Jack’s Corner Tap: Not the average pub
by Staff Writer
by Cathy Swiney
Jack’s Corner Tap is an everyday fare kind of place.
The made-from-scratch classic pub grub of burgers and sandwiches are prepared in a simple manner befitting its friendly neighborhood gathering spot in Cornelius’ Magnolia Plaza.
“We are price-point driven,” owner Rad Bennett said. “Our whole goal is for people to come three or four days a week.”
But the key to success is food. The made-from-scratch casual fare that ranges from classic to creatively out of the ordinary with bold flavors is inspired by Chef Joel Cordero’s Cuban heritage.
“It’s the quality of food that people like to come here,” manager Adam Moran, said. “It’s not a fine dining experience, but it is fine dining food.”
Appealing to a diverse crowd, Jack’s has become a place for businesses lunch, a watering hole for fans to watch sports and a casual restaurant for families. The dim pub features predominately dark wood tones with accents of antique white wainscoting to lighten the space. A mix of booths and tables are surrounded with the expected assortment of TVs and beer signs found in a pub.
Just as the food accommodates every taste, so does the beer selection. Fourteen beers are on tap consisting of local and craft brews such as White Zombie, Buckshot and Son of a Peach. Another 40 varieties of beer are available in bottles, along with a full bar.
Start the meal with California Crab Cocktail. This appetizer of fresh lump crab is mixed with avocados, jalapenos and tomatoes in cilantro cream sauce comes served in a martini glass with chips.
If the heat is taking its toll on your appetite, refreshing salads with in-season vegetables and fruits are light options to consider. The Tomato Mozzarella Salad features fresh sliced vine-ripened tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella and basil topped with balsamic glaze. Or try the Summer Salad, a spring mix topped with strawberries, grilled peaches and shaved Parmesan cheese with lemon poppy seed vinaigrette.
Tacos are a hot seller, and if it’s a Monday night, they are on special for $2 a piece – mix and match fillings of fish, shrimp, chicken, steak or pork that are seasoned with a spice blend and served on soft tortillas. Enjoy them with $2 Coronas or margaritas.
“We get crushed on Mondays,” Moran says.
Specialty sandwiches and burgers are a mainstay for any pub, and Jack’s has them well-covered. Thinly shaved grilled rib eye with grilled onions and homemade cheese sauce makes the World Famous Steak Philly a menu highlight for many customers, Bennett says.
He says he bases his opinion of a restaurant on its cheeseburger, so he’s placed careful consideration on the one at Jack’s. The Corner Tap Burger, made with certified Angus, comes with caramelized onion, bacon and gorgonzola cheese. Three other burgers are made with over-easy egg, bacon, garlic mayo, American cheese and onion rings; bacon and aged cheddar; and homemade chili, slaw, diced red onions and two slices of cheese.
Seven entrees round out the menu with more substantial fare ranging from steak, chicken and seafood, as do daily lunch and dinner specials. Sea bass served with mushroom risotto and asparagus was a recent selection.
The Deep-Fried Brownie for dessert is hard to ignore. Served in a bowl are small batter-dipped brownies that are fried and topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped topping and chocolate syrup. Also available are Cordero’s cheesecakes, which have included cherry, raspberry and chocolate.