After 34 years in the neighborhood, NoHo old-timer the Cajun-Creole Great Jones Cafe — known for its offbeat jukebox and giant portions — closes Wednesday after service. EV Grieve reports that the lease expired, though behind that simple answer is a little more drama.
According to former longtime general manager and co-owner Bill Judkins, he had been forced out of the restaurant in March after 26 years. Judkins reportedly wanted to stay the course in a stand against gentrification, but his partners wanted to change along with the neighborhood. After Judkins left, four employees allegedly quit.
Back in 2015, Eater critic Robert Sietsema showed his appreciation for the restaurant and its status as a refuge. “Yet Great Jones Café remains, as much a clubhouse providing reasonably priced meals for the artists, writers, and rock musicians who have lived and labored in the vicinity as it is a place that employs them when the royalty checks dry up,” he wrote.