A new eatery with southern influences has opened across from the Central Library. It’s called Jaz & Jack’s, named after the proprietors Jazmine “Jaz” and Jonathan “Jack” Accardo – the couple is engaged to be married.
The idea for the restaurant came about because Jack does some work for developer Roger Trettel who owns the building. Jack knew that Roger was looking for a tenant and suggested that it would be a great business for Jaz who happens to be a proficient baker. “We wanted it to have a Southern influence,” said Jaz. “We lucked out when we found Liam Surry, who had just moved to Buffalo from Ithaca. Liam is a dedicated, competitive-yet-humble chef who specializes in southern style food – especially meat slow cooked in a smoker.”
After ordering a couple of items from the menu, I ran into Liam who told me that he was in the process of building his own smoker. The intention is to feature the smoker right out on the wide sidewalk, in front of passersby. Jack even suggested that they talk to the City about taking over a parking space on the street, and cooking there. That is a super brilliant and very progressive idea – one that might give the City an aneurism if and when it comes across a desk in the zoning/permitting department.
Jaz & Jack’s is set up in a way that is highly conducive to serving the busy work crowd. There is a salad station (not self-serve), a deli case with freshly made wraps (for workers on the go), pastries and parfaits, and a hot station with items such as pulled pork, and corn bread.
Seeing that it was so hot out, I decided to order up a chicken Caesar salad, with a side of fried green tomatoes and another side of the beer braised pulled pork and cabbage. I also opted for a Mexican Coke (with cane sugar). The pork was the special of the day – it was braised with Big Ditch Excavator, a beer brewed just a few doors down from the restaurant. I ordered mine deconstructed, but the house tells me that the Carolina BBQ panini version (with cheddar, spring mix, sweet pickles, and slaw) is the way to go. The pork is sourced from Someday Maybe Farms in Forestville, NY. And for the record, the danishes, panini bread and bagels are delivered each morning from Mazurek’s Bakery in Buffalo.
The salad was prepared in a jiffy – it was a respectable lunchtime portion and could have served as the crux of my lunch. The made-to-order green tomatoes were lightly fried and came with a zesty sauce. I would have eaten all four if I could – I suggested that they offer half portions considering that it’s an appetizer. The pulled pork was super tender and tasty and the cabbage was excellent – the hit of the meal. The apple fritter that came with the pork was dry… I was told that they are still working on that one. I hope so, because it would have been a nice complement to the meal. I have a feeling that once the smoker is up and operational, Liam is going to find his sweet spot – the guy knows what he’s doing with meats, judging his performance on the pulled pork.
Jaz told me that their intention with the space was to create something light and vibrant. They certainly did that. The brick walls are gorgeous. The booths look great. Bright orange and yellow accents make the place pop. Plus the blonde wood floors and oversized windows brighten the place up. I suggested that once they are up and operational with the smoker, they might want to add some fun smoked food themed décor.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the special is shrimp and cheddar grits with creole sauce. Wednesday is chicken fried steak with pickled red onion and gravy. Thursday is pork ribs rubbed with dry seasoning. Friday is fried chicken with homemade gravy. And Saturday (yes, they are open on Saturdays) is the shrimp po boy. Sides range from mac ‘n cheese to cornbread. Jaz ‘n Jack’s is also open for breakfast and dinner, so be sure to tune into their Facebook page to keep up with their ever-changing menu options.
Speaking with Jaz, she told me that they want to appeal to the office crowd, whether it’s for coffee and pastries in the morning, or a quick and delicious lunch. “We are ready to accommodate whatever it is people want. We are excited to be here in Downtown Buffalo, in such a wonderful building.”
Lead image (L-R): Jack, Oumar Aeam-Hassaballah, Jaz and Liam