3055 Buffalo Road, Gates
Visited Aug. 2, 2011
Written by Tyler
One evening while cruising the Gates-Chili restaurantopolis, Drew and I discovered an intriguing combination of cuisines – pizza and barbecue – that just about stopped us dead in our tracks.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I at least did a double-take upon seeing the sign for Jack’ss. We knew we had to make the trip back out there soon and get involved, so we brought Greg along two weeks later to test it out.
It’s difficult for most small restaurants – especially brand new ones – to truly specialize in more than one general group of food, so we didn’t expect too much from Jack’ss.
We entered and ordered at the counter. No one else was in there at the time, but we were still surprised at how quickly our food was ready.
One interesting note about Jack’ss is that you can order any topping(s) you like on a pizza slice, unlike most places where the slices are premade and sitting in a warmer with no work left to be done until they are eaten.
I took advantage of that and got a slice with ham. The slice had a great balance of crust-cheese-sauce. It was piping hot, but tasted good thanks to the sauce.
The thin ham didn’t add a ton of flavor, but the crust was done perfectly. It was thick and crisp, without being too toasty or crunchy, and I thought it was decent pizza overall.
Greg opted for a steak-and-eggs sub with peppers, onions, mozzarella and hot sauce. Sadly, the sandwich came without the hot sauce (unless of course Greg just didn’t notice it, but I’ll take his word for it).
Amid his mild disappointment, Greg said he was surprised at how well-constructed the steaming-hot sandwich was and how good its roll was. But despite the hearty hoagie’s appearance, Greg said the flavor was bland.
“The steak was hardly seasoned – not even a hint of salt or pepper – and the same could be said for the veggies on it,” he said. A little more cheese would have been a perfect amount, and I'm sure the hot sauce, had they remembered it, would have taken it up a notch.”
On a positive note, Greg continued by raving about the roll.
“A crisp but not burnt exterior, fluffy but fully cooked interior, that was neither too soft that it became soggy and fell apart nor too hard that it was hard to bite,” he said. “It had a somewhat wheaty flavor that I really enjoyed, too. A real classic roll.”
Drew was the only one who sampled the barbecue selection, ordering his usual pulled pork sandwich. He also agreed the roll was very good, especially because it was toasted.
As for the meat itself, he noted it was slightly better than the typical pulled pork sandwich at similar restaurants.
"Usually when you order a pulled pork sandwich at a family restaurant or diner, it’s usually about the same stuff – pulled pork they froze and microwaved,” Drew said. “(This was) obviously not Dinosaur pulled pork you’re getting, but it’s better than the average family restaurant’s."
From my own observations I was pleased to see that Jack’ss had actually put some thought in to Greg’s and Drew’s sandwiches, rather than serving up generics.
The rest of the menu included several specialty pizzas and salads available, along with common grill and fryer items, subs (including a separate steak-specific section), and a few pastas and calzones.
The barbecue menu isn’t particularly extensive, and I was disappointed by the lack of sides available, but it includes several variations of both ribs and chicken.
We all agreed the service was good and the menu had some things that stood out a bit. Jack’ss was nothing that blew us away, but we were somewhat pleasantly surprised by it.
It’s nothing we would go out of our way for, but if we’re nearby we know we can stop by Jack’ss for a reliable meal.
Service/Atmosphere: Very clean restaurant with quick service in a quiet location.
Food: Unique variety, slightly above average. We were fans of the dough used in the sandwich rolls and pizza crust.
Value: Overall it seemed the prices matched the quality and portion size of the food.
Overall: Nothing spectacular, but we were pleasantly surprised. It’s a brand new restaurant with potential if it can attract a following.