Mark Eggen wants to serve the frostiest mugs of beer in Bonney Lake. With a mug froster and high-tech beer taps installed at his new restaurant Hop Jack's, he just might. His beer is served at a chilly 27 degrees. My teeth hurt thinking about it.
A beer-sicle might have slid down parched pipes a little more easily two weeks ago during the heat blast, but even on an overcast Monday, Eggen had a better than expected turnout when he opened Hop Jack's yesterday. And the brew was cold, as promised, he said.
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Eggen comes with a long resume in franchising and concept restaurants – he was an executive in franchising for Red Robin, and also worked at Restaurants Unlimited. Hop Jack's is what Eggen describes as a modern interpretation of Red Robin. If Red Robin were to open today, Eggen said, it would look like this: twelve beers on tap, a decent bottle selection, an accessible wine list and food that is economical and comfortable for a wide range of palates. "If mom wants brie and roasted garlic on flatbread and dad wants to have wings - we got 'em both," said Eggen.
Eggen just opened the restaurant yesterday with business partner Greg Troger, so we'll wait a week or two to let the crew settle in before doing an anonymous and unannounced drop-in dining report, but here are crib notes Eggen shared today:
MENU: Comfortable food at economical prices. The menu is burger and sandwich focused, with eight versions of a burger in the $9-$10 range and eight sandwiches in the $6.50-$11.50 range (most around $10). Entrees include pastas, steaks and seafood in the $7.95-$13.95 range. Read the menu here.
BEERS ON TAP: Four lagers, seven ales and a porter. For lagers: Bud, Bud Light, Coors and Pabst (served in a kitschy paper bag). For ales: Alaskan Amber, Widmer Broken Halo IPA, Mack and Jack Amber, among others. The porter is Black Butte from Deschutes.
FROSTY BREW: It's a complicated process how Hop Jack's delivers frosty beer that I think I need to spend some time investigating (on TNT's dime, of course), but it's a fascinating sounding system that Eggen said ensures cold, cold beers. Of course, not every beer swiller likes ice-cold beer. A porter, I think, tastes better closer to room temperature than frosty, but for some, icy is just the right degree of drinkable.
HAPPY HOUR: Served daily 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to close (midnight most dates), the focus is on the eats, although brews are discounted 50 cents. The menu is tiered into plates for $3 (fish tacos, fries, quesadilla), $4 (mozzarella sticks, onion rings, nachos) and $5 (flash fried scallops, buffalo wings, salt and pepper prawns).
OPEN: Hop Jack's opened Monday (yesterday), but locals may have noticed activity at the restaurant Friday-Sunday. Friday and Saturday, Eggen and crew hosted pre-opening dinners that raised $4,000 for the Bonney Lake High School booster club. Sunday, the restaurant had an opening night party for contractors, friends and family.
Address: 21290 Highway 410
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week (they may begin serve breakfast soon)
Web: http://hopjacks.net/ (not affiliated with hopjacks.com, a restaurant in Florida)