B. A. Nilsson
Photo by B. A. Nilsson
Main St., South Glens Falls, 761-0015. Serving Mon-Wed 4-9,
Thu noon-9, Fri-Sat noon-10, Sun 2:30-9; Sun brunch 10-2.
AE, D, MC, V.
* * * *
Try to make a visit to Jake’s Round-Up at night. That’s when
the place erupts into a riot of colored lights festooning
the windows and pillars. That’s also when the large stuffed
bear in the front window may scare you at first.
stretch of Main Street in South Glens Falls has a bunch of
fine restaurants as well as the blight of a McDonald’s, but
I can’t imagine opting for a bad burger when you’ve got the
joyous Jake’s menu right across the street.
Southwestern is the theme, reflected in the splendid decor.
Dine by the busy bar; in the room with the moose head on the
wall and the Guernsey-patterned chairs; in the lodge, so-named
because it appears to be a separate structure within the Jake’s
emporium; or in the former barber shop next door, now connected
and looking like a French bistro. If you’ve ever motored cross-country,
you encountered Wall Drug in South Dakota. Jake’s, with its
many interior by-ways and distractions, put me in mind of
The 10-year-old restaurant is named for Jake Lehman, an artist
who co-owns the place with Elliott Heyman. “Jake is an artist,”
manager Dayle Beshara told me, “and she was responsible for
much of the design of the place. Now Elliott is also doing
more of it. It’s always changing.”
Heyman is also chiefly responsible for the eclectic menu,
the cover of which sports the kind of drawing you’d find in
a Zane Grey thriller. Inside, you know you’re on somewhat
different ground because the first item listed is “Elliott’s
Electric Garlic-Roasted Eggplant” ($7 or $9, depending on
size). We pounced on that for a starter and enjoyed a generous
platter (small size!) of crisp eggplant edges, breaded and
fried, delightfully redolent of garlic, with salsa and balsamic
vinegar to complement the dish.
This meant that we passed up the Cubano crab cakes ($9), chili
rellenos ($7), sautéed spinach with garlic and parmesan
cheese ($4) and much more, including the usual suspects (wings,
rings, chips, dips and the ubiquitous jalapeño poppers).
Listed below are salads: Round-Up salad has grilled chicken
and Caesar dressing over baby greens ($8), rancher’s steak
salad gets you a half-pound of grilled sirloin with your greens
($9). And there’s melenzana insalata, with grilled
eggplant, artichoke hearts, calamata olives, blue cheese and
more ($6). You can see how this isn’t exactly hugging the
curves of Southwest Fare Street.
We dined in the lodge, a roofed room with six booths upholstered
in vintage-diner red. Each table has its own lamp—ours was
a lava lamp—and a coffee-table-type book to peruse, most having
something to do with the Southwest.
But back to the menu: Two large pages display the entrées,
ranging from ribs and pot roast through all manner of steaks
and burgers to fish and fajitas and a column of classic Tex-Mex
fare—all priced in the $7 to $15 range. There’s even a separate
page for the buckaroos menu, and my daughter decided she qualified
for that sobriquet and ordered the half-portion of ribs ($7).
Good ribs, too, tender and mouth-puckery thanks to an excellent
Susan and I were drawn to the specials list on the menu’s
backside, beginning with a cup of black bean soup ($2.50)
that tasted as I expected, thick and flavorful, with evidence
of good stock in the brew.
Susan’s entrée, hard to resist, was Creole meatloaf ($12).
Naturally, she worried that it might be too spicy, forgetting,
as usual, that even when a menu proclaims something to be
spicy, it’s likely to be far tamer than her taste buds can
accommodate. In fact, there’s not much heat here—it’s meatloaf,
after all, the ultimate in comfort food—but it does set your
mouth dancing a bit with the Creole cream sauce that tops
the meat. Homemade mashed potatoes were a boon, but what drove
Susan wild was the side of collard greens. My wife gets into
a frenzy over unusual vegetables, and has a recipe for kale
that I find nearly unpalatable. But both of us agreed that
these collard greens, sporting bits of red pepper, were just
The Pancho Villa quesadilla deserves plaudits for its name
alone. As an entrée ($13), it’s a huge portion of pork tenderloin
marinated with smoked jalapeños and served ’twixt crisped
tortillas with dilled Havarti and asparagus! Quite a combo,
not something I’d think of in a Texas century, but it worked
and went well with the rice and refried beans that accompanied
It won’t surprise you that most of the entrée portions traveled
home with us. We finished with cups of tea and shared a slice
of gooey chocolate cake.
Jake’s started as a yogurt shop and expanded over the years.
And it will continue to expand, Beshara told us. Summer dining
is also a treat, we’re told, when the patio is open and you
can dine near its fountain. We’ll be back to try that out,
because they’ve certainly corralled us as customers.
Dinner for three, with tax and tip, dessert and sodas, was