Start your weekend off right by going to Just Jake’s.
Just Jake’s, located at 30 Park Street in Montclair, is a popular restaurant and bar that offers American pub grub, as well as a diverse selection of weekly food specials and a hopping bar scene with live music on the weekends. What started out as a family-owned business back in June of 1997 has grown tremendously with their weekly events, fundraisers, fresh foods and more.
Manager and family member Patty Sweeney has put everything into maintaining Just Jake’s family-friendly reputation, coordinating fundraisers, booking bands and events, all while keeping it a fun and safe environment.
“I feel that we are a little more family-friendly than we were when we first opened. We’ve always had bands, which is what we are well-known for, but now we’ve branched out to having the School of Rock kids bands as well as bands for all different age groups,” said Sweeney. “On Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m., we have the late bands, which are usually cover rock and the top 40s. On Saturdays we also have an early show that is more for people in their 40s through 60s and it’s usually original music or music from our past, which brings in a large crowd.”
Along with live entertainment, Just Jake’s has much more to offer. “We do everything from fundraisers to business networking events, team mixers, themed nights, private parties, birthday parties, weddings and showers. We have our back dining room which hosts most of our private events, but can also be used as a quieter dining area for people who are looking for more of a low-key night,” said Sweeney.
During the spring and summer, Just Jake’s also has their patio, which brings in a large crowd of sports teams – Zog in particular. They also have baseball and fantasy football teams that come in, and they do a lot of specials for them.
During the week, Just Jake’s always has something going on. They have trivia night every Tuesday, which is hosted by Jeremy Ryan whom has his own trivia company. On Thursdays, they have beer pong tournaments, and they also have a new company called Paint Mix NJ, which will be coming in on all different nights of the week.
School of Rock is one of Just Jake’s biggest events that they do on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. “The kids love it because they get to perform on stage, and the parents can come and sit back and relax, eat and have a few drinks. That day is a very family friendly day, and we have been doing it for a little over five years,” said Sweeney.
As for their food, Just Jake’s has been lucky enough to have an extremely talented chef named Alex Abd, who has been with them for the past 18 years. Abd, who is from Alexandria in Egypt, comes from a long background of cooking all around the world. From Egypt to France and Germany, Abd has done countless demos and tastings, promoting products that come from Egypt. He’s been to some of the biggest food expos in Europe, as well as New York.
“I want the food here to be bar food, but I don’t want it to be like any other bar. Even the burgers have to be more than just good bar burgers, fresh, not made way ahead of time or frozen. [For] the nachos, we make the chips ourselves, so everything has to have a notch up against everybody else so we stand out,” said Abd. “My specials come from 30 years of cooking. I cooked with a lot of people; I’ve trained in the city, I eat a lot, I experience a lot of new things. Whenever I have a chance to try something new, I try it. Wherever I go, I try to eat at a local place. That plus my background has helped me to have a diverse brain more than pallet. I drew my inspiration from all of that, plus my wife who is my biggest critic.”
To find out more about Just Jake’s, you can visit their website at justjakes.com, and make sure to keep an eye out for their upcoming pop-up restaurant nights, where they will have a specific menu with different types of food to choose from for that night only.