Jack’s Coffee Shop(Proudly Taking the Dive Restaurant Concept to Eleven)

5 Apr

Way down on south Hydraulic and 61st street sits a rather suspect looking structure that lacks any visible sign of being a dining establishment save for a  neon “Open” sign and a small banner on the west side of the house bearing the name Jack’s Coffee Shop. For those in know this happens to be a “restaurant”(I use this term quite loosely)  that serves gigantic burgers from 11am to 2 pm Monday through Saturday.

Don't Worry It's Safe To Go Inside

Don’t Worry It’s Safe To Go Inside

Everything about this place is a well calculated assault on your general expectations of what a restaurant should be. First of all, the name really has no bearing as to what goes on inside, as I saw no evidence of Jack nor anything resembling coffee on my visit. Most coffee shops have Wi-Fi and pastries, this one had an old bed frame and exposed electrical outlets. Jack’s has certainly taken the minimalist approach to interior design, which is evidenced by the concrete floor, mismatched furniture, unfinished plywood counter, non-existent light bulbs, and lack of paint. The exposed kitchen

Communal Bowl of Chips

Communal Bowl of Chips

concept leaves nothing to the imagination as everything from the generic hamburger buns to the small flat top grill is in plain sight. And in one corner sits an old bed frame and dresser. While waiting for our food, my party hypothesized as to the reasoning for having such furniture in an eating establishment. Possible explanations include: Covering up a hole in the wall, a prize for the 10,000th customer, or perhaps some type of tax loophole for a multi-purpose room. Anyway, this place is a dive and a damn good one at that. In fact it is probably the diviest dive I have had the pleasure to visit.

Our order was called in about 30 minutes prior to arrival, which is highly recommended as the large meat disks take some time to cook and the grill can only handle a few patties at a time. Don’t worry about forgetting the menu, your choices are hamburger or cheeseburger.  Upon taking a seat, a plastic bowl of communal potato chips were brought out to the table. A plastic tub of pickles and another with pickled jalapenos and carrots were also

Paper Plate Perfection

Paper Plate Perfection

made available to us. I have to say that the  jalapeno and carrot combination was unexpected, but they proved to be tasty. When our burgers came out, I quickly understood why this place remains open. Before me was one massive cheeseburger and a bun that was woefully undersized to handle such ground beef girth. Our burgers also came with a paper plateful of grilled onions that were shared between the three of us. The only other fixings were generic bottles of ketchup and mustard. Armed only with a plastic fork, my strategy for consuming this burger was to attack the exposed flanks of meat first to get things more manageable before moving onto the bun covered section. Overall the burger was okay. It was

Tubs of Condiments

Tubs of Condiments

slightly overcooked and I don’t believe any seasoning was used on the patty. The two cheese slices and excellent grilled onions helped  balance out the meat. For the price this meal is hard to beat. You get copious amounts of chips, a 3/4 pound burger, and a drink all for $6.50. The pop selection varies from day to day, so be prepared to be flexible in case they are out of Pepsi Max.

For those who like to live out on the edge of the dining scene Jack’s is a place to check out. A lunch here is one of the most unique experiences in town. At this point I probably don’t need to mention it,  but they only accept cash.

Jack's Coffee Shop on Urbanspoon

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11 Responses to “Jack’s Coffee Shop(Proudly Taking the Dive Restaurant Concept to Eleven)”

  1. Veronica April 5, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    Oh. my. gosh! This was so incredible from the get-go that I had to read it out loud to my husband and show him the pictures. He asked, “was this written on April 1st?” LOL! This is crazy!! I wonder if they even have a food handling license. Bwah! Thanks for the hilarious review, and the Spinal Tap reference. :)

    • chainfreeeating April 5, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Glad I could entertain you! To fully appreciate this place you must go visit for yourself.

      • Veronica April 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

        NO WAY! You are far braver than I. ;)

  2. Mere April 5, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    My hubbs and I liked Jacks when we lived in Wichita. Nice to know some things remain the same.

  3. Kent Shawver April 14, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Jack’s is WHAT IT IS === a (non)seasoned genuine “‘burger joint.” It is a treasure to all brave souls devoted to CHAIN FREE burgers. I recommend that those who actually believe that a “1/4 pounder” is a hamburger NOT to venture beyond the non-paved parking lot. This place has been cherished by “foodies” long before such terms were used to describe “food hounds.” The late and much loved Velma Wallace, a true “burger bum,” accompanied me on several occasions. Each time we went we prayed that the place was still open for business. It, like, the “Bomber Burger,” holds a special place in the hearts of:true “burger afficianados.” We would not want these operating priests of burger purity to change a thing — not one thing. (If you want FAKE “atmosphere” then eat the cardboard tasting “Angus Burger” pushed by a local chain.) Jack’s is a wonderful JOINT where folks scratch out a living. If you love joints VS “a dining establishment” LEAVE A BIG TIP and don’t be a ‘cheapskate.”

    • chainfreeeating April 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

      Well Said Sir!

      • Kent Shawver April 15, 2013 at 7:57 am #

        So many Wichita area “burger joints” have been gobbled up by chains which sell “concepts and product.:”, Takehoma Burger, Ralph”s Burger Barn, and many others are gone. — I’m glad that “chainfreeeating” “discovered” this south side jewel of a joint and hope your adventurous readers will understand that food prepared on the “rim of failure” has “soul.”
        Read Earl Thompson’s classic: “Tattoo” which describes his hard scrabble “dirty 30’s” upbringing in Wichita and one looks past the prosperity of the present and stares into a world in which folks eke out a living.
        I enjoyed your chainfreeeating review because it was factual and not condescending. Obviously, timid folk who do not eat Mexican “street food” should not waste their time at Jack’s Coffee Shop and if venturing forth should leave all hip “attitude” at home. Also, if one believes that they may be a trifle “better” than another person that lives on one side of Wichita or another then they DEFINITELY should not to go Jack’s. This joint is for people who are PROUD OF ALL WICHITA CITIZENS period. Velma Wallace, a pilot, said: “Jack’s Coffee Shop”.should not be judged by their address, or appearance, but their big burgers!”. .

      • chainfreeeating April 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

        The main goal of my blog is really to highlight the diversity of the local dining scene. I try not to be too harsh when doing a review, because I want to entice the readers to go out there and try it for themselves. I personally enjoy new experiences and cultures and for me food is a great medium for such adventures. There is nothing like walking into a place that is “off the beaten path” and having a great meal. Upscale restaurants and chains do have their place, but to me they are too aesthetic and lacking of any real authenticity. Why should I pay for a “hamburger” from Red Robin when I can get something with character from any number of places. I fear that the general public has become too programmed as to what their expectations of a restaurant should be and that anything that deviates from that is to be avoided. Hopefully this blog is doing a small part to help keep dining diversity alive in Wichita.

        I loved your quote about “food prepared on the rim of failure”. Very religious

        A quote from one of my food heroes Anthony Bourdain:
        “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.

        Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

  4. Jason July 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I just called to ask if they took plastic, or cash only. A lady answered and told me cash only, then asked if I’d like to order. I told her I didn’t have any cash on me today, so I’d come a different day. She said come eat and pay me later! I’ve never heard that before!! I told her I would wait for a day I had the cash. :)

    • chainfreeeating July 11, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      That is hilarious! I have to say I’m not really that surprised.

      • Kent Shawver July 12, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        There are “good souls” out there that trust their knowledgeable customers “to do the RIGHT THING. Jack’s Coffee Shop is NOT set up for the “plastic crowd;” however,
        they are democratic in that old fashioned AMERICAN way that Kansas patriots love
        and respect. Jack’s is a unique and rare place — Enjoy and keep the “tradition ALIVE!”

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