New Fat Jack’s plans to open in February | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | February 6, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: February 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm
By KATRENA McCALL
If the rain ever stops, Fat Jack’s Grillin’ and Chillin’ is set to open its new restaurant next to Walmart the last week in February.
Owner Jack Jones said they originally wanted to open the first week in February, but the rain has put them behind “because you can’t work on the inside of the building until you get the outside built. So it’s been a little problem with the weather.”
The last major holdup is installing the awning over the new outside dining area, a perk not offered at the current location in Ivanhoe Shopping Center. That plan includes lots of ceiling fans to keep things cool in the summer and an outdoor bar, in addition to the inside bar.
“The inside will be totally different,” Jones said. “There are windows all the way around and it’s really open, really bright — completely different from this place. It’ll be nice to be able to serve people a little better.”
The new building is 200 square feet bigger than the current restaurant, and the dining area will seat more people.
But the biggest change will be in the kitchen, which will increase from 300 square feet to 1,200. “Our kitchen here is very small. The amount of food the people in the kitchen send out is kind of amazing,” he said. That lack of kitchen space prohibited him from adding more tables in the current restaurant because there wasn’t room in the kitchen to prepare the additional food.
Once the new building is ready, the move will be pretty simple because the only things that will move will be the computer system and the employees — everything else will be new.
But even though the location will be new, most things will stay the same, Jones said.
The menu will change slightly. They’ll still offer their signature steaks and seafood, but there will be some new items: crab cakes, N.Y. strips, more pasta dishes, new appetizers and desserts. “We’ll have a lot of the same, but there’s going to be a lot of new too,” Jones said.
The move will also require additional employees. “We have a lot of good employees that have been with us — one has been with me the whole time (16 ½ years), and several came just a couple of months after we opened. We don’t have a bad turnover problem. They’ve been with us a long time and do a good job,” Jones said. “We’ve just got to get some more to do a good job.” He expects the workforce to increase from 27 to 40-45 to “get things done right.” Plus he’s still considering converting the Ivanhoe location into a barbecue restaurant, which he says is a possibility, but not set in stone yet.
Getting things done right is Jones’ mission. He’s had people tell him they don’t like the move because “it’s going to be different.” But the changes will be minor, because “It’s the hometown people we cater to. That’s who helped us build the business, and we’ll continue to cater to them,” Jones said. “We just had the opportunity to be able to serve more people. The hometown people don’t need to be concerned. It will still be the same people, the same way we operate now,” Jones said.
“When you come in, you’re important to me — everyone who comes in the door. And we’ll keep it that way.”