Saturday, January 11, 2014

Favorite Clothing Shops and Great Places to Eat Afterwards

J. Press, 380 Madison Avenue, New York City.  RIP.

Update, January 11, 2014:  With the closing of J. Press' New York store, and the demolition of the New Haven store, it is interesting to note that now two of the original twelve stores can best be characterized as nomadic.  

This his email from Chuck Ramsay.  

I enjoyed your post on your favorite restaurants.  It made me ruminate on my favorite clothing shops and how they are in close proximity to some of my favorite eating establishments.  I thought I would run them by you.

1) J. Press (Cambridge, MA) is nothing short of Mecca.  I can stay for hours soaking up the history.  Then go one street over to John Harvard’s Brewhouse for great beer selection and good food.

Cambridge's J. Press
 2) I grew up close by Eljos (Charlottesville, VA), and spent much time as a kid gawking at the window displays.  It has moved from the UVA Corner, but not too far.  Go to The Corner, then to The Virginian (it’s been there so long I’m sure Jefferson raised a grog or two there).

3) Alvin-Dennis (Lexington, VA) is next door to the beautiful Washington & Lee campus, another childhood haunt.  Then go two blocks to The Palms, a Lexington institution.

4) At  J. Press (New York City), I bought my first blue ocbd w/flap pocket.  Then take a cab to P.J. Clarke’s Bar on 55th with great food and even greater ambiance. [Link to entry]

5) Murray’s (Nantucket) is a pilgrimage of sorts for me.  Then walk over to Brotherhood of Thieves on Broad St., one of my all time favorites, with great sandwiches.

The Author's Photo
6) I love The Admiral’s Buttons (Camden, ME).  Then go around the corner to The Waterfront Restaurant on the deck for lobster, or up the street to Cappys for amazing chowder and a cold Geary’s. [Link to entry]

Cappy's Chowder House
7) The Holmes Store (Northeast Harbor, ME) is a nice shop in one of my favorite coastal Maine villages.  Then walk down Main St. to Colonel’s Restaurant for fresh Maine seafood.

8) George Dean’s (Athens, GA) is the quintessential college shop, one block from U of GA campus.  Then walk across the street to The Grill, an Athens institution.

9) Landry’s (Oxford, MS) is cool shop near Ole Miss.  Then go one door down to Square Books and browse, and finally a couple of more down to City Grocery, a legendary Oxford watering hole with outstanding food

10) Grady Ervin & Co (Charleston, SC) is in one of my favorite cities.  Then walk over to Hank’s Seafood or take a short ride to Sullivan’s Island and eat at Poe’s Tavern, with great burgers followed by a walk on the beach.

11) Laurance Clothing (Annapolis, MD) and McGarvey's Saloon & Oyster Bar.  Awesome. I can't wait to go back and spend more time walking around Annapolis and the harbor and sample a few more pubs.

12)  F.L.Woods (Marblehead, MA) is a great shop and The Barnacle has the best chowder I have had outside of Maine. Beautiful town and harbor.

The Barnacle in Marblehead, MA
Oh well, at the moment, I can only dream of being in one of these venerable establishments browsing and then over for a great meal.

Cheers, Chuck Ramsay, Murfreesboro, TN

Old School Prep left this comment, and I thought I would add some of my own pictures and copy it here.

I was very impressed by Chuck Ramsay's interesting list of top notch Prep/Trad clothing stores and nearby noteworthy eateries. I would like to offer two more of each to make the list an even dozen.

13) J. Press (New Haven, CT) is the genesis of it all. It is conveniently located near the beautiful Yale campus and a short walk to Louis Lunch for a wonderful luncheon fare. [Link to entry]

J. Press, York Street, New Haven. RIP
14) J. Press (Washington, DC), although it lacks the traditional ambiance of the Cambridge and New Haven stores, it is an oasis of Preppy clothing in our nation's capital and a short jaunt from the Old Ebbitt Grill for a hearty lunch of oysters and fine Kentucky Bourbon or other great food choices.

Washington, D.C.

To these, I added:

15) Royal Male (Newport, RI) has one of the best and most unique collections of wonderful clothes, mostly from the UK and Europe,  hand curated by the one-and-only Etienne.  Then, get some chowder at The Black Pearl. [Link to entry]

Royal Male

16) Andover Shop (Cambridge, MA) and Charlies Kitchen.

Andover Shop


Worthington said...

I am tickled you included Alvin Dennis, a store in my hometown I've shopped at my entire life. My father shopped there as a W&L student and basically never left! This list is perfection, and hits a lot of my family's favorites, from the NE to the Deep South.

Chin chin!

Cambron said...

I am in Murfreesboro too, Chuck! Hello, Hello!!!

w said...

Although I did not grow up lovingly gazing in Eljos store front windows I have been known to frequented the store rather often.

P. Channon said...

Fantastic picks, esp. at Harvard & Charleston!

P. Channon

Kerry said...

That photo is stunning. I worked in P.J. Clarke's while in college. Best burger and warm goat cheese salad.

Joy C. said...

Can't wait to go visit each and everyone of them.

Anonymous said...

I was especially pleased to see Eljo's listed. For nostalgia reasons, I wish it were still on The Corner.
The Virginian is wonderful. Restaurants there come and go, but The Virginian goes on unchanged forever.


old said...

I was very impressed by Chuck Ramsay's interesting list of topnotch Prep/Trad clothing stores and nearby noteworthy eateries. I am humbled to admit I have visited eight of the ten haberdasheries and nine of the ten eateries over the years.

Would like to offer two more of each to make the list an even dozen.

J. Press - New Haven Connecticut - the genesis of it all. Conveniently located near the beautiful Yale campus and a short walk to Louis Lunch for a wonderful luncheon fare.

J. Press - Washington, DC - although it lacks the traditional ambiance of the Cambridge and New Have stores, it is an oasis of Preppy clothing in our nation's capital and a short jaunt from the Old Ebbitt Grill for a hearty lunch of oysters and fine Kentucky Bourbon or other great food choices.

Disclaimer - I have no business affiliation with J. Press. However, I have been an addicted customer for over thirty years and even visited their late San Francisco store prior to its closure. I cited the subject stores, primarily because Louis Lunch and the Old Ebbitt along with McSorely's in NYC are my favorite lunch dives on the East Coast!

Old School Prep
Ann Arbor, MI

James said...

What a wonderful photo.Have you ever had it enlarged for framing and displaying.

Preppy 101 said...

I now have an urge to shop and eat! I am 100% with James on the photo. What a wonderful piece of art! xoxo

LoneStarPrep said...

Wish I lived on the East Coast!

Kenneth said...

"...John Harvard’s Brewhouse..."
They closed the one by me in Pittsburgh/Wilkins Twp. I agree they have good food and great craft beer. Unfortunately, no J.Press either.

Pete said...

This entry warmed my heart and brought a smile to my day !!

A few more thoughts.

New Haven: After shopping at J. Press, Louis' Lunch and Mory's (very grateful it reopened in 2010). Drinking beers there after an Old Testament exam. (very blasphemous)

Manhattan: Memories of purchasing my first professional wardrobe at Brooks in the early '90's during the winter sale in January on a bitter cold day, I was broke, right out of college but with a "real" job and taking my summer earnings to purchase 2 suits, 4 shirts, 3 ties. (Those shirts and ties have lasted, unlike the products one finds there today), afterwards, a friend treating me at the Oyster bar for dinner and then taking the subway to Astor Place for beer at McSorley's.

Murray's (Nantucket): Shopping there on my honeymoon, my beautiful wife introducing me to "Nantucket Reds", and realizing there was more to summer wear than old college rugby tees. Returning a decade later to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and stocking up on a few more items.

Manhattan: (15 years later), tenure awarded, a real suit purchased at JPress and drinks at the Algonquin and lunch at the Oyster Bar (this time I picked up the tab). The following Saturday, lamb sandwiches and beer at McSorely's after a Yankees game.

Wharf Rat said...

Superb article! Thank you.

This venue is one of the few places on the planet where virtually everyone viewing can immediately conjure up their our own recollections of most of the places described so well by the author.

old said...


Thanks for adding the photos

Old School Prep

Matt said...

This may no longer hold because one of the restaurants is no longer there and I'm 20 years older now, but nothing beats the now-defunct Tasty in Harvard Square or Frank Pepe Pizzeria in New Haven after picking up new clothes at J. Press. The fact that the pre-authorized use of my parent's credit card was usually in-play at J. Press, but certainly not allowed for a bite to eat afterwards might have had something to do with it too. Oh, how I miss my halcyon days as a college and then grdaute student.

j.mosby said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing! Nice to see Eljoe's mentioned, a Virginia Preppy mecca for years! Wow the old Ebbitt grille in DC! Great hamburgers! I met Celtics legend Larry Bird there years ago! don't forget Ben Silvers in Charleston, SC.

whattokeep said...

Thanks for the Washington, D.C. mention! And it is always nice to see suggestions for Virginia. I'm there a lot, but never know where to go.

Bella Michelle said...

I popped over to say hi from Suburban Princess and so glad that I did. I was even happier to see one of my favorite SC locales included in your post!!! Good reading, so glad to have found you.

McIvor said...

May I add to this excellent list Julian's in Chapel Hill? I remember my first trip back to town for a noon football game, when I stopped in to Julian's to replace my old cream and Carolina blue repp tie. Alexander Julian himself was there, handing out homemade ham biscuits and glasses of champagne. Now that I'm back in the area, when I visit Julian's I make sure to have lunch at Suttons: burger with coleslaw, sweet tea with shaved ice.

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer an alternative to your Cambridge, MA listings. J. Press is great but I find the people at the Andover Shop to be more helpful. I agree on the beer selection at John Harvard's but the food is just franchise bar food. If you want real bar food go to Charlies Kitchen (Chuck I want a double burger).

John said...

For a quick meal near J. Press & the Andover Shop in Cambridge, I like the burgers, sweet-potato fries, & shakes @ b. good on Dunster St.

Beth Dunn said...

Dying to get to Murray's! I used to eat at the waterfront all the time the summer I lived in Camden

BlueTrain said...

You mean the new "Old Ebbit Grill." My first job in the Washington area was next door at a savings & loan, next to Garfinkel's. I have this bad habit of working in industries that evaporate. After that I worked in photofinishing.

Joe Davis said...

Hey did I miss something? What about Eljo's Clothiers in Charlottesville, Virginia! I spent a lot of money there at a U.Va man!

Dr. Joe Davis, San Diego

Anonymous said...

My award goes to the Cambridge J Press, which will always be my favorite clothing store (best selection of glen plaid this side of the pond), followed by hot pastrami at the Wursthaus in Harvard Square, which sadly closed a decade ago after 75 years in business. Just across the street is the Harvard Coop, where one can lose track of time in the bookstore. This used to be my shopping trifecta.

Honorable mention goes to the old Madras Shop in Rockport, MA (long gone but even better than Trimingham in Hamilton, Bermuda), followed by early dinner at Oleana down the street (also long gone). Oleana, for those who remember, was a very simple and very fine seafood establishment with a side of Norwegian fare, the culinary gift of owner, Ida Corliss. This was a local’s joint, frequented by artists Aldro Hibbard, Paul Strisik, Otis Cook, George Demetrious, Paul Manship, Emil Grupee and other members of the Cape Ann School.

My parents knew many of them, and we would often visit their studios to watch them work. Aldro Hibbard especially liked my mother, as she was a Vermonter, and his most celebrated work was done in Vermont in winter. She was also beautiful, and Hibbard had a difficult time keeping his eye on the canvass when she was present.


Anonymous said...

In Annapolis, Laurence Clothing on Main Street and then for good nearby eats? Oh, dear. Too many to list.

Anonymous said...

In Maryland, Berrier Menswear in Easton and then to the Tidewater Inn. Also, Chesapeake Bay Outfitters in St. Michaels and then to the Town Dock Restaurant followed by Justine's for ice cream.

Lancer RIUSA said...

I agree with Laurence in Annapolis followed by brunch and Chick and Ruths (where they still stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance every mourning).

I also would add the Narraganset in Newport. Run by an old Barrington family of exceptional sailors.

Multiple shops on M street at Georgetown followed by Lunch at Martin's Tavern. Martins is a prep institution. Is is so congenial that I once met a couple their over a drink and found we had many friends in common across the US.

Anonymous said...

After Laurence, I might be inclined to stroll down Main, past the AYC, over the Spa Creek bridge and on to the Boatyard Bar & Grille.

Trey Ollice said...

I have another vote for Laurance and Chick n Ruth's. Boatyard B&G would be a close second though.

David P said...

As a Marylander, I am in complete agreement with the stores and eateries mentioned. I was in Laurent's a few days ago and then had a nice lunch at The Middleton Tavern. In Baltimore I would add the Quintessential Gentleman and the Water Street Tavern. There are also many great eateries north of the city in horse country (The Manor Tavern, for example).

David P said...

I should've also mentioned that I had the pleasure of attending the Penn / Princeton basketball game at the Palestra yesterday. That was my first time there - what a great experience! Before the game we had dinner at the New Deck Tavern - a nice college neighborhood eatery.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any suggestions for Houston, TX? I'm out if my element here.

Paul Connors said...


Does the closure of the NYC J.Press store @ 380 Madison mean there will NOT be a replacement venue for the NY area?

Alexandra said...

I love the list! My top 3 favorites are Royal Male, The Admiral's Buttons and Murray's Toggery. Nantucket reds aside, I love that the word "toggery" is in their name.
And while Cappy's is often the go-to place for a bite in Camden, just to shake things up, I highly recommend Comida Latin Kitchen on Elm. Fantastic!

MichaelRowe said...

I'm devastated to read about the closing of the New York J. Press store, though I'm not surprised to read it. I was there in the first week of January and there was a definite feeling of heartbreak and defeat to it that was devastating. RIP.

John G said...

After a visit to J. Press is DC, it's a very short walk down L to Connecticut Avenue to Paul for a sandwich or pastry.

For Nantucket, after Murray's, two suggestions: (1) cross Main and walk or bike (noting the one-way restriction) Center St. to Cliff Road to Something Natural for a sandwich; (2) walk down Main to Straight Wharf Fish Store for excellent chowder and a good-sized lobster roll. Smoothies in the Juice Guys shop at the base of Straight Wharf near the Hy-Line boarding.

@Brad: I remember the Georgetown University Shop fondly and still wear some of their clothes.

BlueTrain said...

I was never in the Georgetown University Shop but I used to make it over to Georgetown now and then. One of my friends lived on Q Street. I'm sure it used to be more interesting, with more independent shops. One very good and interesting restaurant on up Wisconsin Ave. is Old Europe, which is a German-style place. In fact, it's the only place in D.C. that I've been to often enough to recomment, at least since Matt Kane's shut down.

Anonymous said...

I live in Lexington, VA and was happy to see Alvin Dennis as one of the "favorite clothing shops." It's a small store, very traditional, and has just a few things for women. They carry Barbour, and I think it must be part of freshman orientation that students go over to AD and purchase their first Bedale.

The Palms is not a favorite of locals. The Southern Inn or Bistro are much better. Save room for gelato at Cafe Pronto or ice cream at Sweet Things--both locally owned and products made on the premises.


Anonymous said...

@ Lancer RIUSA

I'm not as keen on visiting Martin's Tavern anymore. Sadly, this establishment is declining as the staff tending the bar are less hospitable and even a bit churlish these days. Furthermore, it appears that the bartenders are all alcoholics with a case of the DT's . I have a hard time entering Martin's these days ...

Anonymous said...

I must have missed this post the first time around. I had an allowance while at UVa and loved to spend it on sweaters at Eljo's, although I also loved Levy's at Barracks Rd. Too bad they no longer serve linguini with three Ms - marinara, meatballs, and mozzarella - at the Virginian. It was a staple when I'd already spent most of my money on sweaters.

In Annapolis, my husband and I ate very regularly at Cafe Normandie. I loved it then and see that it's still open; I hope it's still doing well. Chick & Ruth's made the best milkshakes ever! I don't really remember where I shopped in Annapolis other than a small local boutique called Elaine's and Avoca Handweavers.

Anonymous said...

Muffy, thanks for the re-post. Since then, I spent a great weekend in Georgetown for the Army-Navy game at the
Redskins stadium. I was able to add the DC J Press and Old Ebbitt Grill to the list. I drove over to Annapolis to Laurence Clothing and McGarveys. I would have to say that these two establishments would have to fit somewhere in my top ten. Awesome. Can't wait to go back and spend more time walking around Annapolis and the harbor and sample a few more pubs.

Also, as a life-long college basketball fan, I would have to agree with David P. The Penn/Princeton game at the Palestra has long been on my bucket list. Can't wait to go and then have a post-game cheesesteak.

Chuck R.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention F.L.Woods and The Barnacle in Marblehead. Great shop and The Barnacle has the best chowder I have had outside of Maine. Beautiful town and harbor. Highly recommend The Harbor Light Inn.


Anonymous said...

I would have added the Fine Swine in Kensington, Md., and then to the Tea Room next door for lunch but, alas, the Swine, one of the best anglophile/prep shops anywhere, has closed and now operates as an online store. However, you can still go the Tea Room after some fun shopping along antiques row in Kensington.

Lancer RIUSA said...

For Boho prep clothing consider the Eastern Market in DC and at a different level of dining the Hay Adams. The Hay is prep gracious in the extreme. Go there a few times and they will remember your name and your drink. After the Christmas tree lighting last year the Hay's Lafayette whipped up chicken fingers and hot chocolate for my cold and tired kids.
The top of the Hay has the best view in DC. Elegant, gracious, and multi-generational, not to be missed in DC.

BlueTrain said...

The only place that ever remembered my drink was the Crystal City Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. I only lived about two blocks away at the time but I never told them my name. Nice place, though.