Pleasant Hill, CA

Jack's Restaurant in Pleasant Hill is my new favorite East Bay breakfast place

Thomas Smith

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All through the pandemic, my family has been ordering family meals from Jack’s Restaurant in Pleasant Hill. They make great, large-portioned platters of family-friendly food that you can order via Doordash. Their family meals were a lifesaver when lockdowns were in full swing and it wasn’t possible to cook. 

Despite eating Jacks' food perhaps 50 times through the pandemic, though, I had never actually gone into the restaurant. This week, I finally visited in person for breakfast. Jack’s is great, and the restaurant is my new favorite breakfast place in the East Bay.

Jack’s is located in downtown Pleasant Hill. The restaurant is massive and is nicely designed inside, with tall ceilings, big comfortable booths, a dramatic bar area, and an open kitchen. The decor is upscale yet inviting, with wood paneling and big photos on the wall of people dancing, celebrating, or playing instruments. The place feels modern and upscale, but not at all stuffy or unfriendly. It’s like an updated take on a large neighborhood American restaurant.

The food follows the same patterns. Jack’s serves classic American food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features such things as burgers, lamb chops, and familiar favorites like spaghetti and meatballs. For breakfast, Jack’s has a variety of offerings from chocolate chip pancakes to chicken and waffles to a wide selection of omelets. The menu also features healthy options like the Totally Jacked, an oatmeal dish made with almond butter, blueberries, and bananas.

Jack’s food isn’t trying to be innovative, unlike many places in the Bay Area. Instead, the restaurant focuses on taking simple American classics and serving them well. Many of Jack’s dishes taste home-cooked, which is impressive for a restaurant that appears to have seating for over 100 people. The service is speedy, too, the portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. A “short stack" of pancakes is more than enough for one person, yet still costs under $8.

There’s a playfulness to Jack’s menu and decor, too. One item on the menu is priced at $4,990 and is called the Memory Recovery. The item is aimed at people who had a bit too much to drink the night before. Jack’s says that if you buy the Memory Recovery, its staff will “contact your friends on social media and have them piece together what you did the night before”, before staging “a dramatic reenactment of the events you can’t remember.” Guests have the option to add a shot of Jameson whiskey to the experience for an additional $9. It’s presumably a joke, but one has to wonder what Jack’s would do if a guest actually purchased it.

In addition to indoor dining and take-out, Jack’s also has a large covered patio area, allowing for outdoor seating even as the weather gets chilly. The restaurant is open from 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM, providing plenty of opportunities to dine throughout the day. If you’re looking for delicious, home-style food, fast service, and a pleasant ambiance in Pleasant Hill, be sure to check Jack’s out.

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Thomas Smith is an award winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips: tom@gadoimages.com

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