Growing Up At JG Melon
For the last 18 years Andrew Zimmern has become known for his adventurous style of eating, most notably as he searched the globe for unusual means on Bizarre Foods and as he revealed his favorite local finds on The Zimmern List.
Hold your horses. He and his dad started their own tradition decades ago indulging in burgers at JG Melon. From his first drink to the first girl he kissed, growing up JG Melon was Zimmern’s ‘neighborhood tavern’ where all those big things happened. He is not ashamed to proclaim, “JG Melon is my favorite burger bar none. All the fancy stuff can come and go, but this is the burger I grew up on, and it holds a special place in my heart.”
JG Melon made the J. Press scene in a previous Threading the Needle column describing my own growing up even past age 30 at 74th and 3rd, while tagging onto technicolor appearance at the checkered tablecloths in previous Squeeze Brochure.
Zimmern has become family serving on the Board of Directors at Services for the Underserved with chairperson, daughter Jennifer Press Marden. Services for the Underserved (SUS) is a New York based nonprofit organization that provides housing and support services to 35,000 individuals and their families living in New York and Long Island offering housing, employment, skills-building, treatment and rehabilitation services.
Zimmern annually supports a fund-raising Dinner For A Better New York Gala highlighting culinary specialties of celebrity chefs. Pictured at a pre-COVID event, NYC Wine and Food Festival—Chef Zimmern, wife Vida, Jen, and yours truly in classic J. Press Blazer, tattersall BD shirt and lime green cotton trousers.
Fair thee well attending charity events in white tie and tails.
I believe the Old Heidelberg has reopened in the basement of the Graduate Hotel (the old Hotel Duncan) in New Haven. Primarily a cocktail bar at present due to the pandemic, but the bar and many of the tables are from the old place.
I discovered the Old Heidelburg tavern in New Haven during my first semester at Yale Divinity School in 1967. It was there that I became a matchmaker for a first date of two shy friends who soon fell in love and have been together ever since.
There is an extensive scene staged in J.G. Melon in Whit Stillman’s film (1990) METROPOLITAN. New Haven, home of J. Press, once boasted a tavern on Chapel and York, the OLD HEIDELBURG, similar to Melon’s and perhaps even superior.