It’s understood that the best Jamaican patties — beef, curry chicken, yellow split pea, or otherwise — are found in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. As for lower Manhattan? “There’s a Golden Krust near Union Square,” says Kyle Lamberty, one of three partners behind Murphy’s, an East Village coffee spot that was reborn as a patty shop last month at 440 East Ninth Street, near Avenue A. Its patties are flaky and generously stuffed, but that’s only part of why it’s been turning heads.
The partially Black-owned business has been attracting fans and skeptics from out of state and on social media for its well-designed interior and $6 beef patties, among the most expensive in the city. Paired with the fact that Murphy’s doesn’t make its patties in-house — they’re trucked in from a Flatbush bakery that the team won’t disclose — some users have accused the owners of “gentrifying” patties and lying about being Black-owned. (None of the owners are Jamaican, but two of the three partners are Black.)
“Around here you can only get them in pizza shops and bodegas,” says Neil Sneider, also behind the cafe.
Sneider moved to the East Village from Atlanta roughly a year ago, arriving in a neighborhood mostly devoid of homemade patties. “I couldn’t find them,” he says. “In Atlanta, patties are everywhere.” He didn’t have experience working in restaurants, but earlier this year he convinced Lamberty and co-owner Marvin Davis to flip their neighborhood coffee shop Murphy’s Door Cafe into one of lower Manhattan’s only patty spots.
“This is not a traditional take on a patty spot,” Sneider says. The East Village cafe stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends to cater to the neighborhood’s rowdy, end-of-night crowds, and its outsourced patties can be ordered with cashew crema and spiced vinegar dipping sauces. A juicer dispensing five-dollar cups of homemade lemonade completes the scene.
Patties come in three flavors: Beef, curry chicken, and vegetable, a mixture of chickpea, cauliflower, corn, carrot, zucchini, and black bean that’s an easy contender for one of the city’s best meat-free patties. At $6 each, they’re also among its most expensive and tucking one into a slice of coco bread costs $2 more. (Many of the best patties in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx cost between $1 and $3 apiece.)
That price point and Murphy’s unlikely location has turned it into a lightning rod for debates around identity and gentrification. According to the team, the online backlash appears to have stemmed from a video shared by influencer @hungryartistny that shows Lamberty, who is Puerto Rican and not Black, standing behind the counter of the shop.
“That restaurant is entirely too fancy for me to eat my beef patty out of there,” TikTok user @iamkingjules posted in a response to the video. “I wanna watch the lady in the back — the auntie in the back — pull out my coco bread from the plastic bag it’s been sitting in.” The post has some 400 likes, with commenters calling for names of competing patty shops.
Another user @janenurse accused the restaurant of lying about being Black-owned on July 28. Multiple users have since left one-star reviews on the restaurant’s Google page — where it identifies as a Black-owned business — claiming that it owners are lying.
None of the shop’s in-person customers have raised concerns about the owners’ backgrounds, according to the team, and most people seem happy that there’s a source for Brooklyn beef patties in lower Manhattan — even if it’s bright blue and covered in hanging plants.
“People are coming from Brooklyn and Queens,” Lamberty says. “After the first bite, most people see what’s going on here.”
Murphy’s is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday to Sunday from noon to 2 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.