Retired medical professionals Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen have lived in Hell’s Kitchen together for 26 years. They write together too and are the authors of six wine and cookbooks. Let’s raise a glass as the pair share their West Side Story.

Mike and Jeff have lived in Hell’s Kitchen together for 26 years. Photo: Naty Caez

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
Mike: I was born in Brooklyn, raised in New Jersey, and moved to Manhattan to attend NYU in the early 80s.
Jeff: I was born in New Jersey but moved to Hell’s Kitchen 30 years ago. 

What was your first job? What do you do now?
Mike: I’ve had a lot of jobs! I am a registered nurse, and my most recent was as a home care nurse with Visiting Nurse Service of New York, caring for homebound patients in Hell’s Kitchen.
Jeff: I am a Chiropractor who had a practice on W46th Street between 9th and 10th from 2000 until I retired early in 2016. I still miss taking care of my patients, but I am happy to see them out and about in the neighborhood. Now we both write together — we’re the authors of six wine books and are the wine editors at Robb Report magazine. Mike is also the Spanish editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine. 

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
The year we met, we did the Boston-New York Aids Ride together. After training all summer and riding together for three straight days, crossing the finish line in Chelsea while being cheered by onlookers made us both burst into tears. 

Mike and Jeff after the Boston-New York Aids Ride. Photo: BNYAIDS Ride

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
Like every New York neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen is the biggest small town in the world. We have lived here together for 26 years and we bump into people we know all the time. If one of us goes shopping alone, everyone in the stores wants to know where the other one is. We really feel like a part of a very special community. We consider ourselves very lucky to live here. 

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
For both of us, breaking things down and explaining them in simple terms. Whether one of us is explaining to a patient what is going on and how they can help themselves to get better or describing how a bottle of wine was made and why it tastes this way, we are both really good at getting the point across. 

What else should we know about you?
Our latest book is called White Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties and Styles. The name kind of says it all, but we tell the story — and recommend bottles — of 50 different varieties, from ones you have heard of, like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, to less familiar varieties like Assyrtiko and Posip.

Mike and Jeff’s new book White Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties and Styles Photo: World Wine Guys LLC

Mike and Jeff’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

Molyvos — 402 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
Dining at this upscale Greek restaurant is like a trip to Athens without leaving the neighborhood. The enormous all-Greek wine list is a great way to explore and learn about less-familiar wines from an under-the-radar winemaking country, and a few shared appetizers make for a great lunch or dinner. 

West Side Steakhouse — 597 10th Avenue (bw W43/44th St)
When we want a really good burger, this is our go-to neighborhood place. They have a nice wine list, and the bacon-wrapped scallops are a great way to start things off. 

The Spot — 599 10th Avenue (bw W43/44th St)
After 26 years, we’re happy to share a great glass of wine together at home, but when we want to hear some good music, enjoy a cocktail, and meet neighborhood friends we head out to this fun bar on 10th Avenue. 

Esposito Meat Market — 500 9th Avenue (corner of W38th St)
The meat is super high quality and the staff is very friendly and always happy to see us. We have been shopping at Esposito for 26 years and have never been disappointed. 

Becco — 355 W46th St (bw 8th/9th Ave)
A restaurant row mainstay for many years, Lydia and Joe Bastianich’s “affordable” Italian place still kills it with the all-you-can-eat pasta special and all-Italian $35-per-bottle wine list. Chef Billy Gallagher is a neighborhood treasure. 

Sacco Pizza — 819 9th Avenue (bw W54/55th St)
This literal “hole in the wall” with a service window on 9th Avenue is where we head when Mike is craving the taste of pizza from his childhood in Brooklyn. 

Ninth Avenue International Foods — 543 9th Avenue (bw W40/41st St)
We love buying olives, cheese and loose spices here. The owner now spends a lot of time in Greece, but the guys who have worked here for over 20 years treat it like their own business. We love their hospitality.

You can follow Mike and Jeff on Instagram @worldwineguys. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form —

You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.

Join the Conversation


  1. This made my day to see Dr. Jeff! He was the best chiropractor I ever had! So happy to read about these two lovely New Yorkers!

  2. Hi Mike and Jeff, love the photo of your moment of exhilaration after finishing an arduous bike ride, that was a Bravo moment.

  3. The Wine Guys are filled with great information on travels, food and wine. Not only are they full of knowledge but great company to be in. I miss you guys.

  4. I Love these guys! I’ve learned more by following their World Wine Guys videos and purchasing their books; And since they’re foodies, I now know what restaurants to visit when I’m in the city. Thanks guys!

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