A southern-style restaurant along the city’s most prominent pedestrian plaza has indicated they will be springing back to life as early as this month after falling victim to the pandemic last year.
South House, at 149 Newark Avenue, announced its closing last November after five years in business. The restaurant was the vision of Texas native David Hohensee, who worked with his sisters to bring a decidedly vintage look to the space that featured both a front courtyard and basement lounge.
“It is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement,” wrote Hohensee in a letter explaining the move. “Myself, and my founding right-hand team of rock star sisters, have decided to step away from the daily grind and close South House doors until a new management team is selected to carry the torch.”
Despite the shutdown, those missing South House’s chicken and waffles or a smoked old fashioned will welcome posters recently displayed at the property. Signs of Joaquin Phoenix were posted on the exterior including the phrase “rising like a phoenix” and the restaurant posted a cryptic message on their Instagram account, paraphrasing Buffalo Springfield, writing “something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.”
South House’s defunct website has recently been revived and urges visitors to “please stay tuned.” It is unclear if the previous ownership will be behind the reboot or if the restaurant has been sold. An inquiry Jersey Digs placed with the restaurant has yet to be answered and an opening date has not yet been announced.
South House’s revival is the latest development in a year-long rollercoaster along the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza. The stretch saw significant businesses close in early 2020 before COVID-19 struck, a reality that may have played a role in the delay of a planned $6.7 million renovation for the plaza.
The two blocks have rebounded a bit during recent months, welcoming new arrivals like Grace O’Malley’s, Bang Cookies, Milk & Cereal Bar, Hudson Hound, and Tamborim Bar & Grill. After awarding a contract for the plaza’s renovation in February, work finally began on the project late last month and should be completed in about six months.