Even the hardcore habitues of downtown, even those who regularly patrol J and K streets, are always surprised when they spot J’s Café, a modest eatery with spectacular hamburgers just a couple of doorways east of Rodney’s Cigars. This is no new arrival: J’s has been serving burgers, fries, Mexican tortas and a turkey-bacon club sandwich for seven years. But J’s is an easy place to miss, and when you finally do find it, the food seems that much better.
The fare is robust, the service fast. It’s crowded at lunch and the seating is limited, but they take phone-in orders and Cesar Chavez Park is nearby. So can grab some take-out and eat in the park – a perfect lunchtime during most of the year. During the summer, by the way, Wednesdays are farmers’ market days in the park, so you can shop for veggies after you eat your burger. Perfect.
J’s serves breakfast until 11 a.m., including a conventional array of egg dishes – ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, sausage and eggs – and assorted omelettes, including the mushrrom, bacon and jack cheese special. All are priced mbetween $6 and $7, and all come with hash browns and toast. J’s also has pancakes and waffles, $4.45, and French toast for $5.45.
But it’s the lunch menu that captures the most attention. The centerpiece is what modestly described as “J’s Fabulous Burger,” and for once, a menu description is accurate. The burger is a 1/3-pound of ground sirloin, topped with veggies and dripping with Thousand Island dressing. Put your calorie counter away when you eat here. The burgers run about $4.95 each, although these are the fancy ones, such as the Western BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, the Dijon bacon Cheeseburger, the Spanish Burger and the Pattymelt on Rye Burger. A basic hamburger is $3.45 and a no-frills cheeseburger is $3.95. By the way, you’ll notice that they don’t serve double cheeseburgers – who could eat them.
They’ ve got 20 lunch specials ranging from $5.45 to $7.25, which all include fries and a soda. The fries are “steak cut,” which means they are big and hot. Again, put your calorie counter way. The specials include their hamburgers and their sandwiches, such as the Tortas Mexican Sandwich, the California BLT with Avocado and the Charbroiled Chicken Breast. They’ve also got Fish and Chips ($5.95), onion rings ($2.75 for the big serving) and a selection of soft drinks and teas.
By Capitol Weekly Staff
1004 J Street (near corner of 10th Street)
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 3p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday