Big changes at Big Jones
Big Jones (5347 N Clark), which opened about 4 years ago and has experienced much success in making a name for itself amongst Andersonville’s many dining spots on Clark Street, will be undergoing a major tranformation over the coming weeks. Despite having a profitable business with long reservation lists and packed dining rooms on the weekends and holidays, Big Jones Executive Chef and co-owner Paul Fehribach cites slow business on the weekdays as one of the motivations to make changes to become more of a ”regular eating and drinking spot for more people.”
According to this recent blog post by Chef Paul announcing the forecoming changes, he felt that Big Jones became known quickly as a special place for people to go on special occasions, which is flattering, but their goal is to become your friendly neighborhood tavern and inn – a more casual space where people will stop by for a drink, casual snack or full meal. In the post, Chef Paul states that it was not uncommon for the restaurant to serve 400 people on a Saturday while only 30 on a weekday. Amongst the changes to accomplish this transition include a complete reformation of the menus, the addition of draft beer, moving away from a formal table dining service and a complete renovation of the bar area. What they do not plan to change is the Southern influence of their cooking, purchasing their food from local, organic sources and maintaining high levels in service.
All in all, the move seems like a smart one – subtle changes that will attract a wider customer base without completely blowing up a successful business model. With other restaurants such as In Fine Spirits going more upscale with their relaunch as Premise, and the recent additions of Ombra and Vincent, I look forward to bellying up to the bar for a brew at Big Jones more frequently as I consider myself more of a “regular eating and drinking” kind of person.