Local Business Update: 87 on Walker

I recently checked in with longtime Tribecan Jolene Howard, who, with her husband Brian Kennedy, opened 87 on Walker in August 2019. So they only had a few months under their belts before the pandemic hit. Brian is a lawyer who was raised in the food business and Jolene is a former cookbook marketer with a knack for food styling. When the space below Brian’s office became available, the two of them realized a longtime dream to open a restaurant. It now looks like they will not reopen. This is from Jolene:

We have not handed over the lease yet but reopening at this stage looks unlikely. We had a loyal happy hour crowd and many of the local businesses (including the courts) and local residents trusted us for their big parties, but happy hours and parties are all paused and we don’t see how or when the environment will change. C’est la vie.

A year ago when this started, my main concern was that our staff would be okay. When grocery lines were impossibly long and Fresh Direct delivery spots were unattainable, I packed each of them a big bag of food and paper supplies and we all checked in with each other on a weekly basis for awhile. As far as I know, no one got COVID.

Some of our most experienced hospitality professionals moved because they immediately recognized that their livelihoods would be paused beyond what their personal finances would enable. I continue to be particularly interested in their stories because they were early and sharp in their observation that NYC hospitality would be impacted so brutally and each of them pivoted decisively without a second thought.

As a family, we have been extraordinarily lucky in that Brian’s work was only briefly interrupted. The court system adapted very quickly to the new normal, which came as a surprise to maybe everybody because the law is not particularly agile! As a regular person who is now listening in on criminal hearings and arraignments day after day in my living room, it seems like it is only a matter of weeks that Cuomo will be facing new criticism for the continued suspension of constitutional rights among those in the criminal justice system who are (and will continue to be) stuck in jail on bail indefinitely without indictment. It’s not popular to feel sorry for accused criminals but it’s a fact that their rights are being violated on the daily.

We did the best we could in opening the restaurant, and we did the best we could in closing it, given the situation that presented itself. We are 15-year Tribecans and will remain here for the foreseeable future. We are on Team NYC and remain hopeful that the city will rebound.



  1. This makes me sad (again). We really enjoyed dining here and were able to do so at least four times. The decor was gorgeous! I hope they reconsider and have the opportunity to give it another go.

  2. Thank you for sharing such kind words and for coming in so many times when we were open! It warms my heart to hear you enjoyed the environment we were trying to create.

  3. Thank you for sharing such kind words and for coming in so many times when we were open! It warms my heart to hear you enjoyed the environment we were trying to create.

  4. Very unfortunate and thank you for sharing these written words – reflections like these are not easy to sum up, and so impressed with how you two adapted to each turn of events from the opening till closing – with elegance and style. Tribeca is lucky to still have you two!