First Look: Restaurateur Gabe Stulman Returns With Parisian-Inspired Jolene
This American bistro is designed to be a restaurant for any occasion.
Restaurateur Gabe Stulman saw three of his lauded restaurants (Fedora, Bar Sardine, and Simon & The Whale) close in the wake of the pandemic last year. But, as of this week, he’s back to expanding his empire with an answer to the question on everyone’s mind right now: What should a post-COVID restaurant be like?
His answer: Jolene. Stulman’s newest spot opened in NoHo this week with a menu of American bistro fare inspired by Cafe de Flore in Paris. It’s designed to be the type of place you can go to “simply enjoy a bottle of wine without pressure to order any food,” have a leisurely multi-course meal, or visit for any occasion in between.
The restaurant occupies the same location as Stulman’s former venture, The Jones, which opened in 2019 to revive the home of iconic Great Jones Cafe at 54 Great Jones Street. While the pandemic had other plans for that concept, Stulman was able to hang onto the space and flip it into Jolene.
Partner and executive chef James McDuffee—who formerly worked with Stulman at his neighborhood New American restaurant, Joseph Leonard—is behind the food. The menu features easy-to-share smaller plates like arancini, lamb tartare, and Parmesan Panisse (a snack-sized version of the Mediterranean dish), as well as main courses with French influence such as a whole branzino butterflied with charred lemons, olives, and parsley, and a chopped steak frites dish with short rib and brisket.
On the beverage side, natural wine will be the focus with more than a dozen by-the-glass pours are featured on the menu. Beer, classic cocktails like negronis, spritzes, and Manhattans, and a special cocktail that serves as an ode to the Pegu Club, which closed amid the pandemic, round out the beverage options.
Stulman always had a restaurant in his West Village portfolio named after a matriarch—now-defunct Perla was named after his grandmother and Fedora was named after the restaurant’s then-90-year-old former owner—so his latest is a nod to Dolly Parton, who inspired the restauranter with her generosity and philanthropic spirit toward vaccine research.
The restaurant is currently only open for dinner service starting at 5 pm on Tuesday through Saturday, but Stulman plans to expand the offerings to weekend brunch and Friday lunch in an effort to maintain the spot’s any-occasion vibe. At full capacity, Jolene seats 34 inside the dining room, with room for 53 more on the sunny cobblestone street outside the restaurant.
How to book: Reservations via Resy