If you’ve ever wanted to imbibe like a royal, look no further than Jones Wood Foundry — a gastropub serving time-honored British dishes reinvigorated for 21st-century palates. The restaurant is rooted in the tradition of the United Kingdom’s public houses as genial gathering places for eating and drinking. Its rustic charm, locally sourced ingredients, and ever-evolving menu make Jones Wood Foundry a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with friends and family.
Located in the heart of the Upper East Side at 401 E. 76th Street, Jones Wood Foundry derives its name from the area’s fascinating history. Before it was known as the Upper East Side, the land between 66th and 77th Streets was called Jones Wood. Named after John Jones, who purchased more than half of its 150 acres during the early days of the United States, the area was considered the most densely forested land on the island of Manhattan. In the next few years, Jones Wood would become increasingly popular and urbanized, losing almost all of its forest by the early 20th century. The only remnant that survives is located in the Jones Wood Garden, a private hidden plot between 65th and 66th Streets.
Jones Wood Foundry’s menu was crafted by chef and owner Jason Hicks, who originally hails from Stratford-upon-Avon, England. After attending culinary school in Birmingham, Hicks traveled around the globe, gaining experience at the luxurious Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, in Rotorua, New Zealand, Perth, Sydney, and Cape Tribulation, Australia. Before being turned into a restaurant, the building was an actual foundry making manhole covers. Currently, the building in the back garden is the oldest non-listed wooden building in all of New York City.
Upon walking into the restaurant, customers enter a cozy bar area with 15 to 20 seats and a booth for six to eight people, adorned with British flag pillows. Further inside is the Brick Room, an airy brick-walled space accentuated with wrought iron and stained glass. Natural sunlight fills the room from its skylight and French doors.
In the very back is the Main Dining Room, a rustic space filled with wood paneling and leather banquettes. Along the walls are etched glass and vintage Anglophile accents transporting customers to the British Isles. Highlights include a sign of the classic phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” and a bust of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
For those who wish to dine outside, Jones Wood Foundry has two options. The first is a hidden winter garden, providing a quieter and more intimate dining experience. In front of the restaurant is an outdoor terrace covered with a high canopy, allowing guests to take in the sights of New York.
One stand-out offering at Jones Wood Foundry is its new “Fish & Fizz” brunch special, which features Chef Jason Hicks’ renowned fish ‘n chips paired with Chapel Down’s “British Fizz,” a light and crisp English sparkling wine. With hints of red apple and buttered brioche, the wine’s warm fruity aromas pair well with the buttery, flaky battered fish and triple-cooked french fries accompanied by tartar sauce. Chapel Down’s Brut is created using the traditional Champagne method, with its fruit sourced from the southeast of England. This wine is reportedly served at Buckingham Palace, including at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding.
“Fish & Fizz” is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends for a fixed price of $100 for two people, which includes one bottle of Chapel Down Brut and two platters of fish ‘n chips. Solo diners can order the special for $60 with two glasses of wine provided.
Other classic English dishes offered at the restaurant include shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and bacon-wrapped brook trout with a bordelaise sauce. On weekends, customers can feast on Yorkshire pudding and a sunday roast set atop a bed of vegetables topped with horseradish cream and red wine gravy. For those with a sweet tooth, desserts include apple and blackberry crumble, banoffee pie made with bananas, cream and a thick caramel sauce, and sticky toffee pudding served warm with vanilla ice cream. To drink, Samuel Smith’s organic lager and Innis & Gunn’s barrel-aged beer both provide a pleasant taste of the United Kingdom at its finest.
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