New restaurant coming to Washington: Janelle's
  • I had heard rumors of the avenue getting a new Carib place, but thought the discussion pertained to the small take out place to be located near the corner of Washington and Prospect.


    While that is clearly happening, it seems like we are ALSO getting a much larger place:

    Janelle's


    Janelle's states that it will be a restaurant and bar, is located on the CH side of Washington Ave between Prospect and St. Marks.


    It looks large enough to sit around 40 people. Construction has been going on for a while, but it's sign seems to have gone up yesterday or today. (?)




  • yep, noticed that sign up on saturday a.m. as i was taking my dad for a pre-brunch walk through the neighborhood. curious to see what shapes up...


  • I look forward to preliminary reports.


  • I noticed this too--as we were walking to Sapid, in fact. Can't wait to give it a try!


  • I'm glad that the sign is up - if nothing else, it breaks up the hideousness of the tile. That said, I look forward to them opening.


  • The front of the restaurant now has a banner that proclaims it will have a grand opening on Friday May 27.


    Sit down carib dining here we come.


    :)


  • Based on what I saw this morning, I assume they had their opening yesterday.


    Here's my Saturday morning report:


    The door was open, so I looked in.


    The decor and feel remind me of Sugar Cane on Flatbush.


    Here's some of their pre-opening press, as per yahoo's local food section:


    "Washington Avenue continues to be hot, with a new business opening nearly every week lately. Grub Street is now reporting that the folks behind the new Janelle's Restaurant and Bar, Russel Baptists and fellow Trinidadian Joan Hurst, are set to open the eatery and full bar on May 27th.


    The menu for the new spot at 671 Washington between St. Marks and Prospect Place includes comfort foods like rotisserie chicken, baby back ribs, and rib eye steak along with curried goat, oxtail, curried crab, and red snapper with ginger and spices. They also sport a "Back Home Sunday Special" that includes brown stew chicken, macaroni pie, red beans, rice, plantains, crab and calloo, potato salad, and a green salad for $19.95. "



  • Although open, this place is not yet ready.


    Kitchen was slow.


    Place was empty.


    Food was only ok


    Bar did not yet have alc license.


    ...hopefully they will work out the bugs, advertise, and have their lic approved soon.


    (wait until you see the above before you go).


  • That's pretty discouraging news. I was thinking of hosting my monthly gathering of work colleagues at this place, but based on your feedback, I think I'll reconsider my decision. Hopefully they will smooth the wrinkles...


  • Jack Krohn said:

    That's pretty discouraging news. I was thinking of hosting my monthly gathering of work colleagues at this place, but based on your feedback, I think I'll reconsider my decision. Hopefully they will smooth the wrinkles...


    I actually had suggested it as a place for a work gathering as well since the menu looked good (although no vegetarian entree options!) and it was a big/attractive space. I saw it was BYOB, which stinks -- but now I will retract my suggestion for a place in the area. My coworkers love SugarCane, and I was hopeful this would be a less-crowded place for a drink and some food to hang out in. Oh well. Maybe next year.


  • Is it possible to walk into Sugarcane on a Friday night and get a table for a large group (8-12 people) without a reservation? We've done that at Kombit before, but Sugarcane always seems so crowded that we've never tried it.


  • its been a while since I've been, but Brooklyn Exposure on Bedford was yummy and may meet the needs of large groups without reservations. (downside: less convenient to the subway than Sugarcane)


    http://www.brooklynexposure.com/


    ....I really hope Janelle's gets its act together. I don't go to places when they first open, I went to it only after it was open for two weeks, and it still needs much work.


  • No, it's near impossible unless you go on the early side...like around 6 or so.


  • Janelle's has now been open since late May.

    [I.E. All of June and July, and much of August.]

    -- I have yet to see more than 2 tables filled in the evening.

    -- It has yet to get its liquor license.

    People on Yelp are posting experiences similar to mine, while other diners liked it.

    I fear it will not survive until it gets liquor lic, or its act together. I suspect it would be doing better if the dining was good, and it MERELY lacked a liquor lic.

    Has anyone gone?

    I would be a shame if it doesn't get its act together by Labor Day. Such potential for $$$.


  • Time Out is bestowing publicity on Janelle's

    The question: Have they gotten their act together enough to satisfy the curious customers who come?

    When I walk by, it continues to be empty.


  • Went there the Sunday after Irene.

    The good: it was the only place on the street open. Nice interior decor. Real potential there.

    The bad: The food took around 75 minutes. There were three other tables ahead of us.

    The food: Not bad, but skimpy portions (two tiny slivers of plaintains to go with dinner,etc) and there are much better options for Caribbean food (God Is, Islands etc) on Washington.

    It'll be out of business within a year. The space is nice enough, though, that someone who knows how to run a restaurant should be able to move in and be successful.


  • xlizellx said:

    I actually had suggested it as a place for a work gathering as well since the menu looked good (although no vegetarian entree options!) and it was a big/attractive space. I saw it was BYOB, which stinks -- but now I will retract my suggestion for a place in the area. My coworkers love SugarCane, and I was hopeful this would be a less-crowded place for a drink and some food to hang out in. Oh well. Maybe next year.


    I have yet to see a white person in SugarCane... Meanwhile Franny's is ONLY white folks... Whats up with that?


  • Franny's is wonderful, but it is expensive... this may boil down to "who has the $$"?


  • Comparing Sugar Cane and Franny's seems odd to me. They are different places, with different menus and atmospheres.

    ....This white folk has had a beverage at Sugar Cane and it was not cheap, leading me to believe that the folks who fill Sugar Cane on a nightly basis have $.

    If Janelle's gets its alcohol license and dining act together, it should be interesting to see who becomes the core crowd.

    So far they have not managed to improve their kitchen service. ....pouring a drink and running a bar requires many of the same skills as running a restaurant, so I continue to fear this place is not going to make it.


  • They now have their alcohol license, but not a single table was occupied.

    ...at 6:45 on a nice Saturday evening, when all of the other establishments on Washington seemed to be doing ok.


  • whynot_31 said:

    They now have their alcohol license, but not a single table was occupied.

    ...at 6:45 on a nice Saturday evening, when all of the other establishments on Washington seemed to be doing ok.

    Really? What about Skazzy? Seems like I only ever see three patrons in there at at time...


  • WhyFi said:



    3?!

    Every time I go by, it's empty.


  • I have seen Skazzy empty, but was hoping there was a Breakfast and Lunch business that I was not aware of.

    Should my Business Deathwatch List include Skazzy as well as Janelle's?


  • I'm white and I've eaten at Sugarcane.

    Most white folks are afraid.


  • Whatchuwant said:

    I'm white and I've eaten at Sugarcane.

    Most white folks are afraid.


    I don't think afraid is the right word. Maybe not so comfortable? I think the bar is great and I sometimes like the food, but I don't always feel so comfortable in there and I'm black.


  • I think Sugarcane's biggest draw is its fashion conscious, high income, single customers; not necessarily its food or drink. The food and drinks seem to be priced a little higher in order to maintain its particular crowd.

    ...there are lots of places like that around, those who don't seek that scene don't frequent such scenes. Each bar/restaurant in NYC attracts a particular mix (sexual orientation, racial, or income, etc), those who don't seek the particular scene simply frequent a different one.

    Even though NY is a big city with lots of scenes, I don't think Janelle's is going to make it. ....mere decor isn't enough.


  • whynot_31 said:

    I think Sugarcane's biggest draw is its fashion conscious, high income, single customers, not necessarily its food or drink. The food and drinks seemed to be priced a little higher in order to maintain this crowd.

    ...there are lots of places like that around, those who don't seek that scene don't frequent such scenes.


    I totally agree with this and it actually made me realize why I don't always feel comfortable there. Because it attracts lots of singles it also attracts some aggressive men, which I absolutely hate. I try and avoid the place, but will go if a bunch of my friends are going. Being there in a group makes it easier to brush of thirsty dudes.


  • Ishtar-

    I suspect you and your friends may be encountering the "curse" of being good looking.


  • As a result of:

    1. Seeing no advertising

    2. Seeing few, if any, customers during dinner hours.

    3. Having a reputation for slow mediocre food, with small portions.

    SINCE THEY OPENED IN LATE JUNE, I hereby predict that Janelle's will be closed by Jan 1, 2012.

    Other predictions (be them more pessimistic or more optimistic) are welcome.


  • I'm more of a pub person, so I haven't been to Sugarcane. I haven't heard much about it so I usually decide to go to one of the other 1000+1 places around there. Black Sheep, Born, Frannys, Piquant... Oceans! I have been to all these instead, lol.

    I plan to hit Farm also, before Sugarcane, but I need to pay off some credit cards :)


  • I predict that Janelle's will hire a team of nubile Jamaican lasses to man the tables while dressed in thongs and mini-tees. Business thereafter will boom and Jack Krohn will dine there nightly.


  • Oh snap! They got a groupon! Seems like they're tryna fight to stay open. I've yet to hit them up....b/c I'm a West Indian food snob but refuse to pay over $40 for West Indian food that doesn't taste better than what you can get on Nostrand or Flatbush for 1/2 the price....but this groupon will do the trick.

    http://www.groupon.com/deals/janelles-caribbean-american-cuisine?c=title&utm_medium=email&sid=11012184&utm_campaign=janelles-caribbean-american-cuisine&division=new-york&s=body&p=5&date=20111104&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=all-deals_new-york&addxe=Q0xBWUZJTE1TMUBHTUFJTC5DT00=&user=864f2548a83bb9182912af6f08f0c2d125b5d2eee2ec934db12cd8cbf18a2cb3


  • I saw the groupon ... and it says it includes Caribbean Cocktails .... yet they don't have a liquor license. I'd be annoyed if I bought it and assumed a nice dinner with drinks only to find we had to spend

    The deal:

    For $29, you get a meal for two (up to a $70.85 value) that includes the following:

    One appetizer (up to a $13.95 value)

    Two entrees or combination dinners (up to a $22.95 value each)

    Two caribbean-style cocktails (up to a $5.50 value each)

    Yet there's no actual alcohol? I'd probably flip a bit if I traveled to the area to eat here to find it was fruit juice in a cup.


  • I haven't been in and ordered a drink, but I do see a bar stocked with what looks to be alcohol bottles when I walk by. Which is weird, because, this link says they go before CB 8 in a few days (Nov 8th)

    Note: I'm aware that CB8 does not issue liquor permits, the liquor authority does.

    Can one get a permit before going in front of before CB8?

    Are they serving drinks at this point? ....are they serving without a permit?

    Are the bottles there for show, in eager anticipation?


  • Janelle's doesn't yet have a liquor license yet. I think the ABC law controls sales and distribution of liquor. Haven't read anything about displaying liquor.


  • according to Groupon they have their liquor license -- I asked on their forum....


  • Given that it is always empty, I wonder if they have actually served a alcoholic beverage.

    They may have figured out a new way to not get busted for serving alcohol without a license: Have no customers.


  • whynot_31 said:

    Given that it is always empty, I wonder if they have actually served a alcoholic beverage.

    They may have figured out a new way to not get busted for serving alcohol without a license: Have no customers.


    zing!


  • Janelle's was on the agenda for a new liquor license at last night's CB 8 Economic Development Committee meeting.

    No one from the restaurant showed up.


  • What is the name of that TV show where the chef comes in, and quickly turns around restaurants that are failing mostly due to their owner's incompetence?

    Are they filming in NYC anytime soon?


  • whynot_31 said:

    What is the name of that TV show where the chef comes in, and quickly turns around restaurants that are failing mostly due to their owner's incompetence?

    Are they filming in NYC anytime soon?


    There are a few including Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and Irvine's Restaurant: Impossible.

    I don't think that either will be in town soon enough.


  • Some good could come from this.

    If they are unable to get their act together, the next tenant may benefit from a nicely renovated space.


  • danaeo said:

    Janelle's was on the agenda for a new liquor license at last night's CB 8 Economic Development Committee meeting.

    No one from the restaurant showed up.


    Good, Janelle's.


  • I am pleased to report that this place actually distributed menus in PH yesterday.

    No mention of alcohol.

    They deliver, and are going to offer brunch. At first glance, it appears like the menu for Shanes Cafe (also no alcohol, similar menu). Shanes has developed a steady customer base and is a nice alternative to Toms.


  • whynot_31 said:

    No mention of alcohol.



    Since it's First Saturday, businesses are having all sorts of deals:

    Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association

    Tonight! Sip & Shop deals on the Trolley leaving the Brooklyn Museum from 6pm - 10pm! Don't miss out. 10% OFF entrees @ Udom Thai Restaurant, A FREE glass of wine @ Abigail Cafe & Wine Bar, $2 OFF cocktails/$1 OFF beer @ Janelle's Carribean American Cuisine, ONE FREE DRINK with an entree @ Dean Street, $1 OFF DRINKS @ Rawstar, 10% OFF DRINKS and pastries @ Coffee Bites. See you on the trolley!


  • I'll have to walk by tonight and see if they have customers.

    If Jack's waitress is there, I may order a rum punch as well.


  • So I finally hit up Janelle's on Friday with the hubster...a few other couples were inside but they had alot of takeout traffic and phone orders. They also had a steel drummer playing a medley of pop classics and Caribbean tunes. But enough about the ambiance.

    From the reviews that I've seen I was expecting the food to be horrible but I was dooooope. I had the curry shrimp with okra and rice, eggplant choka (a sauteed eggplant side dish) and a couple glasses of a cabernet. The hubster had the ribs and shrimp combo with mac and cheese and a virgin cocktail.

    I'm from Brooklyn and my family is West Indian and I was impressed with the quality of the food. It was delicious and I really appreciate all of the vegetarian menu options.

    The bad reviews that this place has gotten has kept me away but that groupon got me in the door. This place is a nice sit down west indian alternative to the meat market at Sugarcane. I just hope they can keep the food quality and service consistent.


  • Despite the confusion above, they have an alc lic

    http://www.trans.abc.state.ny.us/servlet/ApplicationServlet?pageName=com.ibm.nysla.data.publicquery.PublicQuerySuccessfulResultsPage&validated=true&serialNumber=1256846&licenseType=OP

    Lately, I have even seen customers.... Have they found their stride?

    Despite these hopeful signs, they can't be breaking even....


  • Despite walking by during prime dining hours this weekend, I saw only two tables filled.

    One night, they hosted a comedy show ....this is a good technique because comedians often cajole their friends and family into seeing them perform.


  • >>>this is a good technique because comedians often cajole their friends and family into seeing them perform.<<<

    I hear they do this at Chabbads too

    [-(

    8-[


  • I resubmit my idea of hiring curvy, scantily-clad Jamaican women as waitresses. It's worth a shot and nothing else seems to be working.


  • Jack you may have to settle for Jerking your Chicken.

    However, I agree, that is a tried and true formula.


  • A large group of co-workers and I finally made it to Janelle's. Despite some of the negative reviews, it was a pretty positive experience. The atmosphere is casual, yet attractive and the food decent. Some dishes(e.g. jerk chicken, mac and cheese, rice and peas, stewed chicken) were better than others (roti, cod fish cakes). Much to my surprise, the drinks were strong, especially the one called "Bad Boy", whose every sip tasted like a shot of liquor. Service was so-so, but not as terrible as I had expected. As a bonus, they had a steel drum player. Sadly, there were no scantily-clad Jamaican waitresses - however, since learning that the owners are Trinidadian, not Jamaican, I have amended my business plan to reflect this and can only hope that they take my advice in the future.


  • Good to hear.

    Yes, I've also seen people in there when they have live entertainment. I hope they are getting enough people in there often enough to survive.

    So far, I have yet to detect a singles scene. Strangely, the Bearded Lady, Minor Arcana, and Way Station achieved this soon after opening, without the staff members Jack desires.


  • Jack Krohn said:

    Sadly, there were no scantily-clad Jamaican waitresses - however, since learning that the owners are Trinidadian, not Jamaican, I have amended my business plan to reflect this and can only hope that they take my advice in the future.


    Even better! They tend to have the best Carnival costumes anyway.


  • After a start during the summer of 2011 that was so slow, clumsy, and unprofessional that I thought it would soon close, this restaurant appears to be FINALLY figuring it out.

    In addition to having more customers when I walk by, the Yelp reviews and "buzz" that I am hearing is becoming more positive.

    For example, compare the 2011 reviews with the 2012 ones:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/janelles-caribbean-restaurant-brooklyn

    They finally have a website: http://www.janellesrestaurant.com/

    They are distributing menus!

    ....I don't want to know how much money these lost over the last year in order to learn how to do the above, but am glad that they finally seem to be getting their act together!


  • http://www.yelp.com/biz/janelles-caribbean-restaurant-brooklyn?sort_by=date_desc

    Bethany (8/18/2013), Wendy (8/17/2013) and LaTisha (8/7/2013), I wish I could give you a refund.

    Is Janelle's not aware that they can't be good only on occasion?

    ...Is Janelle's aware of Yelp?

    Is Janelle's aware that Bethany, Wendy and LaTisha tell people about their experiences?


  • It continues to perplex me how this place stays open, despite having so few customers:

    The place has relatively few reviews on Yelp, but Grant C wrote this on Oct 13, 2013:

    The food was tasty with good portions, but this was the worst service I have ever experienced.

    Waited 45 minutes just for the server to take our order. Then waited another hour for our food, which did not all come together. Then, after receiving our food, we had to wait another ten minutes to get our utensils so we could eat. All this after, I had seen other diners get their food and also not have utensils, so I preemptively asked the server for utensils before getting our food to no avail. Unbelievably terrible service. We heard their playlist go through twice before eating, not because it was a short playlist, but because we sat for 2 hours before eating. The restaurant wasn't even busy. Probably should have walked out.

    However, the food was decent. I had oxtail with rice and peas. The oxtail was tender and well seasoned and the rice and peas were solid. I hope they can improve the service, because the food and atmosphere is decent.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/janelles-caribbean-restaurant-brooklyn?sort_by=date_desc


  • This place continues to be almost empty every time I walk by, and the Yelp reviews tell a depressing story.http://www.yelp.com/biz/janelles-caribbean-restaurant-brooklyn?sort_by=date_descI have seen places hire professionals to do advertising and consulting when they have realized that they are in desperate need of help. Today, I rec'd the picture below and thought this might be the case:

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