Friday August 18th 2017

I didn”t know Jack

Chicago is known for its “corner bars” and over the years, as we drive down the streets of the city, we see the signs, “Joe’s Corner Tap”, “The Corner spot”, “Moe’s Place” and of course “The Office”. There were hundreds of these local bars, a place where someone could go to meet the guys and let off steam. Many of these traditional corner bars have disappeared due to re-development and changing neighborhoods.For Years, I have driven down (or up) Southport to go to some of the area theaters and Cubs games and saw a sign for Jacks Bar & Grill just north of Diversey. Here it was,another “corner bar and grill”, but this one  did not appear the typical “corner tap”, so we decided to take a closer look.

While it appears to be typical in appearance when you drive by, when you enter Jack’s, you enter a new world; almost like the  amusement parks being divided into “worlds”, Jack’s is as well. There is the typical corner bar with the typical look  with giant screen TV’s making almost every game available. In the middle area, a quiet almost private area with comfy seating, warm lighting and again, access to television. This could be a nice area for a semi-private party as it has a bar of its own. As we leave the “bar” area, we enter the 404 Wine bar co. area, a very upsale dining room with a very warm and somewhat romantic atmosphere. To the rear of this room, there is a second dining room with a fireplace and tables- this room can be used for private parties as well. Never would I have thought that this little “corner” bar was so huge, yet comfortable inside. But that’s not all- there is a fantastic patio area, which in the warmer weather has got to be a perfect spot to be with friends.

Jack’s, which is under the banner of the Big Onion Tavern Group, who has helped with the changes and the additions in the menu, is  very neat in that they have two menus, the “bar” and the “wine bar”, but they will allow you to mix and match, so if you have guests who just want a burger and you want a Hanger steak salad or flatbread, no problem! We tried items from the  404, starting with the spiced almond ( warmed in a sauce of garlic and cayenne lemon with our cocktails- what a wine list in this room as well as beers( craft ,tap,bottles and cans). For our entrees ,the grilled pork chop with a sage cornbread crust , mashed potatoes and a sauce that is made of apple brandy ( delish!) and the steak frites, a perfectly prepared steak with potatoes that are prepared in a Parmesan/parsley sauce. This was also a wonderful dinner, and despite this room being as “upscale” as I mentioned, the entrees are $18.00 and under. There are a lot of small and shared items on this menu making it a delightful place to just have a bite before heading over to Belmont for one of the theaters.

The “bar” menu is filled with  great sounding appetizers-jalepeno skillet corn bread, Hummus on pita, quesadillas,chili, salads, and burgers galore and what appears to be a great looking pulled pork sandwich ( I know I am heading back for that one) and of course typical bar food, the wrap. Their new open faced meat loaf sandwhich also seems to be worth the trip- made on a thick challah bread with mashed potatoes and brown gravy piled on Ma’s meatloaf.- there is nothing more “home cookin” then Ma’s anything, and this appeared to be just that. then there are lots of sides and of course desserts- wow! we enjoyed two of the five items on the menue, apple pot pie ala mode ( which easily serves a family and the chocolate chip skillet cookie- both were prepared to perfection and  tasted as good as it looked ( which is not often the case with desserts). Jack’s is a wonderful spot for casual or romantic and when you stop by, ask for Amber. while the whole staff is very attentive to the patron’s needs, she is a waitress with knowledge of the menu, the wines, and just a warm friendly person who made us feel very “special”.

We know we will be heading back to Jack’s Bar and Grill, possibly for one of their wine or beer tasting nights- vendors come by and show new products. To learn more visit www.JACKSCHICAGO.com. Meanwhile this special “corner bar” is located at 2856 N. Southport and the phone is 773-404-8400. By the way, when there are no games on TV, they can create some with their BAGS game . There is something for everyone at Jack’s Bar and Grill and now I know Jack!

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