It’s NOT All Right, Jack, It’s Just OK. (Jack’s Seafood Restaurant)

(I couldn’t help myself. One of the great movies of my childhood was the goofy 1959 Peter Sellers comedy, I’m All right Jack.  It’s a comedy about unions and corruption and several other things and if you’ve never seen it, you should. It’s timely.)

Jack’s Seafood Restaurant, which opened August 14th, in the Fishermans’ Terminal building, has been avidly anticipated and  heavily subsidized. As you may recall, the City put out an RFP for restaurant  operators back in 2013 and received around a dozen applicants but-mysteriously- NONE of these folks were deemed qualified and we mere peasants and taxpayers are not privy to the reasons. The contract was awarded to Jack Wu, a crony of former Councilman Chet Albin. Mr Wu has operated the nearby Bayfront restaurant for four years. For Jack’s Seafood, the CIty spent $550K on the building, another $240K on fixtures installed at City expense and will collect NO RENT for the first nine months, after which Mr Wu will pay $4500/month.

Now the Bayfront has not exactly been an unqualified success. Their Yelp reviews have run about 50/50 with positive reviews for the scenery, sushi  and teppanyaki,  negatives for the rest, especially  the service.  Mr Wu has had years now to solve his service problems, so how does Jack’s measure up?

First of all, the space is beautiful. The waterfront views are great and the bar, which looked like they were still setting it up, is nicely appointed. 

I guess we should start with the chowder, which should be the hallmark of a waterfront joint.  The chowder has a nice flavor, but a thin consistency, off-putting to folks like me who like a traditional chowder such as that available at Gill’s or the Seascape.  It’s not terrible, but, as one of our party said, it was “not yummy”.  Both people finished theirs  but no one was licking the bowl. Our third person had a salad instead, which was large and very fresh.

In fact, the ingredients overall are fresh and presented nicely.  I had the fish sandwich made with rock cod.  I thought it might come on a bun or roll but it was served on toast made of sandwich bread, which was different, with a huge mound of romaine and some sliced heirloom tomatoes.  The fish part was fine.  I ended up eating it with a knife and fork. The other two had the fish and chips, also with rock cod, and the halibut and chips. The remark was made that the halibut could have been tastier. The “chips” are quarter-sized slices of potato, fried. Again they were “not yummy”, but okay. The coleslaw was served dry and definitely needed dressing.

What about that old bugaboo, service? The staff are young and eager but the service was awkward.  We waited quite a while and then our server brought our chowders and salad at the same time she brought our mains. She explained that they had run out of chowder (at 1pm on a Tuesday, with the place only half full) and had had to make more.  I kind of think we should have been ASKED if we wanted everything dumped on the table at once but I guess I’m an old grouch.

Now, let’s talk prices.  One would expect a “view” restaurant to charge a dollar or two more than a place in McKinleyville, and the $15 fish and chips does include soup or salad.  It’s not a rip but it’s not a good deal, either. 

Bottom Line:  Has YOUR money been well-spent?  As I said, it’s a beautiful space.  Of the three of us, not one was eager to return, at least for food. The bar, however, has real possibilities. The food is okay, “not yummy”.  The service is cheerful but raggedy. Jack’s has a captive audience of tourists just from its location,  which is about thee feet from where the Madaket boards. Will it develop a local following?  I really hope so. But they definitely have work to do. If you get down there, let us know what you think. 

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THE EAGLE HOUSE IS FOR SALE!

Our wonderful, iconic hotel on the Bay is for sale for $2,850,000.  I’ve always enjoyed sending out-of-town visitors here. Whether they complain (because it’s not pristine like new construction) or appreciate it for the great, quirky property it is, is a great test of character.  Details HERE.

You’ll notice they reference a 25% vacancy factor. I don’t think the Eagle House has ever had full-time proactive management, but if they did I’m sure they could fill more rooms.

Here, courtesy of LoopNet, are some other properties For Sale In Humboldt:

The Ritz Building, 240 F Street, Eureka , former site of the Ritz restaurant, going for $3,300,000.

The Little Jalisco building at the foot of Humboldt Hill, for only $230,000.

The former Pierce Mortuary at 707 H Street, Eureka, going for $775, 000.

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EUREKA NEEDS MORE PARKING!!

It didn’t make any of the local papers but Eureka businessman Don Davenport stood up at the July 21 meeting of the Eureka City Council and made an impassioned plea for more parking in Henderson Center.  Mr Davenport and I have had our differences in the past, but on this subject he’s absolutely right.  Last Monday I tried to meet a  friend who volunteers at the Cancer Society and drove around for fifteen minutes trying to find parking.  I finally resorted to the Rite-Aid lot, where I squeezed into a space that was already occupied by a scooter. Pathetic!

I asked everyone I could buttonhole what the problem was and no one knew. Here’s a wild guess: there’s not enough parking in Henderson Center!!  And with two new restaurants (Zöe and Diver Bar& Grill)  slated to open in the next few weeks, the situation in Henderson Center is only going to get worse.

It’s no better downtown. I routinely drive around Old Town looking for parking and go elsewhere when I can’t find it.  And I have a disabled placard! That means I’m not just looking for marked disabled parking, but ANY parking because I can use the placard in any marked space. I still end up driving elsewhere because there’s not enough parking.

What are our city officials doing about this problem? Making it worse!  Mr. Rob Holmlund, the city’s Community Development Director, has drawn a bead on the few available spaces and would like to see some of them set aside for “parklets”. Thank God the current proposal is only for four such spaces and we’ll all be curious to see if the property owners and merchants in Old Town really benefit from clearing space in front of their businesses. Considering the large population of homeless and poorly-housed folks within a block or two of the proposed “parklets”,  will it really be shoppers who fill the spaces?  We’ll see.

I believe Mr Holmlund’s well-intentioned proposal would be more suitable for Los Altos than for Eureka. 

Ditto for his similarly well-intentioned desire to preserve the neighborhood markets of yesteryear. Yes, neighborhood markets are a great convenience but most of them are just getting by. I miss Songer’s and Cannam’s too but nostalgia won’t pay the bills.  I wish Handee Market and the others all the best,  and hope they survive but if they survive it won’t be because of city planning.  It will be because they’re filling a need. And they have nearby parking.

END

 

 

Tidbits and Gossip 8/5/15

The Cutten Inn reno that was supposed to be completed in July has obviously not been completed.  From the look of things it could be many months.

The Cutten Murphy’s s having their annual summer BBQ season in front of the store M-F until at least the end of August. Easy to grab on your way home! Grass-fed cheeseburgers $5.99 and the half-chickens at $4.99 are a real deal.  Support your local grocer!

CNBC’s new series The West Texas Investors Club is kind of a Shark Tank meets Hee-Haw and the shark/investors don’t have the cred of the originals but after you watch it for half an hour or so it all starts to make a loony kind of sense.  One of the sharks is Matthew McConaghy’s uglier brother.  Tuesday nights on CNBC (Ch 51 on Suddenlink).  Let us know how you like it.  Coming up on August 12 is their latest,  Make Me a Millionaire Inventor  which has to be the worst title ever but let’s hope for the best. 

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We Finally Check Out The Oaxaca Grill

Those of you who are familiar with this fine Henderson Center establishment- and I guess that’s most of you- can skip reading the rest of this. I am ashamed-ASHAMED- that I never ate there until Monday.  I have been missing out, clearly.

The Oaxaca ( 508 Henderson, near F Street, 445-9702) doesn’t have a website. It’s a family-run cafe with surprisingly sophisticated Mexican food.  The personable server is the paterfamilias.  The menu looks spendy until you figure in that most of the choices include soup or salad. I tried the Cream of Jalapeno and it was really different, smooth and richly flavorful.  I had the fish tacos and the fish appeared to be filet of sole.  The small pieces were tucked into thin corn tortillas that were a little too delicate to hold a taco together, especially with the mound of mango salsa that was piled on.  I used a knife and fork. It was great. 

My friend ordered a chimichanga and pronounced it good, although there was some debate over whether the chimi should have come with lettuce, guac etc on top as it does at Rita’s.  At the Oaxaca, it won’t, so take that into your considerations. Although we came into this situation knowing that the Oaxaca is renowned for its mole,  we left without trying it.

Shucks, I guess we’ll have to go back!

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Humboldt Soup Company Is Hiring!

Here’s the announcement, from their Facebook page.
“Humboldt Soup Company is looking for a part time customer service/counter person.
Want to work in a fast paced environment?
Have a passion for customer service?
Love food and all the goodness that it shares?
Are you able to smile through the pressure?
We want to meet you!
Experience not required but it helps.
Smiley faces move to the front of the line.
No drops ‘ins or phone calls please.
For consideration please submit resume or letter of interest to:
goodfood@humboldtsoupcompany.com
Good Luck!”

HSC has become one of my favorite places and Christine, the owner, is hardworking and sincere in her effort to provide fresh and local produce. If you get hired, you’ll see me frequently. Good luck!

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For Sale In Humboldt

Looking to add to your real estate portfolio? There are some nifty properties on the market. To wit:
The Fortuna Theater, the six-screener, is on the block for $1,250,000.
The Shelter Cove RV Park, Campground and Deli is available for $2,950,000. 

The Old Post Office is on the block for $800.000.  Needs work and retro fitting but you can’t beat the tenant.

The Bayview Motel, the one overlooking Bayshore Mall, is listed at $1,700,000.

Happy Shopping!