LIFE Pancake Company, Formerly The Brownstone Diner, Opens in Jersey City

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The day is finally here: one of the most beloved diners in New Jersey — Brownstone Diner in Jersey City — has re-opened as LIFE Pancake Company. The opening on December 9th calmed the nerves of the neighborhood in knowing that the renowned fluffy pancakes are back. And boy, have they been busy! With renovations kicking off after closing in mid-September, the Jersey City spot now features a bright and airy new-look interior, an updated menu, and, of course, a new name. Keep reading to learn more about the reopening of LIFE Pancake Company on Jersey Avenue in Jersey City.

life pancake company jersey city

The History

The owner of Life Pancake Company, Zoe Bournias, has deep roots in the history of the community and the diner. Taking ownership from her parents who opened the Newport Pancake House at the Jersey City location in 1968, Zoe grew up here. She fondly shared with NJ Advance Media last month, “Pancakes are in my blood. I think if you open up my veins, pancakes are going to pour out. That, I can never change,” Bournias said. “That was the first thing I learned as a kid, how to make pancakes.”

See More: Where to Get Fresh Bread in Hoboken, Jersey City, + Beyond

The Menu

The buttermilks are and always have been the foundation of the restaurant and, as Zoe promised, the first page of the new menu reads, “Powered by Pancakes.” The restaurant offerings have been moved to focus on breakfast, lunch, and brunch. And this means more pancakes, such as the gentle nod to her mom in Irene’s Candy Bar baked in coconut + almonds and topped with chocolate sauce + whipped cream.

^Red velvet from the Brownstone in Edgewater

The same pancakes and good ol’ sandwiches + milkshakes can still be found here, but it also means the option of making your pancakes gluten-free or buckwheat. And it also means avocado toast.

Read More: Bread and Salt in Jersey City: Pizza Dough for the Soul

The Renovations

life pancake

Perhaps the most apparent change when visiting the space is the more modern look and feel. The opening up of the front entrance complemented by higher ceilings and exposed copper breathe life into the restaurant, really living up to the name. A white quartz countertop at the front welcomes you {as does Zoe’s smiling face} as you enter and fresh hardwood floors steer you to your table. Zoe’s vision is complete with pops of greenery lining the aisles. 

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And while the Brownstone in Edgewater and Engelwood is staying “The Brownstone” {owned by other family members!}, the Jersey City location is separately owned and will be LIFE from now one.

You can visit the LIFE Pancake Company at 426 Jersey Avenue from 7:00AM-4:00PM daily. And this will not be the last of surprises from Zoe – so make sure to follow the Facebook page for updates.

Have you visited LIFE Pancake Company yet? Let us know in the comments! 


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Born and raised in Madison, this authentic Jersey tomato has ripened in Hudson County for the last seven years. As a graduate of Northeastern University’s D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Chloe’s been nerding out over Excel spreadsheets {and stalking you on the internet} since she took her first internship at Efficient Frontier in NYC. Don’t let her college choice fool you, she is a diehard Met’s fan and has the weathered scorebook to prove it. When she’s not dodging armpits and elbows on the PATH, she can usually be found watching Jurassic Park {the original, obviously} for the billionth time, talking to every Jersey City dog she passes, or finishing the last slice of pizza.