THE BLOG

Love Letters: Jersey City, NJ

02/25/2015 09:19 am ET | Updated Apr 27, 2015

David Massoni is the proprietor of Three Kings of Kings County, which includes TALDE Brooklyn, TALDE Jersey City, Thistle Hill Tavern, Pork Slope, Carrino Provisions and the soon-to-be-opened TALDE Miami Beach. David moved to NYC in 1997 and spent 3 years under the tutelage of Chef/Owner Henry Meer at The Cub Room Restaurant and City Hall Restaurant. He then left NYC to travel around northern Italy studying wine along the way.

Dear Jersey City,

I should begin with the fact that right now I'm just a part-timer here, but I'm already in love with you, Jersey City. I was wooed by my new business partners to cross the East and Hudson Rivers to open not one, but two restaurants, a gourmet market and an event space in the former Telephone Communications Building of New Jersey and New York at 8 Erie Street. So a leap of faith doesn't even begin to cut it when you sign on to a 13,000 square foot project that at the time was a raw space filled with debris and rubble without a roof. I am, however, a dreamer and what I saw was a rare opportunity to be part of a fantastic transformation, and to fill a much needed void in a community begging for more.

So my Brooklyn business partners and I started coming to visit you every week, sometimes twice a week to get to know our new part time home. Stepping out of the Grove Street station, we were welcomed with insider knowledge. Our New Jersey business partners knew all the right places to take us, like Marco & Pepe for tapas, Satis Bistro for small bites and Razza for wood-fired pizzas. e played Galaga and drank IPA's at Barcade. We discovered a great falafel spot. We stumbled upon a killer little Cuban sandwich joint. We indulged at a perfect hole-in-the-wall Chinese dumpling house. We enjoyed a very special dinner at the delicious Thirty Acres. We sipped Stumptown coffee at Word Bookstore. After enjoying ice cream from Torico Ice Cream, we worried what would become of our waistlines. Yes, there is a trend here... we eat, and drink, a lot! Hey, it's research and development! At least that's what we tell our wives.

Which brings me to this: how did I convince my wife, Rachel, that you were going be the key to a new future for our family? I started spending Sundays dragging her, our 6-year-old, Luca, and 3-year-old, Olive, on drives and outings in and around my new part-time city. Showing you off wasn't difficult. We went to the Liberty Science Center and had brunch at Lighthorse Tavern. We had pizza lunches at Roman Nose, and shopped at Kanibal Home, E. Tittlemouse and Co., and the Sneaker Room. My kids played in Hamilton Park, watching the dogs run and enjoying the sunshine in the summer. After seeing all those dogs, we took another big step. We strengthened our bond with you when we adopted a dog from the amazing people at See Spot Rescued. His name is Jim, and we love him to pieces. We now have frequent trips Hound About Town to spoil him rotten. As predicted, my family fell for you too. I knew it wouldn't be too hard, you charmed us all easily.

With that, 2014 ended with what had started as interest and a crush blossoming into full blown love! I'm so proud to have my new businesses in such a cool and vibrant city. I'm thrilled to be a part of the passion that Mayor Fulop is nurturing. Driving around the city to see the murals courtesy of the mural arts program that infuses unique grit and charm to you. Speaking of driving, there is something so great about being able to get my car washed at the City Car Wash for $10 by a real person!

As the newcomers, you have made us feel at home, Jersey City. Each and every day, we are excited to open our doors and meet our neighbors. I find reasons to sneak away whenever I can to discover something new, and as you keep growing there seems to be a new little gem popping up every day. There's an amazing line of businesses just on our stretch of Erie Street. We meet different and supportive neighbors every day, each with a unique Jersey City story. Everything about you, Jersey City, is personal. There is a face, a life to each facet of the town. You feel like home, Jersey City. We wanted to fit in, and while we're from Brooklyn, we feel like Jersey has embraced us.