Man About Town

It all started on a blistering cold night after the Tyler Christmas Parade downtown.   The “Man” briskly walked to the newly remodeled Art deco Peoples Petroleum Building for his first experience at the bar of Jack Ryan’s Steak and Chop House.  Upon entering the small lobby, one is instantly struck by the impressive twenty-two step staircase of green and red brown marble, that leads up to the restaurant located in the former People’s Bank on the second floor.  A nondescript narrow stair, just to the right, accesses the mezzanine bar and lounge (there are elevators), which has an out of the world feel. The bar, like the rest of the building, is a decidedly 1930’s art deco cloister overlooking the dining room below.  I was sold at first sight.  The dark wood bar, excellent service, beverage selections and festiveness of the people in the room made this  hoppin place a-do-againer.

After several happy hours and fine dining experiences, a Man About Town seemed in order.  After meeting the Ebey brothers, Brad and Wes, and hearing their story, a party was a must!  Listen, both of these men from Longview are certified executive chefs, and graduates of the Culinary School at LeCordon Bleu in Minnesota.  They have worked in various fine dining restaurants and prestigious hotels, including the Adolphus Hotel, The Four Seasons and Cru Wine Bar, for 12 years before opening Jack Ryan’s.  The restaurant is named after Brad’s son, Jack Ryan, who is 4 years old.

The fundamental key to the success of Jack Ryan’s is that it puts into practice the pillars of a great restaurant:  Excellent in service, food and ambience wrapped in consistency.  The Ebey brothers and general manager, Steve Riney, ride herd on every detail.  It starts at the front curb where free valet service is provided every evening at five.  The wait staff are constantly trained and are not mere order takers.  They know the menu, the preparations and are attentive to every detail.  Your table is their family to treat like royalty.  The kitchen is in the former teller locations and it is glassed in for casual viewing.  There are ten chefs plus executive chefs Brad and Wes.  Every item is hand-crafted and made fresh daily.  You can taste the freshness and quality in every bite.  The ambience is awe-inspiring with its imposing gold gilded pillars, green and red-brown marble walls, period style terrazzo floors and four enormous chandeliers hanging from the towering second floor ceiling.  All of this adds up to a first class dining experience, priced at a value, and will become more of an everyday delight than a mere destination spot.  

But there is more.  Private dining is available in three separate areas that will seat up to 16, 32 or 50 respectively.  Of course, Chef Wes says you may reserve the entire restaurant if you wish.  Coming soon is high-end catering for events or a personal chef in your home.  The hours of operation are Tuesday - Friday for lunch, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00p.m.; Tuesday - Thursday for dinner, 5:00p.m. - 9:00p.m., and Friday and Saturday 5:00p.m. - 10:00p.m.; Tuesday - Friday for happy hour. 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m, and Saturday 5:00p.m. - 9:00p.m. (beverage only 2:00p.m. - 5:00p.m., with $4 wine and well drinks and $3 all beers).  Call for reservations at 903.630.7651.  

Now, let the festivities begin!  Our party of eight were fine dined in the former bank board room, which has a splendid view of downtown Tyler at night.  Our guests were our dear friends of HGR General Contractors.  Randy Reynolds and his crews creatively solved some serious engineering, drainage and retaining wall problems at our home recently.  They are the best! We are HGR’s debtors.  So, it was treat time to return the favor.

We were pampered all evening by chefs Brad and Wes, general manager Steve Riney and our fantastic waiter “Big John,” who explained every detail of each item.  He was a star!  First off, Brad and Wes greeted us at the table.  They shared the big picture of the fine dining experience they had planned for us:  an array of seven different and unusually delightful appetizers (the crab cakes are over the top good,) four specialty desserts to share (plenty for all) and we had a choice of entrée from the menu.  We tried a little bit of everything.  Some of the favorites were the 8 oz. beef tenderloin and the certified prime ribeye, both served with a cabernet demi sauce, and the pan seared sea bass with butternut squash risotto.  The beef is prepared by the Sous Vide Method used by the greatest chefs of the world, which retains fat and natural juices in the meat to ensure a perfectly spectacular flavor every time.

“Big John” kept the wine, beer and gastronomical delights coming all night till we were all filled to the brim.  You are gonna want to come to Jack Ryan’s for drinks in the bar, then enjoy a slow paced culinary experience in the fine dining room.

As for our pleasantly indulged group, it was time to loosen our belts, retrieve our vehicles at valet and head home with grateful hearts and appreciation for our gracious hosts for the evening.

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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