An ILTUWS reader recently sent us the photo above. We’ve called both the restaurant and the landlord but have not been able to connect with anyone.
Jerusalem Restaurant, located on Broadway between 103rd and 104th streets, served Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food since 1979, making it one of the oldest restaurants on the Upper West Side (until now).
Satisfied customers have detailed their decades-long relationships with the restaurant through online review sites, with insiders sharing their go-to orders and tips on which chef makes the best chicken. Their website (which is currently down) boasted freshly made “famous pita” and reviewers seem to agree on the high quality. Jerusalem Restaurant was featured in an I Love The Upper West Side rundown of the best original UWS fast food joints in 2019, with Adrienne Cooper writing, “Aside from the healthful feeling you get from this food, it’s a great stop for a crowd…” An Eater review was similarly positive, calling Jerusalem Restaurant “a vegetarian’s delight.”
Jerusalem Restaurant will be preserved in the memories of its many regulars, as well as in the lyrics of a song by famed Columbia University alumni Vampire Weekend. Finger Back, released in 2013, is about a Jewish woman who falls in love with an Arab falafel shop employee, and includes the line “sing next year in Jerusalem; you know the one at 103rd and Broadway?” (The music video may also include a quick shot of a poster once hanging on the eatery’s wall).
When asked about the song in 2013, Jerusalem’s owner said he had not heard it, but regardless, he did not like it.
Bwog: What do you think of the song?
Jerusalem: I don’t like it.
Bwog: Have you listened to it?
When asked, “If you could choose a song to be written about this restaurant, what would the song be about?,” they responded simply, “Peace in the world.”
Haven’t been to this place or any other falafel restaurant really since Mamoun’s opened.
Nooooooo! This was my go-to for years and years. I have noticed them closing earlier and was worried that something like this was going to happen, especially since the lovely Korean deli next door is now vacant and looking awful. 🙁
Oh, dear. This is sad. My first neighborhood in the city and my introduction to falafel. The food was so good.
Loved the place and ate there as a student in the 1980s until the present. I’ll admit the quality had gone down somewhat with one meal near raw and, I too, noticed their increasingly inconsistent hours of operation.
I loved this place
Love this place!!!
It was SO delish.. what happened??
I’m so saddened to learn of Jerusalem’s closing. It’s been a go-to place for me for decades and a neighborhood treasure. I hope they’ll reopen in another space!