Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
A few years back I worked for a short time in Jersey City in an office near the Grove Street PATH Station. At the time, just as a few Wall Street brokerages were moving their back office operations to the Jersey City waterfront, the culinary experience in that city was dreary, to be charitable.
Near our office there were two sushi restaurants – one pricy but very good, the other an all-you-can-eat place that offered fresh fish on Tuesdays when they got their delivery; the very traditional Lisbon Restaurant that used to serve a nice octopus or shrimp in garlic; Ibby’s Falafel with decent middle-eastern kebabs; a bar called “The Iron Monkey” that offered indifferent cuisine and lots of cheap whisky; an Irish Bar with nice pub dishes that unfortunately closed towards the end of my time in Jersey City, and lots of bodegas that made inexpensive sandwiches for lunch. The only establishment that was known beyond the city limits was the Philippine Bake House that created exceptional cakes and pastries. Oh, and I almost forgot, a Dunkin’ Donuts!
Last month I revisited Jersey City and the difference was astonishing.
We dined in two of the many new restaurants that dot the area and the food quality and dish variety was remarkable. It seems that chefs and entrepreneurs attracted by the newly affluent area come to Jersey City’s waterfront near the towers that house the brokerage back offices to start an eatery.