Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jack in the Box

899 Veterans Blvd 
Festus, MO 

First, a fond farewell to one of my favorite lunch joints. Last week all four Casa Gallardo Restaurants in St. Louis shut their doors, citing a soft market. The location at Westport was, for nearly two years, pretty much a weekly habit for myself and a couple of co-workers. The service was excellent, they recognized us on site, didn’t even bother with menus, etc. They kept us fed and happy. That trio broke up several months ago, one of the three of us left for greener pastures. I only went back a couple more times after that, but they still remembered my order.
CG had been in business since 1975, so it was rather a shock to see them all shuttered just as the economy is reportedly rebounding.
I reviewed one of the other locations once, I didn’t care for it as much as Westport, but it still wasn’t too bad, and it did seem quite popular.
For this weekend’s meal, I’d announced earlier in the week that I was in the mood for a decent burger. Adam suggested Jack in the Box, as he and his lovely mother had been there recently, without me. Angel said she really, really enjoyed the cheeseburger she’d had there. So when Saturday evening arrived, I easily agreed to the choice. I hadn’t had a fast food burger in quite a while, I was eager. I’d only been to JiB twice before, and except for some minor complaints, enjoyed it.

The Place:
Above the Interstate in Festus, alongside nearly a dozen other dining choices, some good, some not so much. Fazoli’s Burger King, Bob Evans, Taco Bell, etc. We pulled in and went right in, we were the only customers at the time.
JiB is a little less plastic than other fast food places, in appearances a bit more upscale. Nicer tables, more refined décor. The sun was low in the sky, shining brightly on the table tops, which did the place no favors. I cringed a little noticing that nearly every table had a generous dusting of crumbs and other detritus. The angle of the light highlighted this sharply. As well, the floor was not quite debris free.
We ordered and loaded up on napkins, ketchup, etc., and found a tall table in the back.

The Food:
Bacon Ultimate Burger
I ordered the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger, with seasoned curly fries and upped it to ‘medium’ Adam aped my order. Angel went back to the one she’d had previously, the Ultimate Cheeseburger, sans bacon.  She also requested straight fries, unseasoned. Adam filled up his cup with Dr. Pepper, Angel, her beloved Diet Dr. Pepper. I looked around and saw no tea. I asked about this at the counter, they took my cup and asked whether I wanted sweet or un-sweet. Of course I said un-sweet. “Lemon?” the lady then asked. “Why yes, please!” I answered. She disappeared around the corner for a moment. Upon her return she handed it to me and asked: “Would you like some sweetener packets with that?” I responded no, but thanks anyhow. She was obviously concerned about my sweetness intake.
Or, she was trying to kill me.
I sat down with my family and took a long swig and gagged. The tea was ridiculously sweet. I don’t mind sweet tea, I am from the south, but when you’re not expecting a nine to one sugar to tea ratio, it can be quite a shock.
I took it back to the counter where the lady confessed to attempted murder. (actually she apologized and said "My Fault.") Her manager was a little displeased but very apologetic as well, saying he’d added TWO lemon wedges to the replacement. I thanked him for his generosity and made sure to not make a big fuss.
On my return to the table I boasted of my kindness and patience over the issue, downplaying the hideous incident.  I sipped the tea and was quite pleased, it was not at all terrible.
We sat and waited a few more minutes playing with our cell phones. I’d just picked up a new one, the previous one, a hand-me-down, had finally died completely. I’d even switched service plans. I refused to agree to the two-year contract renewal and jacked up fees and service requirements that took a ‘free phone’ to over a hundred dollars once all the requirements for a ‘free upgrade’ could be met. We’ve been with this service provider for seven or eight years and we've decided to wean ourselves off of it. Especially with mine. I don’t use the cell phone very often, so it just made more sense to go with a pay-as-you-go, no contract option. I’ll rant more on this mess elsewhere.
The food arrived, I was hungry.
Double Cheeseburger with Taco
I pulled open the bun and found two small slices of bacon, just enough, and the burgers were topped with ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. The meat patties were not greasy, in all a pretty decent looking sandwich.  JiB Advertizes 100% beef in its burgers, which is good. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to compare that to though, maybe the other chains add pigeon innards or cat meat to theirs, I can only assume as much. If I were guessing though I’d say that JiB uses a slightly higher lean/fat ratio than some of the others. These were not drippy or greasy, nor did it weigh me down with that bloated, gassy feeling afterward. (Knock-knock Burger King!)
The fries were a little disappointing. They tasted fine to me, though Angel doesn’t ask for the curly seasoned ones. She says they are too ‘seasony’. I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word. The problem I had with them was not the taters themselves, or the seasoning, but rather the extra small bits and chunks of fried matter, perhaps balls of seasoning.  Back in the olden times Long John Silver used to include crunchies with the fish. The crunchies were merely bits of loose fish batter that they scooped out of the deep fryer. I loved those things. The crunchies being served with the curly fries at JiB though were not as inviting, they perhaps spent more than one fry cycle in the oil.
But that’s the  sum total of the complaints, mostly minor ones at that.

 JiB is fast becoming my favorite fast food burger joint. I’ve lost my love for Burger King and their recent tweaking of the food. JiB’s is just good, pretty darn good. I like that the burgers are less fatty, well-constructed and not too much or too little of anything.
The price is comparable to the other chains, our meal came in at around twenty three dollars. On a local level, I was disappointed that the tables hadn’t been wiped recently, especially since there were no other customers when we were there. There was plenty of staff and not much else going on. On review of my previous reviews, I discovered that the litter and un-wiped tables is a repeat offense. This might be a problem. I'll think I'll send a comment to the manager.
 Angel agreed: "Do send a review to them about the tables. It's something I've noticed too."

!!!  Last minute update!! I did send a comment, and someone from JiB's Imperial HQ called me today, while I was driving . I let it go to voicemail since the choice between driving while distracted or chatting to a customer relations agent about slightly untidy fast-food franchises seemed obvious, their call was just not that important to me. I did call them back once I got home. They seemed genuinely concerned and assured me that since I had seen and documented the same infraction, months apart, they were taking it seriously and would be contacting the location. "To confirm that location, Mr. Bentley, That was in Fetus, Missouri?"
I snickered, she immediately caught the gaffe. "We pronounce it Festus here ma'am, that first 's' is kind of important."  I tried to sound righteously agitated.
I could almost hear her blush.
She then offered me an actual written apology and a gift certificate/coupon, which I politely declined. (Professional ethics; I has it!)
"Well, thank you for bringing this up to us Mr. Bentley." She said just before hanging up.

"It's just one of the many services I provide ma'am."

Jack in the Box on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I really liked your review!!! The Ultimate Cheeseburger (bacon or not) is my favorite!!! I always get it on the toasted sour dough bread...you need to try that. Curly fries are a must, although in the fry department, McD still rules.