Restaurant Review: Jack Whitney’s
It seems like just yesterday, when Jack Whitney’s was McCasky’s.
Actually, it was almost yesterday, it was this summer. In the restaurant world, a season ago is just like yesterday, because it takes forever to flip a joint. The fact that Jack Whitney’s got the licensing and staffing and things up and running for a fall opening: that’s life in the fast lane, right there.
Of course, some things about the transition were pretty darn easy. From a guest perspective, the interior needed zero overhaul. McCasky’s left a nice cozy shell with shiny woodwork everywhere and a big handsome bar to belly up to.
And Jack Whitney’s seems to have embraced those hand-me-downs. That’s not surprising. This isn’t the Whitney team’s first rodeo, wherein an owner feels like it’s imperative to put a personal signature on every possible item. Owners Kevin and Lori Ames are industry veterans. They’re the same team that’s been running popular Columbus restaurants like Frezno for twenty-odd years.
Most of the menu leans towards old-school bar classics: small plates, sandwiches, and a little pizza and pasta. That said, there are some fun adventurous items that beg to be sampled.
Case in point: Pecan Praline & Bacon Popcorn ($4.95). As someone who never really got into the truffle oil popcorn craze, another popcorn appetizer option seems suspect. Why can’t we just agree that movie popcorn is really the only popcorn worth eating?
That was before this praline stuff. Frankly, it doesn’t look that special: it looks brown. But the glistening popcorn is a little sweet, and quite briny and smokey and occasionally bacony too. It is a good thing to do to popcorn, indeed.
There is also a House-Made Sausage Platter ($10.95). It does just exactly what a sausage sampler should do: the platter offers fist-sized piles of sausage slices in flavors such as chicken & fennel and smoked kielbasa. Just as fun were the accompaniments: a crunchy, flavorful chow chow and two mustards. One mustard was a whole grain mixture, the other was reddish and packed with cranberry flavor. Both were worth hoarding.
For the less adventurous crew, there are sandwiches. The Turkey Reuben ($8.95) is very nice with lots of layers of thinly sliced turkey mixing with a little mild sauerkraut, cheese and dressing. The Fancy Grilled Cheese is recommended too: the kitchen is generous with the cheese, and it’s teamed with pesto, bacon and roasted tomatoes. In truth, that makes it much more than a grilled cheese. It’s like a BLT, with cheese instead of useless lettuce.
Both sandwiches come with a huge supply of fries — thin sliced squiggles, with lots of crunchy bits.
Jack Whitney’s does respectable pizza too (Pepperoni is $7.95) -really, it’s hard to miss with a combination of cheese, pepperoni and a sweet tomato sauce.
Jack Whitney’s can be found at 520 S. Front St. It’s open Mondays through Thursdays from 11am until 1am. On Fridays it opens at 11am and stays open until 2:30am, and on Saturdays, it opens at 4pm and closes at 2:30am.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/JackWhitneys.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.