While Spin may be the gateway nightclub in Boystown, Jack's on Halsted serves as the gateway eatery on the strip. This American bistro undoubtedly lassos in local gays representative of the area, along with their out-of-town counterparts. The restaurant also celebrates its diverse roundup of theater junkies, suburbanites and anyone else imaginable in the 12-year clientele build-up.
The name follows its owner, Jack Jones, whose creations include well-thought-of dishes once voted the best by "Chicago Magazine." Selections consist of easy options like quesadillas and salads to filling portions of grilled Nova Scotia salmon and filet mignon. Dive into the tuna duo: sesame seared, miso-soy grilled tuna, chili garlic spinach, stir-fried vegetables, double-baked wasabi potatoes with wasabi caviar ($20.95). Equally extensive includes the pork tasting: Asian barbecue baby-back ribs; grilled pork tenderloin with pineapple-ginger chutney; Memphis pulled pork on foccacia with maple-whipped sweet potatoes and sweet-and-sour cabbage.
Guests enjoy these creations anywhere in this industrially designed space. Jones recommends a street-side seat, but the remaining room suits, too. Steel beams arch over black vinyl booths and tables dressed in white clothes, silver and glassware. Much more open since its renovation, touches involve granite topping over a semi-circular bar (average martini: $5), a flat screen, transparent cylinder lamps dropped from high ceilings and walls of slate, chalk, coal and burnt orange.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez