10 New Jersey City Businesses That Opened During COVID

If you thought opening a business was hard, try doing it during a pandemic. An entrepreneurial spirit is hard to defeat, however, and despite the many challenges, businesses have continued opening and thriving in Jersey City in the face of COVID. In August 2020, we covered 6 New Jersey City Businesses That Opened During COVID; since then, even more amazing places have opened that deserve notice. Here are 10 more businesses to support that opened in 2020/2021:


The Cottage

136 Monticello Avenue, West Side


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Walking into The Cottage in the West Side feels like exactly what’s promised in the name: from the bright yellow and white awnings and chairs outside, to the homey interior with provisions, to the gorgeous backyard filled with flowers and music, it’s a cottagecore dream come true in the middle of the city. The Cottage is a woman-owned artisanal market that opened in October 2020 that offers quick bites, like coffee, baked goods, smoothies, toasts, and oats, as well as full all-day breakfast and lunch menus of hot sandwiches, eggs, salads, and more. Visitors can pick up a bag of tomatoes, an iced latte, and a Patsy’s House sandwich (tomato, burrata, basil, and balsamic) before settling in for an afternoon of live jazz out back, which happens every weekend noon – 3 p.m. Their from-scratch menu is available daily from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery. To support, follow them @thecottagejc on Instagram.


Eira Café / Mercearia

24 Mercer St., Downtown

When one door closes, open another one. This was the case for Michael Casalinho, owner of the former Broa Café which unfortunately closed during the pandemic, who took the opportunity to invest in a new space to call home to the delicious Portuguese treats, meals, and packaged goods he loves. Eira Café / Mercearia, located Downtown, offers an array of authentic options on their breakfast and lunch menus, including Pasteis de Bacalhau (cod fritters), bean and tuna salads, and open-face sandwiches heaped with fresh figs and honey. The shop also sells a selection of provisions and tinned fish from Portugal as well as a café counter offering Portuguese breads and pastries, like pastel de nata (egg custard cups). Recently, they had their first supper club night, featuring a five-course dinner and wine pairing celebrating “A Night in Minho, Portugal” with more planned for the future. Casalinho is also co-owner of Brazilian restaurant, Tamborim Bar and Grill, located Downtown, which also opened last year in December 2020. Eira is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday – Sunday with dine-in, pick-up, and delivery available. To support, follow @eira_pt on Instagram.


Baddie Tattoos

Address Given at Booking, The Heights

With the past year and a half feeling so dark and scary for so many of us, it’s a pleasant change of pace to welcome a new business dedicated to adding a little beauty into the world. Baddie Tattoos is a woman-owned private tattoo studio in The Heights started by tattoo artists Rachel Miller and Anastasia Mandel. The pair met through tattooing and shared the same dream of wanting to create a safe, inclusive space to practice their craft and make clients feel at ease. In December 2020, they opened their first studio and decorated it in fun and funky decorations while adhering to strict safety guidelines to make their shared dream a reality in the age of Covid. They also recently welcomed two apprentices, Jasmine Romani-Romero and Madeline Manning, to the shop. To book with Rachel, Anastasia, Jasmine, or Madeline, please visit www.baddietattoos.com and see their work @baddie.tattoos on Instagram. The address is given out upon booking confirmation.


Café Lafayette

74 Maple St., Bergen-Lafayette


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Being a new business owner during the pandemic requires a lot of patience. Café Lafayette, located on the ground floor in the new BELA apartment buildings in Bergen-Lafayette, finally opened their doors in July 2021 after building plans from 2019 were put on hold until now. The café offers a solid breakfast and lunch menu of espresso drinks, sandwiches, egg dishes, toast, pastries, and more as well as specials including spicy fried chicken sandwiches and bulgogi burgers, plus vegan and vegetarian options. Owner Patrick Kang has also infused his Korean-American heritage by including popular Korean dishes like bibimbap, spicy ramen, and udon on the menu. The café is open daily from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. To support, follow @cafelafayettejc on Instagram.


Life of Pie 

437 MLK Drive, Greenville


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Life of Pie is a Black-owned business started by two lifelong Jersey City residents – Ward F Councilman and owner of the Light Rail Café, Jermaine Robinson, and local firefighter and owner of Cherry’s Lounge, Bar and Grill, Anthony Sharpeson – in February 2021 in Greenville. The two were inspired to start the restaurant through their love of the neighborhood and the need for more eateries in the area. They offer a selection of chicken and fish entrees, sandwiches, pasta, (giant) calzones, and pizzas including their specials like the Nutella pie, caprese, and the “Greenville” with pesto sauce, broccoli, mozzarella, and arugula. The restaurant is open daily for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery. To support, follow @lifeofpie on Instagram.


Rewax & Unwine 

2 Division St., Downtown

Need an out-of-the-box date idea or creative night out with friends? Make candles! Rewax & Unwind opened in May 2021 Downtown and bills itself as a candle-making party studio where visitors are welcome to pop open a bottle of wine and order in food while they learn how to create their own candles. For $59, each attendee creates one 10 oz. candle and one 4 oz. travel candle from organic coconut wax and over 40 fragrances options to choose from with unlimited scents per candle. The events last about two hours with plenty of games, trivia, and socializing happening while creating and waiting for candles to set. This new Jersey City business also sells its own homemade candles, candle accessories, and kits. To support, follow @rewaxandunwine on Instagram. 


Stack Creamery

465 Central Ave., The Heights


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The best sandwiches are ones made out of ice cream and cookies, imho. Stack Creamery, whose first location opened in Westwood, NJ in May 2020 and opened in the Heights location in July 2021, is a family-owned ice cream shop that specializes in crafting giant ice cream sandwiches, both for individual and family-sized enjoyment. Visitors who want to build their perfect ice cream treat choose from a list of fresh-baked cookies, from classic chocolate chip to snickerdoodle to even, yes, a glazed donut, then choose their ice cream filling and any toppings to cover the sides including miniature cookies if the two hand-sized cookies weren’t enough. The result is a massive sandwich that takes two hands and a spoon to wield. The shop also offers pre-made monster-sized “Stack Bigwich Ice Cream Cake” or custom cakes that feed a whole party of ice cream lovers. Stop in to order at the counter for take-out and pick up a cookie candle while you wait; delivery is also available. To support, follow @stackcreamery on Instagram.


Poor Man Vegan 

90 Monticello Ave., West Side


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If you’re searching for Jersey City businesses that offer vegan and vegetarian options, it’s hard to miss the new Poor Man Vegan storefront with its vivid neon yellow and paint job and matching interior. Poor Man Vegan opened in May 2021 on the West Side with shelves of snacks and an inexpensive menu full of comfort foods – including a buffet of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, meatballs and gravy, empanadas, and more – to satisfy the hungriest vegans and vegetarians of Jersey City on any budget. Before opening as a storefront, the restaurant began as a vegan catering company as well as gaining notoriety for their homemade cupcakes and other sweet treats, which they continue to offer individually and as party trays. The restaurant is open Tuesday – Saturday for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery. To support, follow @poormanvegan on Instagram.


Plus Thrift JC

Online, Citywide


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The average American woman today is between the sizes of 16 and 18, though only 8% of major clothing brands offer plus sizes, leaving the majority of the population without the freedom to shop and dress the way they’d like to. And when it comes to shopping sustainably, fashionable plus sizes are hard to come by in thrift stores. Plus Thrift JC was started by Megan Ixim and Julie Khiry in January 2021 as a way to provide women of Jersey City with extended-size options of stylish clothing and accessories in a city where, according to the company, there are less than 10 stores that offer extended sizes. The fashion-loving duo is filling the need for diversity in sizing by offering a wide variety of inexpensive, pre-owned clothing, shoes, purses, and more through exclusive Instagram drops, which all sell out within hours. Currently, the shop is virtual only with sales announced periodically on Instagram as well as charitable clothing drives throughout the year. To support, follow @plusthriftjc on Instagram.


Brick Lane Curry House 

136 Newark Ave., Downtown


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For lovers of spice and Indian cuisine, stop in the British-style Indian restaurant, Brick Lane Curry House, to get your fill of curries, malai kofta, and more comforting dishes. Brick Lane, opened in December 2020 in Downtown JC as its third location, is in the style of a London curry house with modern aesthetics and full cocktail and dinner menus built for sharing. For true spicy thrill-seekers, take on the restaurant’s “phaal challenge” for your chance to land in the P’Hall of Fame for ordering and finishing what’s considered the hottest curry in the world. There’s always a tall, cold glass of mango lassi available to wash it down with, of course. The restaurant is open for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery daily. To support, follow @bricklanejc on Instagram.