Jack Rabbit Slims, the country music bar specializing in southern and cajun fare, is set to open Saturday, Dec. 5 at 8028 W. National Ave.
We had the opportunity to check out the space and menu during the restaurant's soft opening this week, and it seems the restaurant and bar will be a worthy addition to the growing West Allis scene.
The restaurant, which has undergone a relatively extensive refresh, is owned by partners Ian Martin and Christopher Surges, who also owns Rumor Upbeat Lounge at 161 W Pittsburgh Ave. Lisa Keefer, former chef and owner of Puddle Jumpers, heads up the kitchen.
A central rectangular bar is the focal point, with primarily booth seating on the perimeter. A stage area in the southwest corner of the space will accommodate live music. And numerous flat screen televisions are clearly visible from every seat in the restaurant.
When it comes to the menu, Jack Rabbit Slims focuses primarily on southern fare, with a few cajun-inspired nods thrown in for good measure.
Starters include standards like hand cut onion rings ($6), nachos ($8), and chips and salsa ($4), as well as chicken wings which have been marinated, smoked and fried (10 for $6). Served with carrots, celery and blue cheese dressing, the wings come with a choice of sauces including Carolina mustard, Kansas City barbecue, mango habanero, mahogany melon, Thai curry and sinister (the hottest of the bunch).
You can also get Texas twinkies, large jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and smoked brisket, wrapped in bacon and deep fried (3 for $7.50), served with barbecue ranch dipping sauce.
Memphis-style pickle chips (frickles) are breaded in beer batter and served with Sriracha mayo ($7.50).
Salads, ranging in price from $7 to $14, include house salad, cobb and crab cake salad. Soups include smoked brisket chili ($5.50/7.50) or soup of the day ($3/5).
Sandwiches include a po’ boy with your choice of blackened or fried chicken or tilapia with roasted red pepper, house slaw, onion and spicy remoulade ($13); smoked brisket or pulled pork with apple jicama slaw ($10.50/9.50); a smoked reuben ($11); smoked sausage with sauerkraut, onion bacon jam and creole mustard ($11); and bacon wrapped meatloaf with sauteed onions and bourbon gravy ($9). The "Fatboy" comes with one pound of pork in the form of ham, bacon and pulled pork with barbecue sauce, slaw and a pickle ($14.50; add a fried egg for $1).
Meanwhile, the brisket burger (available in both 1/3 and 1/2 pound for $13.50 or $16.50) features a Black Angus beef patty topped with four ounces of smoked brisket, muenster cheese, bacon and onion jam. Puddle Jumpers fans will be happy to see that their brisket is back – and is as flavorful and tender as ever. The accompanying bourbon gravy makes the perfect dipping sauce for this seriously delicious burger.
Entrees include a brisket platter with eight ounces of brisket, garlic smashed potatoes, slaw and corn bread with honey butter ($17) and a pulled pork platter (also eight ounces) with pickled peaches, slaw and sweet, moist corn bread (not pictured) served warm and topped with honey butter ($16). The pork is tender and not at all dry, and the pickled peaches ... well, they're just delicious.
A smoked corned beef platter – featuring a generous pile of tender slightly smoky salty beef – comes with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables and horseradish mustard ($18).
Other entrees include meatloaf with garlic smashed potatoes, vegetables and bourbon gravy ($12); chicken fried chicken smothered in chorizo gravy with garlic smashed potatoes and vegetables ($13); blackened or grilled salmon with vegetables and lemon cream sauce ($18); and macaroni and cheese served up with soft breadsticks and a choice of brisket, pulled pork or blackened, grilled or fried chicken ($12).
If you still have room after all that smoked meat, there are sweets to be had, including scoops of Purple Door ice cream ($4.50) or the "Five Dollar Shake" ($5). If you'd like something a bit less sweet, opt for a plate of Danish aebleskiver ($6), buttermilk pancake balls served hot with powdered sugar and housemade jam.
Jack Rabbit Slims will be open daily from 3 p.m. to close Dec. 5-19, with hours expanding to 11 a.m. to close thereafter.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.