Tons of dishes made from family recipes, brunch seven days a week, and a loving tribute to a patriarch are all coming soon to a Paulus Hook street corner. One of Jersey City’s newest restaurants hopes to find a winning formula at a storefront that’s vexed the neighborhood for years.
The retail space at 247 Washington Street has seen too many businesses come and go, but construction activity over the summer created some buzz for the storefront’s future. The upcoming restaurant, dubbed Buddy Who’s, is a partnership between two old friends from different industries.
The eatery’s concept was concocted by George Makrogiannis, a partner at Liberty Prime Steakhouse, and Paul Cate, who started out in advertising. Cate told Jersey Digs he did the “rat race” into New York City every day for years at his old gig, and the grind of that life started to drive him nuts.
“I’m a numbers guy, and I did the math; I just spent too large a percentage of my life at a job I hated,” Cate said. When Makrogiannis convinced him to take the plunge into the restaurant world, Cate knew exactly what their eatery should be called.
Buddy Who’s is named after Paul’s late father, Bud. As the story goes, Paul’s mother Lynn and Buddy were both in high school when he wanted to ask her out on a date. His friends approached Lynn and let her know that Buddy wanted to take her out, to which Lynn replied, “Buddy? Buddy who?”
A lasting nickname was born, and Paul said his father signed his cards to Lynn “Love, Buddy Who” during all 45 years of their marriage. Buddy had always wanted to open a restaurant of his own, and tributes to him are prominent throughout this establishment. The logo is modeled after his actual signature and a local artist created a mural of him on the side of the building.
Makrogiannis and Cate worked with Little Ferry-based Keltic Construction on the buildout of the restaurant, which features lots of reclaimed wood. They consulted with the Historic Paulus Hook Association to make sure they kept notable details of the building intact, and historic pictures of the neighborhood will adorn the restaurant’s walls.
As far as the food goes, Cate says Buddy Who’s will feature classic American cuisine with a contemporary twist. In addition to the daily brunch menu featuring everything from eggs Benedict, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or smoked salmon, the restaurant will sport innovative spins on the classic burger. A few choices include the French Onion; the Jersey, featuring grilled pork roll and an over-easy egg; a Tuna Burger with wasabi aioli and avocado; and a house-made veggie burger with roasted red pepper hummus spread.
Other options include some flatbreads, salads, pomme frites, and sandwiches, while entrees like baby back ribs or the lovingly named Linguini ala Mama Lynn’s Meatballs come from family recipes. Appetizers and a raw bar round out the menu, which looks to provide some great libations to complement the food.
“Happy hour will be a big piece of the puzzle,” said Cate, noting their location is just blocks from the office towers of Exchange Place. Seasonal cocktails, wine, and beers from New Jersey breweries will start flowing at Buddy Who’s soon. It’s scheduled to open the week of December 12.
An “acoustic night” featuring laid-back music is in the works, and an outdoor seating area for 25 guests is planned for the warmer months. Those interested in keeping tabs on Buddy Who’s impending launch can follow the restaurant on their Facebook page, and keep an eye out for their opening next month.
[gmap height=”250px”]247 Washington Street, Jersey City, NJ[/gmap]
247 Washington Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302