“If you were going to give the cuisine a long and unwieldy name, it might be South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine.”
—New York Magazine
Jack’s Wife Freda is an immigrant love story, times two. Freda and Jack met and married in Johannesburg circa 1930. They had two children and a handful of grandchildren. Their grandson Dean dreamed of the America he saw on TV, and as a teenager packed his few belongings and began his great adventure. In 2003, life took yet another turn, and he met Maya. She too had emigrated to New York to find that special something. Sparks flew, and another immigrant love story was born. They were married in Maya’s homeland, Israel, at their spiritual center of the Western Wall.
With a passion for the hospitality and restaurant trade, they worked separately and together in many downtown establishments. In 2007 they were blessed with their firstborn Noam; as their family grew, so did their desire to open their own special place. In 2011, their son Benjamin arrived and more good fortune brought a space on Lafayette Street. Inexperienced but determined to take a risk on themselves, they settled on the name of Jack’s Wife Freda, invoking the memories of being welcomed home again by loved ones. Dean’s grandmother Freda was a wonderful host, gracious and warm with family, friends, and strangers alike—and she always made sure there was lots of food.
So, on Friday, January 13th, 2012, we opened, summoning up all our courage, a handful of determined and generous souls and our favorite clothes. Ten years later, you can find us here still, as well as at our newer locations on Carmine Street in the West Village, and West 16th Street in Chelsea.
Our menu is filled with dishes we know and love from our childhoods in Israel and South Africa (with a few New York favorites). Our love for our adopted hometown is reflected in everything at Jack’s Wife Freda, from our lively atmosphere, all-day dining hours, and understated digs. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and classic cocktails are served 7 days a week, all at reasonable prices. We can’t wait to see you here soon.