by Julie Besonen, 07/18/2012
Courtesy, Great Jones Cafe
Great Jones Cafe
54 Great Jones St., 212-674-9304, NoHo, Manhattan
The horseshoe hung over the door must have brought good luck to Great Jones Cafe, rocking since 1983. The gentrified Bowery-area neighborhood surrounding it may have gone through a massive metamorphosis, but not much has changed in the venue itself, from the Elvis bust in the window to the lip-tingling Cajun martinis. It still feels like the roadside shack it always was, strung with Christmas lights and loud with laughter and the rattle of cocktail shakers. At lunch, get the juicy, beefy hamburger with excellent fries—either regular or sweet potato. The dinner menu changes a little every day, but there's usually fried catfish, gumbo and Louisiana-style jambalaya with jalapeño corn bread. Keep in mind that you can't get the burger during brunch, when the menu is limited to buttermilk pancakes and heaping plates of eggs with fluffy biscuits.