With his infectious enthusiasm and insatiable appetite for brunch, Jeremy Jacobowitz has cultivated a loyal following through with Brunch Boys, which takes its audience on an enticing gastronomic journey. Jacobowitz has carved a niche in the brunch culture, captivating the hearts and taste buds of food enthusiasts everywhere.
Modern Luxury sat down with Jacobowitz at 12 Chairs in Williamsburg to discuss his series, which restaurants he decides to try, and his favorites in the city as well as Los Angeles.
Read our Q&A below.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up here in New York. I was born in Brooklyn, I grew up in Westchester and I went to NYU. I've never lived anywhere else. I worked in sports TV for a few years. I was kind of over it and wanted to do something else with my life and just sort of randomly ended up on a food show and met Bobby Flay, and became Bobby Flay's PA on his shows. And I sort of connect all the dots – oh, wow. I've always loved food, I've always loved TV.
When did your series take off?
It all took off maybe eight years ago, but you and it was really just like I happened to have a food Instagram account right when everyone started looking for them. I didn't even realize what it was. And they we're like, wow, this is so cool. And here I am with this account. So very early on it took off and then video became a thing on Instagram, then it took off again and then TikTok became a thing. It took off again. Always just getting to [the] next level, next trend.
How do you decide which restaurants you’re going to try in NYC?
There's so much amazing food in New York City but sometimes there's just not a good way for me to be excited about it. It's like, wow, that pasta looks amazing. But is it that different than all the other pasta? Is it gonna be that much better than all the other pastas? What is the story I'm telling if I'm going there and just being like, hey guys, here's a seven-pasta dish. No one's going to watch that when I'm not excited about this. So it has to be some sort of story to get the hook that I know gets people to watch.
What’s the most stressful part of having your own series?
I think the most stressful part is posting. I think you put in all this work and sometimes videos will do as well as you want them to do kind of stuff to get over it and whatever next day, new video let’s see how it does.
What are your favorite three NYC restaurants?
Well, we're here at 12 Chairs so I feel like if I don't say 12 Chairs they'll throw us out of here. So we'll say that first. I love Rule of Thirds. What else am I loving right now? Kyu is great.
What restaurants do you recommend for a date night setting to impress someone?
If I'm going to try to impress someone on a date, I feel like it's Omakase, it's intimate. It's nice, it's a fun date. And also sort of like test it a little bit because you don't know what's coming. So if someone's sitting there being like, I don't know if I want to eat this, I'm don't know about this. That's kind of a sign that maybe we're not a match. If you're not excited, it's a red flag.
How do you keep a healthy lifestyle balance?
Honestly, my time's spent trying to have a healthy lifestyle. I work out five weeks, I try and eat really healthy around my restaurant meals and it's just all about having the balance. I've been in this role for so long … for over a decade. You learn very quickly that you have to have the balance to be able to maintain.
What's your favorite upscale restaurant?
That's funny. I don't really eat a lot of upscale places. I don't get excited by five-star dining experiences. They're cool and they're amazing. I would never say no to them, but I very rarely seek them out. 12 Chairs is more the type of food I'm excited about.
What's your favorite foodie city besides New York?
On the whole, LA might be a better food city than anywhere honestly. Just for me particularly -- and the stuff that I seek out. The fish quality in LA is amazing. The produce is amazing, [and] Mexican food is amazing there. So what I seek out might be a little bit better there.
Favorite LA restaurant right now?
The restaurant in LA I love right now is Bavel. I go to LA once every few months and it's now one of those things… If I'm going to LA, I have to eat at Bavel. It's fantastic.
What is the weirdest food you've ever eaten?
The weirdest food I've ever eaten is … I was in Japan, and I did a Yakitori Omakase, and they served me raw chicken.
How would you describe dating in New York City?
I think dating in New York City is great. I don't know why everyone complains about it. It's endless options. If your complaint is that there are too many options, and that makes dating hard. I agree with you there. But I think that it's endless. It's amazing. And the girls are the best in New York City.
If you could invite any guests to be on your series, who would it be?
It would probably be Drake.
Most overrated restaurant in NYC?
The places that most people think are overrated, I actually think are now underrated because people complain about them so much. I think there are places that are quote-unquote, tourist traps, because I think tourists like to go eat there, but I think that does disservice to how amazing they are. Like, don't tell me Katz’s isn't good. Don't tell me Peter Luger’s isn't good. Yes, those are tourist places, but they're not overrated at all. They've just been around for 150 years. Of course, you've heard enough about them.
The most underrated restaurant in NYC?
The most underrated restaurant right now is a place I've been absolutely loving. It's called Edith Sandwich Counter. It is fantastic. I call it, like, hipster Jewish food. It's supposed to, like, remind you of, like, old school Jewish food and old school Jewish vibes, but definitely with, like, a new twist and, like, everything I try there is absolutely incredible.
What's your go-to restaurant to take someone out for a night in the town?
If I want to show someone, like, the true New York City, I take them to Emilio’s Ballato. It is still, like, the best red sauce Italian in New York City. Like, legit still the only little Italy restaurant left that's still, like, that old-school feeling. Amazing food.
Most expensive meal you've ever had and was it worth it?
The most expensive meal I've ever had was I was in Kyoto and did this really amazing Michelin-star Omakase, and it was absolutely worth it. The fish was incredible, the bites were incredible, but the whole uniqueness and experience of it, just, like, six-person counter. The husband was making the sushi, the wife was making the drink. It was absolutely incredible.
The best NYC food neighborhood?
I mean, the best food neighborhood is Williamsburg. I'm a little biased.
Best bagel in NYC?
All right, so my favorite bagel right now in New York City is Baz Bagel. A little under the radar, but it's great. The lox and toppings are fantastic and the bagels are great too.
Best pizza slice in New York?
The best pizza slice in New York is Joe's Pizza. No question about it.
Best breakfast burrito in New York?
Oh, the best breakfast burrito. I just did a whole video about this, and I got into lots of trouble. But I think Ceremonia is the best – again right here in Williamsburg.
What are the best wings in New York City?
The best wings in New York City. I will also say Williamsburg place and also say it's an under-the-radar place a little bit. It's Mekelburg. Mekelburg’s has the best wings.
Best sushi in New York City?
Oh, man. The best sushi in New York City. And now listen, this answer is not going to be actually what the best sushi in New York City is because I think that's too difficult to answer. But I think my personal favorite is Kotobuki. For the price and the quality fish that you get. It's insane. And it's very casual. Just pop right in. A great menu. Great crispy rice too. I love it.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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