The Prospect-Lefferts Garden space of critically acclaimed smoked meats restaurant Glady’s Jerk Center will soon become an entirely different beast: a restaurant with a focus on ramen.
Glady’s Jerk Center, sister to the popular and still-open Franklin Avenue Caribbean restaurant, closed over the holidays for renovations, part of a revamp led by new partner William Garfield and existing chef-owner Junior Felix. Former partner and founder Michael Jacober has left both businesses.
The restaurant, at 453 Rogers Ave. at Lincoln Road, will get a new to-be-announced name and draw more from Garfield’s experience in Portland, Maine. While there, Garfield worked at Japanese restaurants under Masa Miyake — an esteemed chef who has a tasting menu restaurant on Eater’s essentials list and was a James Beard Award nominee in 2015. Garfield left the partnership in Portland in 2014 and soon after started working at Glady’s.
Now, he and Felix will be collaborating in PLG for a menu centered around non-traditional versions of ramen with a chicken broth base. Think oxtail ramen or a vegetarian broth with smoked onions, cooked with the smoker that has become a signature of the restaurant. Felix will also make use of the smoker for pork loin, chicken, and seasonal vegetables, which will go into the ramen and be sold on their own. Plus, comfort food like buns, burgers, fried chicken, and wings, as well as Japanese and Jamaican curries, will be on deck.
Rum-based drinks like the popular painkiller are getting nixed, and instead, Japanese cocktails and Brooklyn beers will be served, available at similar price points as the original Glady’s.
“We’re just really going to cater to what the neighborhood asked for from the beginning, which is comfort food,” Garfield says. “Ramen is comfort food in New York. It gives me a chance to go back to my real wheelhouse, which was Japanese food for ten years.”
It was a quick swap for Glady’s Jerk Center. Jumping off of the consistent popularity of Glady’s on Franklin, the jerk center opened early in 2018 with St. Lucian-native and longtime chef Felix promoted to partner. Here, Felix used a proper smoker, meaning meats came out with “a deeper mahogany hue,” as critic Ryan Sutton wrote in his two-star review.
But apparently locals and families didn’t dig the counter-service format or the spice levels, and the owners couldn’t fill the 130-seat space regularly. The new restaurant will have a 45-seat full-service operation, and the other part of the space will be a dedicated bar with a separate entrance and a more limited menu.
They’re aiming for an April opening for the restaurant portion.
“We just want to go back to creating a neighborhood spot,” Garfield says.