jimmy’s diner

Beloved Neighborhood Restaurant Jimmy’s Diner Closes After 13 Years

Jimmy’s Diner owners Blair Papagni and Josh Cohen outside their closed restaurant

Another beloved small business has closed in the wake of COVID-19. Jimmy’s Diner (577  Union Ave.) announced this month that the local restaurant would close for good. And yes, “The pandemic is absolutely the reason we closed,” says Blair Papagani, owner of Jimmy’s Diner.

Jimmy’s diner paused service in mid-March, when Governor Cuomo put New York State on PAUSE. “I had no doubt we would reopen,” says Papagani. At the time, she was beginning remote learning with her three kids, and assumed this closure would only last a few weeks. “In the first two weeks of being closed, we watched, like everyone else, I’m sure, the stories on the news of healthcare workers overwhelmed by the huge influx of patients into hospitals on a daily basis,” Papagani recalls. “We wanted to help and do what we had always done: Feed people.”  Jimmy’s partnered with North Brooklyn Angels to produce 450 meals a day for Woodhull Hospital healthcare workers and military personnel stationed there. This continued for eight weeks until the need subsided. Still, that wasn’t enough to keep Jimmy’s in business.

In early June, when became clear to Papagani that indoor dining was not going to be returning to normal anytime soon, it was time to make some tough decisions. “Jimmy’s is located on a busy stretch of Union Avenue and our sidewalk is quite small.  The idea of outdoor dining never seemed feasible to me,” Papagani says. “On a good day, when the world was a different place, Jimmy’s maxed out at 26 seats, eleven counter seats and fifteen table seats. When indoor dining returns we would not have been able to seat the counter and spacing people out would mean a maximum of 10 people seated at a time, if we were lucky. After thirteen years, it was no longer economically possible to stay open.  Delivery is not profitable enough for us to rely on and the takeout market is super saturated right now. I mean, even Peter Luger is doing takeout.”

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Campaign to Feed Hospital Heroes and Employ Restaurant Workers Launched by North Brooklyn Angels

The North Brooklyn Angels have launched a new campaign to feed healthcare workers. (Courtesy of North Brooklyn Angels)

The North Brooklyn Angels launched a new initiative this week to help laid off restaurant workers and front line health care heroes. The “Neighbors Feeding Heroes” crowdfunding campaign began accepting donations on Wednesday morning with more than $650 raised so far.

The non-profit, volunteer-powered soup kitchen regularly serves freshly prepared meals for free throughout Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick in the “Angelmobile” with help from a production kitchen at Our Lady Mount Carmel Church (275 N 8th St.).

The new initiative provides workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens with breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days per week during the coronavirus crisis, with a kitchen team operating out of Jimmy’s Dinner (577 Union Ave.).

“The great thing that we’ve done is to put restaurant workers back to work in a safe way and we’re starting with 100 meal three times per day, Manny Howard spokesperson for the North Brooklyn Angels said. “And then, as their capacity to accept these meals grows and our capacity to produce grows, we’ll definitely put that number up. And with any luck we’ll be able to hire more restaurant workers.”

 

 

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We just got back from our new mission — Operation Neighbors Feeding Heroes 😇🚙 🏥 . Starting from this morning & until the crisis is over, we will be delivering delicious, individually wrapped meals to our healthcare workers at Woodhull Hospital 3x per day for breakfast, lunch & dinner, 7 days per week. That’s going to be over 2,100 meals per week if we can keep it up 🙌💙 . We definitely need your help since this is a huge undertaking for our tiny organization. . If you can donate and then spread the word to others who might also donate, that would really go a long way. We’ve also launched a GoFundMe to help power Operation #NeighborsFeedingHeroes (link in bio) 💪 . What’s on the menu? Our local Angel, @jimmysdinerbrooklyn, starting working at sun up to make over a hundred of their breakfast club and egg & cheese sandwiches. Right now, they’re prepping lunch. THANK YOU GUYS!!! . . . . . #Brooklyn #NewYork #NYC #corona #covid #volunteer #donate #neighbors #food #meals #coronavirus #Woodhull #nurses #doctors #NewYorkTough #nurse #love #doctors #frontline #frontliners

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Greenpoint Restauranteurs Battle Food Insecurity With Pay-What-You-Can Meals

The pay-what-you-can meals launched on Monday at Jimmy’s Diner (577 Union Ave.)

Greenpoint restauranteurs and married couple Blair Papagni and Josh Cohen are offering pay-what-you-can hot meals for those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, as the issue of food insecurity worries freshly out of work people in the service sector.

“As we get further into this shutdown I think it’s going to be more difficult to get hot meals. We’re a city built on people that go out to eat, so I think there’s a good portion of our younger population here that probably doesn’t cook often, and then we have our older population that maybe can’t get out,” Papagni said. Continue reading

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ICYMI: 4 Beloved Greenpoint Restaurants Are No More

The Saddest Sign  Image: Megan Penmann

Restaurants come and restaurants go with increasing regularity—I’m personally still mourning the loss of Lomzynianka. And 2016 didn’t go out without a few shocks to our neighborhood restaurant scene. Some beloved spots quietly served their last meals and closed up shop while we were all busy celebrating the holidays. On the bright side, more than a few new places have opened last year like Greenpoint Avenue’s Hail Mary, Cherry Point with its excellent charcuterie, high-end Leuca in the William Vale, River Styx transformed into 21 Greenpoint, and now we have two fried chicken joints with Brooklyn Star in the Brooklyn Night Bazaar and Pretty Southern on Bedford Ave. Plus at least one big one, A/D/O, is on the way, and they are all ready to comfort our souls over the losses. Continue reading

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An Interview with Bands Playing Our CMJ Showcase Friday (10/16)

The Winstons

I was not sure whether to be excited or afraid about meeting the bands playing our upcoming showcase at Bar Matchless.

At the last Greenpointers showcase, I got pressed up against a sweaty man in polyester shorty-shorts, and calf-length socks, who was sporting an alto saxophone. It was in a narrow hallway.

His band had just finished playing a set where the lead singer repeatedly expressed his love for weed and Taylor Swift.

My interview with the bands below might operate as an advance warning of what to expect Friday night, or enticement to attend. Ideally, it is both. Continue reading

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Gay Pride Festival Coming to Williamsburg!

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If the landslide victory in Ireland is any indication the movement for gay rights is finally getting the respect it deserves, North Brooklyn will continue to carry that torch this June by hosting a gay pride festival in Williamsburg. While a gay pride event is nothing new for Chelsea or Jackson Heights, hosts of some of the most fabulicious gay pride celebrations in the city, North Brooklyn business owners and the LGBT community felt it was high time the area had its own celebration.

And anyone who knows Williamsburg, knows this is going to be one affair to remember.

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Greenpoint Veggie Burger Diaries: Jimmy’s Diner II

Jimmy's Diner II Black Bean Burger

In this most recent Veggie Burgers Diaries, we visited Jimmy’s Diner on Franklin St. There aren’t a ton of lunch options in the area, so we figured we’d give it a shot and try the Black Bean Burger. Plus Gina and I had some talking to do about moving into a new space – an exciting but mentally draining ordeal for my brain.  Continue reading

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The Bounty, The River Styx, Alameda, Broken Land, Propeller, Spina, Torst, Achilles Heel: New Greenpoint Bars, Restaurants & Coffee Shops Round-Up

Greenpoint, you are so spoiled! Now it will be even more difficult to figure out where to go for dinner or a cocktail because there has been an explosion of new places! Can’t keep up? Here is a brief rundown of all the open and soon to be open bars, restaurants and coffee shops in the hood. It’s kind of insane, right?! Let us know in the comments if you have tried any of the new places and what you think. Stay tuned for in depth reviews!

Officially Open in Greenpoint:

Achilles Heel (180 West St) We saw it finally opened on Instagram via @mfade. Tarlow considered the history of the Greenpoint waterfront when he designed the menu and space. According to Grub Street, Achilles Heel is “a café and bar meant to evoke the always-open grocery and drinking spot that once sustained Greenpoint dockworkers at its West Street address between 1900 and 1960.” Grab a coffee and a fresh snack sourced from Marlow & Daughters on your way to the Ferry and enjoy an afternoon Hemingway Daiquiri or a glass of wine near the piano after a long day at the office. Coming soon… a New England Style Clam Chowdah!

Torst (615 Manhattan Ave) A fancy beer bar for beer nerds. This spot was great for an after work beer and a delicious cheese plate. The beer list is extensive and the tapping system is state of the art. As described on Gothamist: “Tørst offers a selection of 21 draft and 200 bottled beers, including rare, international brews not seen before now in the States … the guys installed a custom-built draught system called the Flux Capacitor, which allows individual draft lines to be temperature and pressure customized for specific beers, plus a system that allows for four different temperature controls.” Like I said, it’s for beer nerds.

Jimmy’s Diner (92 Calyer St) Formerly Calyer, Jimmy’s Diner #2 has opened up literally overnight! This photo sent to me by Paulie Gee. The menu will be similar to the Union Ave location. Get ready for mac n’ cheese, fried chicken and perhaps some key lime pie?!

Spina (107 Franklin St) It’s a flower shop slash coffee shop and get this  -the coffee is BLUE BOTTLE! Spina’s main business is social event planning, but after a visit to Italy and San Francisco, owner Paul Tsang and his partner Vanessa Chinga-Haven decided to start serving coffee in the new Franklin St space because, “coffee is aromatic and flowers are aromatic,” Paul told Greenpointers. How lovely. Continue reading

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