Scott Jones, whose last few restaurants have centered on Southern home cooking, is back with another restaurant that — ta-da! — centers on Southern home cooking. Jack's Southern Comfort Food is scheduled to open October 1 at 1905 Greenville Ave., in the old Ali Baba space.
According to a release, Jack's is a family-inspired concept, named for Jones' father, with a menu that pays homage to his mother's cooking. Continuing the family theme, his sister Sandy Jones will head the bakery, specializing in pies, fried pies, puddings and other Southern favorites. Sandy recently retired from the Arlington Police Department, where she was a 9-1-1 operator and dispatcher for 27 years. Executive chef is Terance Jenkins, who will execute Jones' dishes but do the menu for weekend brunch.
There are biscuits at breakfast, biscuits at lunch and biscuits to go. Oh, there are dessert biscuits too, including "sticky biscuits" baked in maple butter with toasted nuts.
Jack's big item is biscuits. Jones devised a recipe he likes and made it the basis of many of his menu items. Signature dishes include biscuit sandwiches such as the biscuit burger with bacon, cheddar and pickled jalapeno; the BLFGT, with fried green tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, jalapeno tomato jam and mayo; the brisket biscuit dip with brisket, onions, mushrooms, pepper Jack cheese and a side of brisket gravy; and upside-down pot pie, made with choice of brisket, crawfish, mushrooms or smoked chicken.
There are biscuits at breakfast, biscuits at lunch and biscuits to go. There are biscuits baked into a breakfast casserole with sausage, spinach and artichokes; fried chicken biscuits; griddled ham biscuits; and biscuits and gravy. Biscuits sold from a deli case come in flavors such as onion-goat cheese, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato, jalapeno-roasted pecan, and olive-rosemary. Oh, there are dessert biscuits too, including cinnamon biscuits and "sticky biscuits" baked in maple butter with toasted nuts.
Decor-wise, menu boards are fashioned from reclaimed screen doors that hang above the deli cases. A wall dedicated to Texas legends includes photos of Ann Richards and Ross Perot; another wall has an egg theme, with vintage deviled-egg holders and paintings dedicated to deviled eggs. Tablecloths are burlap sacks over a white cloth, and napkins follow the Neighborhood Services/Sissy's mode of tea towels, with mix-and-match vintage flatware. (So that's why there are no forks at the Goodwill store!)
Jack's will also sell a line of jams, jellies and butters such as raspberry jalapeno jam, jalapeno onion relish, hot chow chow and Mayhaw jelly in 20-ounce jars for $7-$8.
As for Jones' previous home-cooking projects, Screen Door in One Arts Plaza was taken over by landlord Lucy Billingsley, who brought in chef David McMillan, then shut it down in July. It will reopen in October as Cafe des Artistes, a Cali-French concept from restaurateur Alberto Lombardi. McMillan is now in the kitchen at Meddlesome Moth.
Jones went on to open Cowtown Diner in Fort Worth in January 2010, which earned some press for its 64-ounce chicken-fried steak; that place was bought in December 2011 by Zack Moutaouakil, owner of Mercury Chophouse in Sundance Square. In May 2011, Jones opened the ill-fated Macho Nacho in the old Hunky's space on Cedar Springs but was locked out of the space for nonpayment of rent in November of last year.