New Yorkers today learned some shocking news: beloved Cajun/Creole restaurant Great Jones Cafe will close tonight and may or may not reopen. Tipsters told EV Grieve that tonight would be the last night, but there’s reason to hope rumors of the 34-year-old Basquiat hangout’s death are greatly exaggerated. This evening, an employee at the Jones told Bedford + Bowery that it’s closing for a week; after that it will reopen — or not. More likely not, she said.
Messages left for owner James Moffett have not yet been returned. In April, the restaurant’s longtime GM, Bill Judkins, told EV Grieve that he was forced out when he couldn’t see eye to eye with his two partners, who “feel that the Jones needs to be changed into something more contemporary to appeal to the ‘new’ neighborhood.” The restaurant’s famous jukebox had been turned off, Judkins told Grieve.
In January of 2015, Judkins told Eater that the restaurant’s landlord was “a nice, old school guy,” and that there were still “a few years” left on the lease. Eater wrote that Judkins “doesn’t see things changing anytime soon, although he does admit to some ‘concern’ about what will happen in the future.”
We’re hoping the Noho fixture rises Lazarus-like from the dead. (I mean, where else can you get a proper oyster po boy around here? Served up by Pavement bassist Mark Ibold, no less.) But many are operating on the assumption that the restaurant won’t be coming back. They filed onto social media to pay their respects:
I’ve run the numbers and I’ve had 3 significant, 5 moderately significant and 10 uneventful nights at Great Jones Cafe. RIP pie & catfish.
— Sloane Crosley (@askanyone) July 26, 2017
R.I.P. Great Jones Cafè – I remember being served drinks by Pavement bassist Mark Ibold back in the day: https://t.co/c1DQpHxnJl
— Patrick Keane (@phkeane) July 26, 2017
I went to Great Jones Cafe the first week I moved to NYC because somebody told me Mark Ibold from Pavement bartended there.
— Jason Diamond (@imjasondiamond) July 26, 2017
Sad to hear #greatjonescafe shutters tonight. I had more great times there than I can count. Also, my life changed course at Great Jones. pic.twitter.com/2m2KpjtrKI
— michael arthur (@inklines) July 26, 2017
Just found out that Great Jones Cafe AND the Village French Roast are closing so why even bother going to NYC anymore
— nicole steinberg (@nicolebrett) July 26, 2017
French Roast, Great Jones Cafe, & Republic are all closing. Soon NYC restaurants will be like flying – you’re either in 1st class or coach
— Christopher Shinn (@chris_shinn) July 26, 2017