Restaurant review: Jack Brown's brings unique spin on burgers, brews downtown

The Jalapeno Popper burger from Jack Brown's, ordered with a side of regular crinkle-cut fries and served with a pickle spear.

If you go

› Where: Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint, 818 Georgia Ave.› Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily› Price range: $10-12 burgers and sides› Alcohol: Yes› Phone number: 423-682-8198

photo The Cowboy burger from Jack Brown's, ordered with a side of sweet potato fries and served with a pickle spear.

Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint says it all in the name: If you're looking to enjoy beef and a brew, welcome. If you want anything else besides fries or a deliciously unhealthy deep-fried Oreo, look elsewhere.

The new joint opened last month in downtown's recently remodeled Tomorrow Building (formerly Yesterday's). It beckoned as the perfect place to celebrate the Nashville Predators' first Stanley Cup playoff win and cheer them on for game four of the nerve-wracking series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. As an East Nashville native and longtime fan, there was no way I was going to simply sit at home and watch the game, so supporting a new bar downtown seemed like the only logical option.

The space

I'm not sure what I was expecting when walking into Jack Brown's, but the space I arrived in wasn't quite it. Memorabilia covered the walls, lending a comforting feeling to both bar patrons and those who chose to sit at one of the colorful tables and chairs scattered throughout the room.

Since the evening weather was unusually cool for June, the large windows were open, which invited a pleasant breeze throughout the place. But the star of the show was the disco ball hanging from the ceiling, surprisingly with several bras hanging from it.

Since game four of the Stanley Cup playoffs was happening that evening, I was happy to find that the bar had several TVs, all tuned in to the game.

Though the look of the space was not what I originally envisioned, the layout of the space and the personable staff immediately created a sense of familiarity that would definitely bring me back to watch another game over a beer (or two).

The food

Jack Brown's offerings are simple and straightforward: hamburger, cheeseburger, grilled cheese or one of seven specialty burgers - six of which are always on the menu, while a seventh is a daily special. The burgers are all made with Wagyu beef, also known as American-style Kobe beef, the result of cross breeding Japanese Wagyu cattle with continental breeds of cattle.

For an extra couple of dollars, patrons can throw in a side of regular or sweet potato fries or a deep-fried Oreo for dessert for only $1 (which I highly recommend).

The business also offers a beer-focused Notch Club to all customers - which is free aside from the cost of the beer, of course - and anyone who logs 100 beers and a personal rating can gain access to Notch Club member-only beers, trips to breweries and other incentives.

The order

The night my friend, Kristian, and I went to watch the game, the feature was the Chili Verde burger, covered in house-made salsa verde, pepperjack cheese and chicharrones (pork cracklings). Though he was immediately intrigued, we were disappointed to find out the restaurant had just run out of salsa verde.

We made a mental note to come back another time and settled on a burger with cream cheese and pickled jalapenos aptly dubbed the Jalapeno Popper for me, while Kristian went with The Cowboy, which had Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce.

I was disappointed that no one asked how Kristian or I wanted our burger cooked, especially when we both received well-done burgers over the bed of fries we each ordered. The bun on which the burger was served was unremarkable. For the roughly $8 apiece we paid for the burgers and $2 and $3 for fries and sweet potato fries, respectively, I was hoping for something other than a bun I could have easily picked up myself from the grocery store.

Though I'm not personally a huge fan of crinkle-cut fries - they remind me too much of mediocre middle-school lunches in the cafeteria - Jack Brown's were crispy and quite tasty. And despite the disappointment of the overcooked (for my preference) burger, the meal was satisfying in a way that only something as comforting and classic as a burger can be.

Kristian and I were both full, but we were assured that the deep-fried Oreo was not to be missed. And when it arrived, presented in a fun Chinese take-out box, still sizzling and coated in a perfect layer of powdered sugar, I was grateful to our server for steering our wayward and full bellies in the right direction.

The verdict

I could easily be convinced to return to Jack Brown's to drink to one of their many impressive craft beer offerings and to watch the revered - except perhaps by the Penguins - goalie Pekka Rinne and the rest of the Preds team.

The new business might have a few kinks to work out, but the service was impeccable, and there's always room in Chattanooga for a friendly new neighborhood watering hole. Plus, even though I didn't necessarily need another reason to imbibe, the Notch Club incentives are beckoning me back.

And seriously, the deep-fried Oreo is worth the dollar, as well as any workout you might feel the need to do afterward.

Contact Gabrielle Chevalier at or 423-757-6439.