Jax Neighborhood Cafe
New neighborhood joint serves up the basics
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., Nov. 19, 2010
Sun.-Fri., 11am-12mid; Sat., 11am-1am
Jax Neighborhood Cafe2828 Rio Grande, 382-1570
Tuesday, 5pm-12mid; Wednesday-Thursday, 3pm-12mid;
Friday-Sunday, 11am-12mid; Saturday, 11am-1am
Open since June, owner Jack Malinowski's Jax Neighborhood Cafe is at the southwest corner of 29th and Rio Grande, where Drungo Ice House and several previous spots once held court. There's a large dog-friendly patio on the east side, and when the weather is OK, the garage doors can be rolled up to connect it with a larger dining room/bar/performance space. Live music fills the cafe every night except Wednesday, when a Geeks Who Drink trivia contest takes over. Sunday night is Ted Hall's Blues Church Jam. Happy hour specials on weeknights seem to be popular with the neighborhood patrons. Jax serves 23 beers with a nice mix of local craft brews thrown in, and they serve it in bottles, pitchers, pints, and 6-ounce shorties; they also offer 14 wines.
The food menu is limited, consisting mostly of chips and guacamole, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and salads. We tried the pizza – a 12-inch-by-9-inch rectangular pepperoni pie ($11.95 pizza plus $1.75 per topping) – and found it unusual but likable. The crust is half an inch thick but light and crispy with a golden finish, and the sauce is rich with onions. The pepperoni and cheese both had a quality flavor and were applied liberally. The burgers are available as third- or half-pound patties ($5.95 and $6.95, respectively) and toppings are extra (bleu cheese and bacon add another $2). The meat is juicy and flavorful, and the condiments fresh and crisp. We also tried the Philly-style hot Italian sausage grinder ($6.95), ample sausage heaped with roasted peppers and onions, mozzarella, and a sprinkling of parmesan. It was tasty.
Jax has a very relaxed and mellow vibe, service isn't rushed, and it seems like the ideal spot to meet some pals and knock back a nosh or two with some libations, plus there are a couple of big screens if there's a game on that can't be missed.