Dining Out Sustainably: Jack Allen’s Kitchen

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If you want the good stuff, the limited quantity finds, from the Austin farmers markets, you better get there before Jack Gilmore.  The chef and co-owner of Jack Allen’s Kitchen spends his Saturday mornings scouring the market booths for beautiful, fresh produce that he can craft into tasty dishes.   The list of local farms and markets Jack Allen’s works with is truly impressive and a testament to Jack’s commitment to support our local food community.

The restaurant, located just past the Y at Oak Hill on Highway 71, is bright and open with large windows showing off the landscape giving it a bit of a tree house feel.   The menu highlights the best of Texas cuisine and ranges from the casual burger and tacos to more refined entrees like the Grilled New York Strip or the Chorizo Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Medallions.

Grilled steak with summer corn
Gulf snapper with Texas citrus
Gulf snapper with Texas citrus

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite dish at Jack Allen’s, but I adore the pimento cheese appetizer and the bacon wrapped Texas quail.  The Twisted Cobb Salad with the grilled achiote chicken has become my lunch standard and no one cooks Grilled Ruby Trout quite like Jack. Yum!

Pimento cheese at Jack Allen's
Pimento cheese and flatbread
Texas quail
Grilled Texas Quail

Jack Allen’s is a terrific place to go with the family as there’s something for everyone and they treat kids with respect.  My nephew and I went one day for lunch and the hostess asked if he’d like the kid’s menu or a regular menu.  She made his day when she said, “I didn’t want to presume that you want the children’s menu.” His 9-year-old chest puffed a bit with pride as he responded, “Thank you and does it have games on it, because I do like to play games.”  (And it did.)

The local sourcing doesn’t stop at the kitchen door.  The bar is serving innovative cocktails made with Texas spirits and a nice selection of Texas beers and wines.  Sitting on their expansive patio sipping one of their signature margaritas is a great way to while away a summer evening.

Go visit Jack Allen’s for the great food and drink, but don’t forget to thank Chef Gilmore for his support of our local food community.  He recently hosted a lunch to thank the area farmers with whom he and his son Chef Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, 2011 Food+Wine Magazine Best New Chefs ) work all year – a generous show of appreciation to people who don’t hear thank you often enough.  We are truly blessed to have Chef Jack Gilmore and his namesake restaurant in Austin.

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