Anyone who appreciates a decent place to eat with a lively bar and — perhaps most important — convenient parking just a few minutes from Route 1 must have been missing the Rusty Scupper on Alexander Road for the past four-plus years.
The Scupper closed abruptly in January, 2004, and then sat vacant for more than three years. Finally, in March of 2007, the good news came that Ed Kleefield, a hip New York restaurateur with several establishments to his credit was taking over. Also known as Jean Luc, Kleefield’s J.L. restaurants have become happening places in Manhattan, Easthampton, and Sag Harbor.
Kleefield hoped to have his new place open by May — of that year. But he also knew Princeton would be a little different from his usual stomping grounds. “This is the suburbs, not what I’m used to,” he told U.S. 1. back in 2007. “But the second I came to Princeton, I saw how cosmopolitan it is and wants to be. I couldn’t believe how many people I met who told me how wonderful it would be to have a sophisticated, metropolitan restaurant.”
May, 2007, turned into May, 2008, but Jean Luc has finally accomplished his goal — JL Ivy has just made a soft opening on Alexander Road, now open for dinner every evening but Sunday and expected to be open for lunch in another month or so.
While the initial menu is described by the wait staff as a partial “introductory” menu, it seems headed in the direction Kleefield described a year ago: “Bistro cuisine, French-inspired, a full-service raw bar, as well as full service sushi bar. There will be a private dining room upstairs, a jazz lounge on the main floor, two bars, and the wonderful outdoor cafe along the brook.”
All those elements are now in place. Princetonians yearning to be cosmopolitan can give this place a try in the evening. The rest of us will just have to practice some patience at lunchtime.
JL Ivy, 378 Alexander Road, Princeton. 609-921-1113.