jeffrey’s still keeps the feel of a friendly and homey West Village neighborhood dinner, with a great playlist of music in the background. Just like JL, they serve a killer brunch with great Bloody Marys.
Go for $1.50 Oyster Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4-6pm
And for you food snobs, Jeffrey’s now offers all-day caviar at cost, with prices starting as low as $30. Who needs Petrossian?!
While Joseph Leonard will always remain my number 1 go-to, I’ll lean towards Jeffrey’s whenever I have a seafood craving. Perfect to come with a date, hang out with friends or even for eating solo at the bar. Great for a nice meal but also for just a casual drink and small bite.
For more of Gabriel Stulman’s awesome Happy Cooking Hospitality (ex “Little Wisco”) family of restaurants, check out Joseph Leonard, Fedora, Perla, Montmartre and Bar Sardine.