We love Colorado, that goes without saying but, upon moving here nearly six years ago, we felt a tightness surmount in our chest acknowledging that for the first time in our entire lives, we would no longer be coastal. From the Gulf of Mexico to the English Channel, to the Atlantic and the Pacific, we have always been near the water and we definitely need our chicken of the sea. So when we first came across the familiar shuck game at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar in Denver, we were able to breath a sigh of relief, knowing that quality seafood is still within reach while our mountains stand strong in the distance. So you can imagine our heightened anticipation when the focused concept chose to make its way further South, opening another location (totaling five in Colorado and one in Kansas City) in downtown Colorado Springs, earlier this year.
Eager to know more about who is at the helm of this successful brand, and to learn the intentionality behind their sourcing methods, we chat up Sheila Lucero, executive chef at Jax, and an impressive 22-year veteran of the pescatarian-focused restaurant.
“I started at Jax LoDo in downtown Denver, when it first opened and worked my way up as we started to grow as a restaurant group,” says Lucero.
Jax Fish House, a component of Big Red F Restaurant Group, is a company that Lucero suggests, “likes to say we’re throwing a party every night. We have the opportunity to engage with our guests at every level—a quick happy hour snack from work, a special occasion, a first date, celebrations—we try to give everything all along the spectrum.”
We feel that Jax delivers on that promise with a killer happy hour, Sunday through Thursday from 3:30 until 5 p.m. that includes crazy good deals on food (hello $10 shrimp po’ boys/$6 gumbo fries) and equally fantastic prices on wine, beer and cocktails. $7 bubbles anyone?
Jax is equally as desirable for a date night with a seasonal rotation of entrees plus, a clutch raw bar selection. Immediately as you enter the building, its central presence catches our eye and Lucero confirms that “oysters are a huge part of who we are,” with several varieties from both coasts.
Additionally, she references other “outstanding” menu items like their giant crab cake and calamari, for which we can attest, the hype is real, and wholly accurate.
When it boils down to where and how the fish arrives, Lucero, who admirably labels herself as “advocate for our oceans,” says “sustainability is huge,” and “that really helps us separate ourselves from other seafood restaurants and with our menu development.”
With access to prime seafood from all over the U.S. via Northeast Seafood, based in Denver, JAX provides specialty events on the regular. In honor of the upcoming not-so-laborious holiday, JAX hosts a Labor Day Lobster Pop-Up with a varied list of Maineiac prepped and packaged dishes to take away.
- Main Lobster Boil for Two ($90): Two 1 ¼ lb. Maine Lobsters with the Jax spice mixture for the broth, lemon, drawn butter, cocktail sauce, plus red-skin potatoes, andouille sausage, sweet Colorado corn, fresh baguette and whipped butter.
- Maine Lobster Roll Kit for Two ($40): Two split-top buns with butter for toasting, lobster meat, Jax light aioli-based dressing and housemade salt & pepper potato chips.
- Lobster Mac n’ Cheese for Two ($44): Spiral Cavatappi pasta tossed with chunks of Maine Lobster, creamy-cheesy sauce, bacon and pickled mustard seeds. Topped with peppered bread crumbs.
- Lobster Tail Surf n’ Turf for Two ($120): Two eight-ounce filet mignon steaks with peppercorn crust and two Maine lobster tails; herb-butter roasted potatoes and two wedge salads with bacon, blue cheese, ranch and cherry tomatoes.
Plus, find large-format jugs of their housemade cocktails: Strawberry Lemonade, Cucumber Lemon Press and Fish House Punch as well as special three-packs of 90+ rated wines as value bundles.
Pre-orders must be in by midnight on Wednesday, September 2, for pickup on Saturday, September 5, from noon until 2 p.m.
Jax proves to be stellar at a variety of things and successfully puts our minds at ease when considering, “where do I get good seafood?” in a land-locked state. But maybe more impressive is how they seamlessly have been able to integrate into the Colorado Springs market, operating as a good neighbor to pre-existing local businesses and filling a quite noticeable void locally for contemporary pesce-focused dining.
“We are big advocates for our community,” cofirms Lucero. “We are really mindful of how restaurants can also be leaders.”
*Images courtesy of Explore with Media