South African food might be one of the hardest cuisines to come by in New York City — aside from the UES’s Kaia Wine Bar and Brooklyn Biltong, the African nation’s food is relatively underrepresented in the city — but it’s getting a boost courtesy of Greenwich Village’s newest entrant, New York Biltong.
For co-owner Camran St. Luce, the shop, located at 22 Greenwich Avenue, at West 10th Street, is somewhat of a reimagining of his popular South African food store Jonty Jacobs, which was also located in the neighborhood and shuttered in 2018 after five years of business.
“Jonty Jacobs was like a place away from home for many South African expats,” says St. Luce. “And I promised them I would open up another store. South Africans need a place to come and get a fix.”
While St. Luce isn’t South African himself, he was introduced to the cuisine by his South African ex-wife Monique Daniels, who he opened Jonty Jacobs with in 2013. St. Luce managed the day-to-day operations while the store was open, and after the duo parted ways, St. Luce was eager to make a return to the business in some form.
Where Jonty Jacobs imported its meat, the new business is focused on American-made and produced beef products, hence the name New York Biltong. The focus, though, is still biltong, the South African-style dried, cured meat, which co-owner Brittney Brothers describes as, “a way better version of jerky.”
New York Biltong is going further than the spiced dried meat. The store also sells droëwors, which are dried meat sausages, boerewors — ground meat sausages seasoned with spices like coriander and nutmeg — and a selection of sausage rolls and meat pies with fillings like steak and mushroom, and lamb curry.
South African beers and ciders, along with more grocery items, will be added to the inventory in the coming weeks. The shop currently offers nationwide shipping, and Brothers says they are currently in the process of setting up local delivery in New York City for items like the meat pies as well.
St. Luce and Brothers had initially planned to open the store earlier this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back opening plans. The duo planned to open once the city had got the spread of the virus under control, and even now, the type of food the store is selling is ideal for the takeout and delivery model and is shelf stable, Brothers says.
New York Biltong is open Tuesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.