Monday, August 24, 2009

Jack N Grill – Denver, CO

I’ve been dreaming about this place since I heard about it a year or two ago. Then I heard the television show Man vs. Food did a piece on this place, so it just confirmed the fact I had to go there. Part of the reason I flew out to Denver was for Roller Derby. The other part was Jack n Grill. (Yes, of course part of it was to see my family out in Denver as well.)

I’ll give my quick disclaimer. I had not eaten anything since lunch the previous day, which was unintentional, but probably a good way to approach this thing. However, consuming copious amounts of Cap’n n Cokes the previous night on an empty stomach didn’t help me in the slightest this morning. I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, but I was feeling good enough to eat PART of a tasty burrito.

I drove downtown and found this place pretty easily. I drove past a billion churches and another billion Mexican food mom and pop restaurants, which made me really hungry. There’s some weird parking going on, but I found the HUGE parking lot just for Jack n Grill out behind the building. It was almost full. When I walked past the patio, I checked out a couple of plates on people’s tables and everything looked delicious. I grabbed a table for myself inside the place and grabbed a menu. I ordered a Dew, which totally made my morning complete. The waiter asked if I needed chips and salsa, which I DID, but decided to forgo, since I didn’t need to fill my guts with anything else but burrito.

Everything on the menu looked really tasty and there were stories and things to read and family photos of Jack’s family. I knew what I wanted, but I figured I’d check again, just to be on the safe side. One Grande Breakfast Burrito, thank you!

I looked around the place and saw a ton of memorabilia on the walls. It took me longer than it should have to realize the theme of the memorabilia is the name “Jack.” Photos of famous people named jack and other things were actual items bolted to the wall. So you’d have a jack in the box next to a photo of Jackie Chan next to a car jack next to Jackie Robinson, next to Wolfman Jack and Jack Daniels and Jack Vettriano. Pretty hilarious decorations and a great idea. There are also tons of awards hanging on the wall, which after eating here, I realized are well-deserved.

The waitress brought this thing out and a couple people around me spun around to watch it come out.

I think it’s a pretty regular menu item, so the staff didn’t make a big fuss about it. But the thing is ginormous. It’s a huge tortilla filled with potatoes, pork, chicken, green peppers, eggs, onions, and covered in cheese. You have the choice of red or green salsa on it, so I got both. I dug into this thing.

It was one of the best burritos I’ve ever eaten, especially the breakfast style. The green salsa was really spicy and tasted great with the potatoes and cheese. The red salsa was much more mild and sweet and tasted great with the pork and peppers. The pork was some of the best I’ve had, even mixed into everything. I think I expected them to sacrifice quality for the sake of size, but that was not the case at all. This thing would have been awesome even if it were not a pillow filled with meat and potatoes.

There were a lot of highlights at this place, so I’ll just list some of the best ones:
• A TON of guys that eat here have magically precisely sculpted beards. Muy impressivo!
• I now understand what TheDoctor says when he uses the phrases “meat sweats”
• Lots of people will gawk at your plate and wish you well and others will say gross and judge you when you order this burrito
• Lots of people in Denver are fans of heavy drinking at 9:30 am
• Jack n Grill also serves GIANT margaritas. Maybe there’s an Andre the Giant family nearby
• The staff is amazingly friendly. A couple of them stopped by to chat with me and other customers, including Jack himself, and it wasn’t fakey at all. They were genuinely happy you were eating their food and hanging out with them. Best customer service I’ve seen in a long time.
• There is an inordinate number of really beautiful people that eat here. This is the best looking crowd of people I’ve seen in one place (besides Iowa City). This might also have been because I was unshowered and still smelled of rum and stella from the previous night.
So you’re all dying to know if I finished the thing…

I did not, sadly. But I DID however eat half of it. I ate off both ends to makes sure I had both sauces. There was no clear winner as to which sauce was better, since they were both awesome. At the point where my ears shut off and I got dizzy and actually thought I was going to pass out, I stopped. Have you ever been at the point where you just KNOW something bad is going to happen if you take one more step or bite? I had to throw in the towel or people would have been very upset with me.

I feel pretty vindicated that I didn’t take home two to-go boxes like a saw a couple of tough guys doing shortly after I walked in. I didn’t want to be like those pansies. The waiter was impressed that I finished half and told me a lot of people eat a corner and give up. He might have just been being nice though. I will say the to-go container I brought home was the heaviest left-over container I’ve ever brought home. It was like it was filled with lead (and sadly the other half of that lead was now in my guts.

Across the parking lot from Jack n Grill is a place that has three happy hours for the serious drinkers. Since 2009 is the year of happy hour, I should have gone, but I couldn’t have fit another bite inside my person at that point. Maybe next time I’ll hit the 10am happy hour!

Write this date down because you’ll never hear me say this again: “That may have been too many taters.”

Top 5 things about Jack n Grill
1. 7 pound breakfast burrito
2. Red and green salsa – equally awesome
3. Incredibly friendly staff
4. All of the customers are both amazed and supportive of idiots like me
5. They have Dew (They also have giant margaritas!)

Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd loved it when I ate ridiculous things and she missed a winner. Mostly she loved it because she could tell me how stupid I was for doing that to my body and how my doctor will love my next triglyceride count!
2. I make a pathetic competitive eater
3. Discovering what “meat sweats” is
4. I read online that the burrito was 5 lbs, but apparently that’s an old menu and too many people were able to eat the 5 pounder. It actually IS 7 pounds.
5. I really want to try a whole bunch of things on the menu, but clearly, there’s no room in the inn

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