GP Romances Jersey City


After 34 years in the restaurant business, George Politis brings a bit of East Village flair to Jersey with GP’s Restaurant, newly opened at 236 Pavonia Avenue (second to his first location in Guttenberg, NJ). From the small classic dishes with fresh ingredients that make up Politis’ signature menu, to the modern design, his new restaurant reflects the East Coast romance vibe of the young neighborhood. With Politis’ contemporary twists on typical Neapolitan fare and his restaurant’s chic interiors, GP’s Hamilton Park takes classic Italian dining to another level.

Politis’ journey began on an evening flight back to New Jersey. After catching one of his restaurants featured on Food Network’s makeover show Restaurant Impossible, he was instantly hooked and a transformation was in store. After discussing everything from the cuisine to the clientele, GP’s new location was set to exceed expectations with some interior guidance from myself.

Placed on the corner of a historic building, the most recent renovation to Hamilton Square’s rich mix of boutique retail and services, Poltis couldn’t have chosen a more prime location. Walking into the raw space, with its rough unfinished walls. I was inspired to conserve as much of the original architecture’s integrity, down to the vintage rebar exposed through the cement walls and overhead cement beams. I hoped that the antiquity of the structure would provide an authenticity that would invigorate the contemporary soul.

A flowing open space around the large, custom wooden bar invites patrons in for a drink and a chat, indicative of the Village-style atmosphere that inspires GP’s. A black and white tile floor throughout the lounge carries a sharp contemporary meets-classic aesthetic.

In the dining area we placed crisp, white linen table-settings that pop against the room’s undersized dim chandeliers and dark teak floor. Not to leave a single detail unconsidered, the rustic modernity of the interior was carried through distressed walls and a long nickel faucet added the same old-world charm to the restrooms, which were hidden away behind frosted-glass doors.

It’s hard not to feel the energy in the room. Bossa nova plays softly in the background, completing the romance of this perfect escape from the hectic city laying just across the Hudson River. As I sit at the bar while a beaming Politis welcomes his guests, I toast to GP’s continued success.

Text by Vanessa DeLeon