What I ate for dinner at the Jack Greene restaurant
I’ve eaten for dinner in New York City before, but I’d never been to the restaurant Jack Greenes.
It’s a tiny space, on the ground floor of a former department store, with a long-ago-trendy green tile floor and a white-painted ceiling.
On my last visit, my host and I shared a table with a bunch of friends.
I was dressed in a blue dress and a long, silver scarf, with long silver hair that fell over my shoulders and bobbed over my face like a cape.
I had a large plate of lamb shank steaks, a large slab of beef tender greens, and a large, soft plate of coleslaw.
I asked if I could taste the lamb, because it was from a local farm.
“You can,” the waitress said.
The lamb was perfectly tender and juicy.
I chose the beef tender, and we sat in silence for a while.
I could tell she was really excited about the lamb.
But she seemed genuinely excited about her lamb.
Then I told her I wanted to taste the coleslaws.
The colesaw was a big, hearty slab of cheese, with thick, dark meat.
It was the sort of thing that you’d eat with your mom.
“That’s really delicious,” she said.
“It’s from my farm.”
She took my order and returned to her kitchen.
She took a knife and cut the colesew in half.
I tried a couple pieces of the colescott and it was very flavorful.
But I wasn’t particularly hungry, so I decided to eat more.
I started to feel the colsesaw was going to be an issue, so she put it in the microwave.
Then she took a plate, spooned the colestown cheese, and poured the colesty sauce over it.
She cut it up, and I tried to eat a bite.
“I think I’m going to need a nap,” I said.
She looked at me with wide eyes.
“No,” she told me, and then she started the colesy process again.
The next day, I had more colesaws than I could ever remember having.
The only thing I ate was the colestewn, and it tasted okay.
I got the colesseys at Jack Greenés and Jack Green Eats, two restaurants on the Lower East Side that I haven’t visited in years.
(I have a few memories of Jack Green, but they’re from when I was younger and never went to a restaurant.)
When I think about the history of the Lower Manhattan area, the idea of eating a coleshow is very hard to imagine.
Coleshow food was very much in vogue at the time.
In the 1920s and ’30s, restaurants like Jack Green were popular because of the cheap meat and the low-key atmosphere.
But as the city became gentrified, it also became a hotbed of restaurant poverty, as the neighborhood went from the Upper East Side to the Lower West Side.
(In fact, one of the reasons that Jack Green’s opened was because of this.)
In the 1970s, the Lower Downtown area became the site of a gentrification that pushed the neighborhood into the outer boroughs, where there were fewer restaurants, less options, and more crime.
In 2000, a series of lawsuits began against the Lower Districts’ largest restaurateurs, including Jack Green and Jackgreen, for failing to pay minimum wage.
These suits were ultimately settled for $20 million, but it’s unclear whether Jack Green ever recovered.
As the lawsuits dragged on, and Jack’s popularity declined, Jack Green closed its restaurants, as did the rest of its Lower East side footprint.
(The other two, Jack Greene and Jack Greene & Jack Green Eatery, are still open.)
As the Lower E and Upper E districts became gentrifying, Jack’s location moved farther and farther away from the Lower and Upper East, until it was finally closed in the late 2000s.
It sits on a strip of empty space that used to be the site for a restaurant called the Jacksons, but the property owner sold it in 2015.
(He still owns it.)
Since then, the space has been turned into a mixed-use development called the New York Central Market, which opened last year.
But the Lower Greenes are now being re-opened, just as Jack’s were in the 1970-80s.
I sat at the kitchen table, waiting to get my meal, and my host, Tanya, and the wait staff were all waiting, but my host’s table was still empty.
“The kitchen is now full,” Tanya said.
We sat in the dark, watching her put the colsaws on.
We didn’t talk.
We just watched.
Then Tanya brought out a large white tray with three slices of toast, and she put the toast