Jack Tabibian, owner of Jack’s Seafood Shack, is excited to bring his restaurant to Montclair and be a part of the community.
In a town that values authenticity, Jack’s Seafood Shack is a welcome addition to the many restaurants in Montclair. First created in Edgewater 3 years ago, the oceanic food vendors have now opened a store on Montclair’s busy Bloomfield Avenue. I went to Jack’s to meet with co-owner and manager of the Montclair branch, Koko Markarian.
“At Jack’s we value authenticity in our food over everything else. We have our lobsters in-restaurant for all the guests to see. Many other business owners have told me ‘you could fit more chairs in this space!’, but I don’t care. It’s important for us to show that we are committed to genuine seafood.”
Jack’s Seafood Shack exemplifies a commitment to this sentiment. Lobsters and other seafood are delivered fresh, twice a week. The decor is unique and promotes a love of the sea and the food it brings. Ropes are used in lights, and fishnets and wooden crates can be found throughout. The location in Montclair is spacious, more so than the original Edgewater location, says Markarian.
The menu is diverse, but centers around bringing the flavors of Maine to Montclair. Jack Tabibian, the owner of Jack’s, grew up catching lobsters with his family and eating all that he caught. It is these memories and love for seafood that drives Jack’s Seafood Shack to be authentic and homey. Markarian explained that there are certain recipes and flavors that are distinctive to Maine. For example, they serve their lobster rolls with mayo, instead of the buttery versions you may find popular in Connecticut or Massachusetts. The restaurant also provides seasonal pies for desserts, courtesy of the critically acclaimed Little Pie Company, located in Manhattan.
Jack’s has a beachy, seaside feel to it, and in that sense it is a casual restaurant. Markarian explained that above all, he and Jack consider customer service to be of utmost importance. “We want customers to feel comfortable here. I always think about how I would want to be treated at a restaurant.” As he was explaining this side to their business, a waitress interrupted him to let him know a customer had a question. Markarian swiftly got up and went to help the customer, who he greeted with a handshake and promptly served.
What may set Jack’s apart from its competitors is its willingness to become part of the community. Markarian says he quickly understood that Montclair was a tight-knit community, and thus realized that they would have to integrate in order to become a fixture. The restaurant involved itself in beloved Montclair events such as the Montclair Film Festival.