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