Willie Degel has ventured south of New York and brought his successful restaurant empire to Duluth. Uncle Jack’s Meat House is now serving up its classic steak house feel with an upbeat twist.
By LaTria Garnigan // Photography by LaTria Garnigan and Uncle Jack’s Meat House
Upon first glance, it seems like your average restaurant on the outside. But once you step through those doors, you certainly feel like you’re in a different region.
The wait staff is dressed in monochromatic grey, with vests and red converse sneakers — a spunky and uniform touch. The bar is dynamic, with luminous light fixtures throughout and an expansive collection of art adorning the walls.
But what’s most important is the food, which had me conversing with many a seat mate on the selections.
I was invited to try out the restaurant and for some reason brought two friends with me — one who is a vegetarian and one who doesn’t eat beef or pork. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? You couldn’t be more wrong! Our waiter, was quick on his feet and thanks to a great menu and an understanding chef, made all three of us happy and full. We have all been talking about the food and even my vegetarian friend exclaimed, “I love steak houses!”
I started off with the in-house hickory smoked bacon appetizer, which came highly recommended by our waiter. And though I wondered, why on earth bacon would be an appetizer, all of that disappeared when it appeared on the table and I took the first bite. It was served with in-house made peanut butter. Another conundrum. When I tell you, it changed my life. Honestly, truly, it did. I don’t know why I’ve never heard or thought of pairing the two together before, but I’ll never eat bacon the same way again. Just know that sweet and savory WORKS!
The table enjoyed the gruyere cheese popover, which was perfectly crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and just the right hint of cheese flavor. My vegetarian friend started off with the warm roasted root vegetables that has a tasty medley of purple potatoes, butternut squash, Brussel sprouts, pearl onions and a sherry shallot vinaigrette. It was delicious!
While it wasn’t necessarily listed on the menu, Chef Mitch fixed my non- beef or pork eating friend the salmon with Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes. Thanks chef! She wasn’t a salmon fan before, but truly enjoyed it. Again — to be a steak house, they truly have something for everyone. We all had a taste of the 5 cheese mac & cheese. Now this can be tricky because all three of us are somewhat mac & cheese connoisseurs, however Chef Mitch got it right with this perfect blend of gouda, parm, cheddar, jack and gruyere cheeses. It was the essential blend of cheesiness and creaminess with a crunchy top.
Now for what I came for, the steak. I left this up to my waiter who raved about the 35-day dry aged prime rib chop. It’s a whopping 24 ounces. And made the perfect leftover dinner the next day. Served at a perfect medium, and it was juicy, tender and perfectly well-seasoned and even got me a few inquiries from our neighbors — who I also recommended the bacon to.
Duluth is quite a drive from Cobb, but if you have some free time on a weekend I dare you to venture up north and try it out. The atmosphere is great, staff professional and friendly and the food is definitely something to write home about.
One more incentive for you to visit is their New Year’s Eve special. On Dec. 31, they will have a live DJ and for $250 a person, you get all you can eat and drink from 9 p.m. to midnight with a fireworks display. Shuttle service will be available from the Sugarloaf Country Club (included) from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Uncle Jack’s Meat House | 6590 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth | 770-497-2400 | www.unclejacksmeathouse.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram