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Jack’s Wife Freda is a comfortable, casual eatery that is pleasantly buzzing (if not totally jammed) almost any time of day. Husband-wife owners Dean and Maya Jankelowitz wanted it this way: their cozy nook kicks off daily with breakfast and morning coffee, gets the early and late lunchers followed by the afternoon wine and coffee drinkers, and draws an attractive crowd at dinnertime. The Jankelowitz’s Jewish-inflected comfort-food menu nods to Maya’s Israeli upbringing and Dean’s South African origins with dishes like a green shakshuka stew and fried chicken giblets flavored with peri-peri, a South African pepper. (The name, in case you were wondering, is an homage to Dean’s grandparents Jack and Freda.)

Somehow the brief lineup manages to satisfy both staid and adventurous eaters: there are classics like a fine, juicy cheeseburger and a Greek salad made with kale and an ultra-fresh block of feta, plus more eclectic fare including Freda’s Fish Balls (toothsome fritters rolled in panko breadcrumbs), and a veggie curry bowl with couscous. Still, the spot’s charms have not been lost on the neighborhood’s creative crowd. They flock to the easy, malleable hangout Jack’s Wife Freda manages to be, suitable for a midday feed or a quick coffee meeting, a place to grab a cantaloupe juice to go, or just somewhere fun to relax at night. Like the best downtown places, Jack’s Wife Freda is all of those things and more.

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