Rain or shine, there is always a line outside at either location of Jack’s Wife Freda. At least during the day. But if you go at night, it’s a different story.
The menu is simple but dressed up with some flourishes. See: Rosewater waffles, green Shakshuka, Eggs “Benny” with beet hollandaise, and “Madame Freda,” the restaurant’s spin on a Croque Madame with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel, gruyere, and a sunny side up egg.
Sometimes restaurants suffer from trying to be too catchy or smart, but the food at Jack’s Wife Freda really justifies the wait. Everything I’ve ever ordered here has been quite delicious and done just right, from the perfectly done eggs (over well, as I like them) to the warm fluffy pita bread. (As well as the coffee. They make a fantastic latte.)
What was most stunning was the malva pudding. A soft. light cake drenched in butterscotch syrup, it’s a South African dessert—although the origins are shrouded in mystery. (At least according to Wikipedia.)
But like I mentioned before, the wait is usually during breakfast/lunch/brunch hours, weekday or weekend. (Seriously, you have to get there at 8AM to avoid any kind of wait. There’s even a crowd at lunchtime in the middle of the week.)
I’ll admit I recently got to skip the line thanks to a reservation/lunch event with Korbel, as the California Champagne (yes, they’re the only brand legally allowed to say that) was introducing their new stocking stuffer-sized bottles. (What was most impressive, if not dangerous, was how often the servers kept topping off everyone’s coupe glasses, leaving you to wonder just how much you had to drink over the course of the meal!)
Yet by the late afternoon into happy hour, you can usually just walk in. If there are just two of you (or you want to go alone, as I enjoy), I’d suggest sitting at the bar. (I usually make this suggestion just about everywhere, but it truly applies here.)
Not only is the dinner menu also pretty good (with a lot of similarities to the brunch menu) but there’s also a full bar with some excellent whiskey options—a nice (and warming) way to pass the time on these now cold nights.