I've got a few pictures of the Jack Allen's that is 'our' location - there are 3 in our area. I've got a bit about my favorite thing to order - The Country Club Chicken Salad. I've got a bit about the cookbook that came out last October - Jack Allen's Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas. And I'll share a quote from the cookbook telling a bit about Jack Gilmore himself.
Jack Allen's Kitchen is owned and operated by Jack Gilmore and Tom Kamm. They serve fresh, locally sourced foods that are delicious and a melding of Southern, southwestern and uniquely Texas tastes. Here's the Round Rock location that we often visit:
If you've not ever visited Central Texas and the Austin area, life is pretty laid back here. You'll find very little formality in dress or speech. We're all about keeping it easy.
So, you can wear your shorts and your tennis shoes or flip-flops, and you don't have to take off your hat (especially if you have 'hat hair'). You can order a big glass of iced tea and settle in for some great food. And, yes, I will admit that I drink unsweetened tea and most of our restaurants serve it that way all the time. Some do still ask if you want it sweet or unsweetened. I may have grown up on sweet tea, but those days are long gone.
My favorite thing to order is the Country Club Chicken Salad. It's just really, really good. Here's a little look at what you get. This is a picture from the cookbook.
This salad starts with fresh greens and then they add some really yummy ingredients. There some achiote grilled chicken breast and some blue cheese. There are some sliced pears and some dried figs. There are some spiced walnuts (which have brown sugar, cayenne pepper and sesame oil in their recipe) and it's dressed with a lovely champagne vinaigrette. The recipe for the vinaigrette contains shallots, champagne vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper, fresh basil, and olive oil. It is amazingly good. I love this salad. I have the recipe from the cookbook, but honestly, I know I'd never be able to duplicate it.
Jack Gilmore was a local chef that had worked at a bunch of different locations in our area. He spent 20 years at the Z Tejas restaurants, which are also local, but have now branched out to Arizona and California. In 2009, Mr. Gilmore opened Jack Allen's Kitchen with his partner Tom Kamm. Here's a little bit from his cookbook about his story:
On Saturday mornings, you'll find me at the farmers market. Actually, I get to a few of them throughout town. Most open at 9 a.m., and I'm usually standing right at the entrance by 8:45. At opening time, I move through the tents as if it were a timed competition. In some ways, it is. I'm not the only chef in Austin who likes to get an early jump on the best picks of the weekend. Plus, if you don't get there early enough, you have to compete with the general public, who are also hoping to find great ingredients.
Jack's cookbook contains lots of recipes, divided among the seasons. He also highlights many of the farms and businesses where he acquires his food. The cookbook is as much a story of his life and food and restaurant philosophy as about cooking. It also has some wonderful pictures.
So, if you ever get to Austin, get yourself to a Jack Allen's Kitchen and sample some wonderful, fresh, locally sourced food. You enjoy it - I promise!