Fat Jack's, Lakeland

Before we'd even moved to Lakeland, Ed and I found a Chinese restaurant we liked in the most unlikely of places, a repurposed fast food restaurant. It didn't look like much, but boy, it was good stuff. However, it was adjacent to a strip mall with a Little Caesar's and a couple of other restaurants that we paid no mind to at all.

Then I started my job and had several people tell me they liked Fat Jack's, one of the businesses located there. I was told it was 'diner food' and since I grew up in a mecca of diners, Fat Jack's was on my list of places to try.  Yesterday, I had a nail appointment nearby and was helping out at Game Teen's school, which brought me past Fat Jack's at lunchtime, so I finally ventured in for a meal.

Okay, first a distinction. Fat Jack's is not like a diner, rather, it is more like a luncheonette. The difference? Diners are open 24 hours and have expansive menus. Luncheonettes lean towards shorter menus that focus on breakfast and lunch basics, have a large selection of sandwiches on the menu and have more limited hours. Got that? Okay, then you'll understand what I say in making the statement that Fat Jack's is a respectable luncheonette.

The decor is a row of booths along one wall, with tables and chairs squeezed into two dining areas in the front and the back. Both are small and you'll have to suck it in if you go back to the bathroom. Cozy is the word-if you don't like dining in surroundings like these, you might not enjoy.

The menu was full of the usual suspects, and I was tempted by the hot open roast beef with mushroom gravy, but opted for a club sandwich instead.  I don't know why, but good ones are few and far between around here.    I prefer these on rye toast, but I didn't think to ask.
The sandwich had a good ratio of lettuce, tomato, bacon and meat, a little light on the mayo and came with a pickle.  Good flavor, sliced deli turkey, so if you're expecting fresh roasted, you're going to be disappointed.  I've been away from NY for long enough that I don't expect it anymore.

A note here: everything you'd expect on your plate, like fries, are side orders.  To me, fries are good, but I rarely eat more than 8 or 10 of them, so I asked for home fries with onions, and got a nice side order plate.

These delivered on what I was looking for.  Crispy and tender potato chunks with sauteed onions, slightly buttery in flavor.  They're a great deal-under 2 bucks for something that reminds me of LI.

Now, the service, that was excellent.  There were four waitresses working, but at one point or another, each one checked in with me.  The only quibble I had is that they had no lemons for their sweet tea.

All in all, this was a very good, basic meal.  If you're visiting this type of place expecting a 4 star meal, well, you're just missing the point of a luncheonette.  They feed you good food at a good price-and for that, Fat Jack's delivers on both.

Fat Jacks Deli & Pub on Urbanspoon


Sounds yummy!

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