One of Newark Avenue’s vacant storefronts will soon be activated again, as a new concept run by a familiar name in the local hospitality scene has emerged to replace what was one of Downtown’s trailblazing restaurants.
The beginning of 2020 was more than a bit unkind to the pedestrian plaza portion of Newark Avenue. The stretch had a tough run that saw too many businesses close during the winter months that included LITM, which operated for 17 years.
The eatery, part restaurant with a helping of art gallery, stood for Love is the Message. We reported that LITM founder Jelynne Jardiniano Morse transferred the former restaurant’s liquor license to a company called Newark Ave Pub Group LLC back in November and the purchasers of the license will be keeping it at the current 140 Newark Avenue address.
Per an Instagram post from the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District, signage has gone up at the property announcing the imminent arrival of Grace O’Malley’s. A legal notice issued in September mentioned that the new restaurant ownership includes Michael Dorrian, who is behind Dorrian’s Red Hand on 84th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Dorrian’s Red Hand has been a staple of the neighborhood since 1960 and has some colorful history that adds to its intrigue. The restaurant has a second location in Newport along Washington Boulevard, which will make Grace O’Malley’s Michael Dorrian’s second Jersey City venture.
Joining Dorrian on the ownership side of Grace O’Malley’s is Michael McKenna of New City, N.Y. and Jersey City locals Camillus O’Callaghan and Jeremy Tirpak. Little is known about the restaurant, but a newly created Instagram account at the handle @graceomalleysjc refers to the restaurant as a “whiskey chapel,” giving a small indicator of what’s to come at the space.
An inquiry placed to Dorrian’s ownership seeking additional details about Grace O’Malley’s has so far gone unanswered. If the eatery gets up and running within the next few months, they’ll be able to take advantage of additional outdoor seating outside their storefront due to Jersey City’s overhaul of their hospitality scene that’s been necessitated by the realities of COVID-19 restrictions.