It was an unplanned outing. If fact, we were already “outing” when I had an attack of burger desire so severe that we had to march straight to Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint.
The place is usually pretty busy, partly because it’s small, yes, but also because it’s a great place. So my burgerdesire attack nearly turned into a panic attack when we saw no available seats at the bar or unoccupied tables. Thankfully, a kindhearted fellow named Phil must’ve sensed my desperation and invited us to sit at his table. The Friendly City :)
Jack Brown’s serves hamburgers, cheeseburgers, several specialty burgers (like the Chiflet, the Elvis, and the Greg Brady), fries, and of course, their legendary fried Oreos. Did I say beer? Oh, yes, and beer. The special that day: The Big Jack. I ordered it with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Brandy had a Paulaner and the Shocker–an innocuous-looking little number with jalapenos on it.
The Big Jack has two patties, ample cheese, and lots of sauce. It’s one of those “can’t put it down burgers,” because if you do, you look like a 15-month-old in a high chair trying to pick that messy thing back up.
Here are some things we love about Jack Brown’s:
1. It’s simple. They manage to offer 100+ beers accompanied by a simple menu of burgers. This clearly shows they have their priorities straight. If you want wings, you can walk two doors south to their sister restaurant, Billy Jack’s Wing and Draft Shack.
2. The disco ball that hangs in a space with no room to dance. Unless you dance on the bar. And maybe that’s how all those bras got up there.
4. The Utfart sign that hangs near the restroom. And maybe there is an exit back there (“utfart” is Swedish for “exit”), but it makes more sense for it to mean “restroom.” I traveled to Europe a couple of times and I can’t tell you how many times I saw the utfart sign and thought it was a restroom. Silly Americans. I’m 40 and I still giggle at the word “fart.” Geez.
Jack Brown’s with its cozy interior and mellow patio is a good choice for lunch, dinner, or an obscure beer variety. Not to mention their 100-Notch Club and frequent FIELD TRIPS to Virginia breweries. !!! Visit them at 80 South Main Street, Harrisonburg. They’re open 11am to 2am daily.
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