If downtown Manhattan was the jungle in The Lion King, Jack’s Wife Freda would no doubt be its watering hole. It sounds like a bold statement, but if you’ve ever been there on a Saturday…or any day of the week that is…you’ll know what we mean. Throngs of young manhattanites happily wait outside for tables in rain, snow or sleet, and always outside to greet you are Maya and Dean Jankelowitz; the couple that owns this serendipitous spot (They will also be opening a second location next week at 50 Carmine Street in the West Village!).
We couldn’t help but be flies on the wall for a dinner at home with the two (and their two equally adorable sons, Noam and Benny). As the two cooked, the boys ran around with their cameras and gave us a run for our money, photographing everything in plain sight. It was a basic comfort food kind of meal of steak, potatoes and salad; definitely a reflection of the simplicity that makes Jack’s Wife Freda so great (a quality not easy to pull off).
While Dean continued to cook, Maya launched into how they met, a story that began when they were both working at Balthazar. It was Fourth of July weekend and it was slow, so the two walked around the Lower East Side all night. After dropping Maya at home, Dean proceeded to break up with his girlfriend and Maya broke up with her boyfriend. Dean texted Maya all night and the two planned to meet in Tompkins Square Park. Let’s just say Dean only went back to his apartment a month later to get his passport.
Sitting down to dinner was – we liked to think – as magical as it is on any other night at the Jankelowitz’s. Check out below; the proof is in the pictures…
*Photographed by Danielle Kosann. Maya wears a Zimmermann dress, available here.