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For My First Meal in Sleepy Hollow: “J.P. Doyle’s”

Friday the 13th is a notoriously spooky holiday. This year it is particularly eery as it occurred in October, the spookiest month of the calendar year. I researched this “holiday” in length last year as part of my Find Out Friday series (

This year I celebrated Friday the 13th in the most appropriate place; Sleepy Hollow, NY. 

My original plans for the day had changed so I was only there to grab a bite to fuel up for the ultimate haunted activity: a nighttime tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. But those details are coming up next. 

While doing some reading about Sleepy Hollow I read many good things about J.P. Doyle’s. If felt like it was a neighborhood spot where locals meet to catch up while getting something to eat and a beer. It sounded perfect. 

Arriving in Sleepy Hollow felt much like I imagined it would. 

It was like visiting a movie set. I got a spot right in front of the restaurant and walking in I felt the charm right away. They had all of their best Halloween decorations out and it was adorable. There is the pub side and the more “formal” table/restaurant side which is where I was seated. Though this place is not very big there is a steady follow of folks showing up and the staff was on their feet dancing a perfectly choreographed scene the entire time. I was never neglected or met with a frowning face. I believe even one of the owners, Brian Doyle, checked on my table numerous times. 

I was starving and excited to try many things on the menu. But since I was going to spend the next two plus hours in a cemetery, in the dark no less, I wanted to be careful what I choose. 

I started with the coconut shrimp for an appetizer. This is a dish I really love and always want to try when I see it on a menu. I hate to be disappointed but surprisingly I feel like it is not available most places I go. Is that because I am more often than not at a pizza joint? Probably.

The last time I had delicious coconut shrimp was when I was in Newport, Rhode Island and had dinner at Flo’s Clam Shack ( But I have to tell you that J.P. Doyle’s was pretty pleasing as well. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and the coconut coating was just right. Even the mango chili dipping sauce went down swimmingly.

My entree was the steak sandwich, cooked well done, served with sautéed onions and cheese on garlic bread. Just like with shrimp I am picky with my steak. If it is too chewy when I bite into I am all done. However this steak was cut up into thin small bites on the bread and even when a piece fell onto my plate, I was happy to just pop it right into my mouth. It went down even faster than the shrimp.

I have a hankering to try their French onion soup and their wings as well. 

The only other item I am seriously contemplating was their speciality burger, The Horseman, something J.P. Doyle’s is known for. 

Casey Webb is the host of the relaunched Man vs. Food who recently visited J.P. Doyle’s for himself. He tried a dish I was considering but knew I would never be able to tackle, The Horseman Burger (a ten ounce burger served with lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, and house-made chili between a brioche bun). If I ever do attempt this dish it will have to be as part of a group effort. 

Personally I am someone who longs for everything to stay original and believe society needs to stop re-inventing every single show that every existed (i.e. Will & Grace). I was a fan of Adam Richman when he hosted Man vs. Food from 2008-2012. I have not yet seen the latest episodes. As you can see from the photos below we once met at a book signing, for his first book, America the Edible in 2010. We had quite a chat.

I will be returning to Sleepy Hollow next Friday and yes I already know where I will be eating that day, but you will have to tune back in to Find Out…….Friday.

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