Insider New York: Maya Jankelowitz
Maya Jankelowitz c Henry Hargreaves

Insider New York: Maya Jankelowitz


Phenomenal food, beautiful people and a whole host of Instagram-worthy moments: if you stay in downtown Manhattan, you simply can’t avoid the restaurant Jack’s Wife Freda by Maya Jankelowitz and her husband Dean.

What is the concept behind Jack’s Wife Freda? Jack’s Wife Freda is a lively café that’s open all day. At our two locations (224 Lafayette Street and 50 Carmine Street) we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, which means long working hours. We want to put across a deep sense of hospitality, as well as authenticity, decent prices and a playful sense of humour. We rework easy-to-prepare dishes with special tricks. My husband is from South Africa; I grew up in Israel. Both cultures have an influence on the meals we serve.

What food trends have you noticed in New York? We believe in fresh, pure food. That’s important to an increasing number of our customers, too.

Which districts are you taken with and what are you favourite places there? We’re classic downtowners. We often have breakfast at Gemma in the hotel The Bowery (335 Bowery). Our favourite head chef is Alireza from the restaurant Sant Ambroeus in Soho (265 Lafayette Street). The Spotted Pig in the West Village (314 West 11th Street) is perfect for a quick lunch and the Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village (113 Macdougal Street) is ideal for late burgers.

Which great places in New York are still relatively tourist-free? Café Gitane at The Jane Hotel (113 Jane Street) is a stunning place to relax in peace and quiet. We often have a relaxing lunch at Via Carota (51 Grove Street), too.

Where do you go to see art? Most of our personnel is artistically talented. So we have a load of art in our restaurants and at home, too. Other than that, it’s worth it to walk around the galleries in Chelsea: David Zwirner (525 W 19th Street), Gagosian (555 W 24th Street), Kate Werble (83 Vandam Street). We also hang out at our friend Curtis Kulig’s studio in Soho. And, of course, we shouldn’t forget the big names: Whitney (99 Gansevoort Street) and MoMA (11 W 53rd Street).

Your favourite shopping destinations for fashion and design? Are in Soho and start with Opening Ceremony on Howard Street. For one-stop-shopping I recommend Barney’s (116 Wooster Street) or Bloomingdale’s (504 Broadway). Oh, and walking along 5th Avenue is always a feast for the eyes, no matter how long I’ve lived here!

Tell us a secret: what’s your favourite bar for an evening with friends? That’s easy, I would definitely choose Milano’s (51 East Houston Street).

Never leave New York without...? Your passport! And having gone to Jack’s Wife Freda.

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