Josie’s Brunch: Good Effort, Poor Execution

Date February 2, 2008

Josie’s calls themselves “Friendly fun and fabulous for you” and “a beacon… of healthful and wholesome ingredients.” That’s fine and dandy but when you’re charging $14 for fruit and three chocolate chip pancakes with around twelve chocolate chips plus $3.25 for a tiny cup of thin, weak coffee (granted it’s bottomless), I start to question the “friendly” and the “wholesome.”


More on why I found Josie’s to be ordinary and overpriced after the break.

While strolling around the UWS on a gray Saturday with my Mom and sister, we attempted to have brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup, a good place to take the special ladies in your life. Unfortunately the 30-minute wait there sent us towards Amsterdam Avenue where we came upon Josie’s, a place my Mom and sister previously enjoyed.

After milling through the brunch menu, I limited my decisions down to one of two:

– The Char-Grilled Brandt Natural Beef Burger for an exorbitant $15.75


– The Traditional Organic Pancakes ($11.75 plain) for $13.75 with chocolate chips and fresh strawberries.

I inquired as to whether the burger was flame-broiled or on a griddled and the waitress skeptically answered “flat griddle”, enough for me to say no thanks. NYC Food Guy likes his burgers flame-broiled. This turned out to be smart move because I saw the burger on another table and it looked too tightly packed (a burger should be loosely packed letting the juices form) and was on a bun that was half it’s size.

So I went with the pancakes served with organic maple syrup and non-dairy strawberry “butter”.


These pancakes were airy and fairly light, not cakey or rubbery like some diner pancakes, but they didn’t impress. Why?

1) Organic maple syrup is too thin to sufficiently coat the pancakes, I could have asked for more but I wasn’t looking for a sugar overdose.

2) There weren’t enough chocolate chips for me. I spotted about 5 or 6 chips in each of the three pancakes. My preference is to get at that many chocolate chips in each bite.

3) The quotes on that strawberry “butter” are the most loosely used quotes I’ve ever seen. I don’t even know how to describe what this pink goop tasted like; maybe a mix of imitation-dairy sour cream with a hint of some poor attempt at strawberry flavor. Just nasty. I ordered some real butter, smeared it all over and chowed down.


It was comforting adding a little unhealthy-ness to the meal. Want some real strawberry butter on the UWS? Head to Good Enough to Eat or Popover Cafe.

Josie’s was packed so they’re obviously cashing in on the organic food craze. The place is nice inside, bright and pastel colored. Guys, this would be a great place to take a health conscious girl for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But in the end it’s way overpriced for the kind of food I’d usually pay this kind of money for. $16 for a cheeseburger and baked Belgian frites? $14 for three little pancakes, some weird pink stuff, and thin maple syrup? Forget that. If the prices were lower it would be another story but Josie’s, “fablulous for you”, really seems to be fabulous for them.

Josie’s (3 locations)

Food in this review: 300 Amsterdam Ave. at 74th Street

New York, NY 10023

(212) 769-1212

6 Responses to “Josie’s Brunch: Good Effort, Poor Execution”

  1. food for thought said:

    total agreement on this place.
    luke warm coffee at $3.25 a cup? what are they thinking?
    the butternut squash soup, tasty and only $5.50.
    josie’s has a good idea with healthy food but…..

  2. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Food For Thought-

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who felt cheated by Josie’s. They have the right idea but it’s definitely a bit rusty. Hopefully they’ll see this review and take note.

    NYC Food Guy

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  4. Anonymous said:

    Ditto, Food Guy. Had a similar experience there for brunch. Ordered eggs and veggies…everything was lukewarm, floppy and tasted reheated. Interestingly enough, I have had very good meals there at other times. What I suspect is something I call the the Sunday Brunch Downer. It happens in a lot of good restaurants mid-day on the weekends. The chef is off during the day and other kitchen staff take over. I imagine the thinking is: “How can you screw up eggs and pancakes?” I have taken so many friends and relatives to brunch at terrific restaurants only to be disappointed at their brunch offerings. Give me a greasy spoon any day!

  5. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Well as much as I’m sorry to hear that you had a bad experience there too, misery does love company. That’s a great theory you’ve got there. Makes perfect sense, Friday and Saturday nights should be the best at any restaurant and you have to imagine they’ve got their good chefs going at night and not the next morning. Brunch, if you’ve ever read Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”, is a BS meal that’s really just there to make money for the restaurant not boost their culinary acclaim.

  6. Anonymous said:

    100% agree. I was looking forward to trying this “butter” but anyone could make it. Blend some strawberries, butter and maybe cream cheese. It was a total waste of money.

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