SINCE OPENING SMALL, black-box music venue Cameo Gallery in 2009, Jify Shah has seen several of the acts which he first supported—Twin Shadow, The War On Drugs, Caveman—rocket to stardom. As a venue, Cameo needs no rebranding; over the last five years it’s solidified its reputation as the perfect spot to see everything from music to comedy (it’s been home to the beloved Big Terrific for years), but Shah felt the adjoining restaurant was in need of a bit of a makeover.
Formerly known as Lovin’ Cup Café, which served solid, if basic, fare, Shah has relaunched the restaurant as Jify’s, and is now offering food inspired by his Caribbean upbringing. “It’s a marriage of what I’ve learned from Curaçao and New York,” he explains. “I want to have a place that brings the energy and the vibe that I grew up with on the island.” What this means is a burger that’s marinated in jerk spices (“the only burger that makes you sweat,” says Shah), coffee-rubbed skirt steak, mashed green plantains, and coconut curried vegetables. Plus, there’s a drink menu inspired by Cameo-favorites, like LCD Soundsystem (the tequila-based “Losing My Edge”) and Midnight Magic (the bourbon-based “Beam Me Up”).
There’s little doubt that Jify’s fulfills the dream of having a restaurant that serves as an extension of the overall Cameo vibe. As Shah says, “My goal was to use the same approach we used with Cameo for this entire space. I wanted a room that—whatever else it does—really takes you where you want to be.”
93 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg