By Marika Flatt
We all know the culinary scene in Austin has exploded in the last several years and there are many great chefs in town. However, Owner & Executive Chef Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen is one of the best you’ll ever encounter. His laid back, pull up a chair, friendly attitude and his passion for supporting local farmers—not to mention his outstanding food—all make him a force to be reckoned with.
In October of 2009, Jack and managing partner Tom Kamm left Z’Tejas to create their dream project – Jack Allen’s Kitchen, a restaurant focusing on farm to table fresh ingredients, spirited Texas cuisine, and true southern hospitality. Since the opening of Jack Allen’s Kitchen Oak Hill in 2009, Gilmore and Kamm opened locations in Round Rock (on I-35). Jack Allen’s Kitchen’s first cookbook releases this fall and they are opening a third location in Westlake (360 & Davenport Ranch) in March 2015.
Jack is a huge supporter of Austin-area charities and is frequently at pro bono events and festivals benefiting them, such as the Capital Area Food Bank and the annual Farmer’s Appreciation Lunch. He’s committed to the community and you can find his chefs at local markets every Saturday, in order to bring Jack Allen’s diners the very freshest ingredients.
Local in source and Texan in spirit in both the kitchen and the community, Jack Allen’s Kitchen brings the comfort of Southern-inspired cuisine to its guests daily. Here are a few of my suggestions that I uncovered through my in-depth investigation:
Spinach Gorgonzola Ravioli– The Austin Pasta Company specifically makes this for JAK. It’s heaven on a plate!
- Crunchy Catfish– In this dish, you can taste Chef Jack’s Louisiana roots. The fish comes from Bower’s Farm in Palacios, Texas, and is served with a unique jicama slaw.
- Baja Style Fish Tacos– A filling entrée, this dish is topped off with pico de gallo, avocado and pickled peppers and comes with sides of veggie studded rice and black beans.
- Dessert & coffee—Please don’t leave without this treat! The coffee comes from Katz’ Coffee in Houston. The Blondie Pie is like a Tollhouse cookie/ brownie pie, served with a dollup of Amy’s Mexican Vanilla ice-cream.
When I asked Jack what makes JAK unique, he said: “The staff. I love being around my staff. They’re young, energetic sponges from every walk of life. We have 40 servers, 10 bartenders and 30 cooks x2 restaurants and we’re like a family.”
Take your family to meet Jack’s family and enjoy some of the best the Austin food scene has to offer.