2856 N. Southport
Stage 773, Theatre Wit and Atheneum Theatre host multiple shows on any given night. Finding a good pre-curtain nosh in Lakeview can be a challenge, if you don't know Jack! Well, I do know Jack. And on a recent Friday evening, I got to know Jack's a little better.
A charming neighborhood hangout, Jack's Bar & Grill, located at 2856 N. Southport, is in a vintage building dating back to 1881. Within the dark wooden old fashion exterior, multiple flat screen televisions add a contemporary twist. Bigger booths are inviting for friends to gather for drinks and eats. In May, it will be the ultimate Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, Soxs Lovefest locale! The large backyard patio with several televisions makes it possible to enjoy sports alfresco. For a more intimate option within the friendly confines, Wine Bar 404 is literally just through a large threshold. Two restaurants in one. Wine Bar 404 gives off a romantic vibe for a more private dining alternative.
Shawn and I opt for the more festive side and settle into a table in Jack's dining room. Wide French doors are opened to invite in Spring... finally! Our server is friendly and efficient and recommends the Alberti, Malbec Mendoza 2009. It's a hearty red wine with a nice finish. Shawn goes with Stella Artois. Friday is 1/2 price appetizers. There are many choices. We narrow it down to the spinach artichoke dip or the hummus. When our server lists her top four favorite entrees: big onion burger, chicken caesar wrap, chicken pot pie, and the new homemade meatloaf sandwich or entree, we decide on the hummus as the lighter pick.
The hummus arrives with ample pita slices, cucumbers and carrots. It's a delicious starter! The hummus is creamy and tasty. We get in a few fresh vegetables along with many toasted pitas. We are unable to finish the platter despite best efforts. This becomes the reigning theme for dinner. We both choose our server's recommendations. Shawn enjoys the chicken caesar wrap. I go with the 'Big Onion Burger'... big isn't an exaggeration. It's a warning! Caramelized, raw and ring, onions stack this burger HIGH! My medium-rare version is mouth-watering delectable. It's a juicy, hearty mealS. I eat about a quarter and wrap the rest for future lunchES. The fries have an irresistible seasoning. I box the survivors for home.
Despite our inability to completely finish any course, we can't resist splitting a dessert. The server announces the enticing selections. Once again, we go with one of her favorites: the apple pot pie ala mode. When the dessert arrives at the table, Shawn utters an astonished, 'are you kidding me?' The super-size treat is worth squeezing in a few memorable bites. Scrumptious!
Remembering we are trying to make a curtain at 8pm, our server orchestrates a streamlined exit. Three course meal with drinks had a smooth running time of 90 minutes. The pace was leisurely but orderly. The ambiance was welcoming and upbeat. The food was overwhelming and yummy! Our server facilitated a perfect pre-curtain dinner. ENCORE!
A man with a zesty appetite for life, Shawn describes it with 'Giant portions, Burp!'
Week of Eats & Drinks Specials
Mondays: 50 cent wings, $10 pitchers of beer
Tuesdays: $5 burgers, $3 drafts
Wednesdays: $5 wraps, salads, and fish tacos, $5 martinis
Thursdays: $7 Pizzas, $15 beer buckets, $15 beer buckets
Fridays: ½ price appetizers until 9, $5 Jameson shots and Bacardi bombs