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Jolene, Once the Great Jones Cafe Home, Is Closing

Gabriel Stulman’s restaurant at 54 Great Jones Street weathered the pandemic, flipped into something new, and now is calling it quits

A dining room with the bar to the left, communal seating in the center, and tables along a red banquette to the right
Jolene, formerly the Jones, named after the Great Jones Cafe, is closing.
Alex Staniloff/Eater

Jolene, a Manhattan restaurant from Gabriel Stulman, and a vestige of a fading version of Downtown nightlife, is closing “soon.”

“We didn’t go looking for the restaurant that is Jolene, it found us....” says Stulman in the release. “We loved the cultural history: Madonna and Basquiat used to make out at the same bar that’s in there today, and the studio that Warhol gifted him is across the street.”

Stulman first took over 54 Great Jones Street in 2019, when he opened the space as the Jones, a nickname for the legendary Great Jones Cafe, its former tenant.

Great Jones Cafe’s longtime owner Jim Moffett died, and the business subsequently closed in 2018, after a long run as a lively Cajun-Creole spot, open since 1983. Stulman ended up in the hands of 54 Great Jones Street because his kids went to school with the grandson of the building’s owner, he wrote in his hospitality group Happy Cooking’s newsletter on Monday, January 29. Eater has reached out for more information.

For the Jones opening, Stulman partnered with Jack Harris, then the executive chef at Stulman’s Fairfax and Bar Sardine.

During the pandemic, the Great Jones space flipped to become Jolene, named after the Dolly Parton song, modeled after “good-for-anything cafes and wine bars that we missed in Paris.” As of its relaunch in 2021, James McDuffee, who had worked with Stulman at his West Village spot, Joseph Leonard was the head chef.

Perhaps the Great Jones Cafe’s shoes were too much to fill. The newsletter attributed the closure to difficulties related to the pandemic. Over the years, Happy Cooking has closed Perla, Bar Sardine, Fedora, and Simon & the Wale at the Freehand Hotel. Most recently, Stulman and his team partnered with chef April Bloomfield to open the well-reviewed Sailor, in Fort Greene.

Prospective new operators — Eric Kruvant and Darin Rubell, who own the nearby bar, Mister Paradise — have already reportedly filed paperwork for the space but as yet, no deal has been inked.

“While it’s delivered in spades on the personal level, it’s only been a successful business in fits and starts and we’ve resolved to move our company forward without it,” Stulman wrote. “That said, we’re leaving with our heads held high and we hope that all the good mojo will make the next keyholders of 54 Great Jones a storied success.”