Update: Today, Monday October 1st 2012 is the grand opening of Jack Allen’s Kitchen Round Rock Texas location. Williamson County residents will go full rabid for a Sloppy Jack-the new Round Rock-only menu item;a mountain of carne molida topped with fried onions,jalapenos and cheese and served in the time honored sandwich format.

Press on.

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Dry run to Round Rock {why does it seem like that sentence has been written a few thousand times before?}

We knew it would be tight making it to Round Rock by 6 pm when we left Austin at 4 pm but we didn’t figure it would take 2 hours and 5 minutes. Such are the vagaries of leaving the warm bosom of Travis county and wandering abroad deep into the heart of Wilco. You really get to study the scenery along the old Missouri Pacific line when you’re moving at a brisk 5 mph. We contented ourselves with marveling at how the rest of the commuters probably do this 5 days a week whereas we had not been subjected to such tortures in several years.

After finally making it to Williamson County we quickly discovered an odd tidbit of Round Rock living we weren’t aware of: there are no street signs. For instance; we knew we needed to turn on Old Settlers Blvd but without benefit of a sign delineating which of the numerous thoroughfares it was, we were left to wander about for a half hour periodically stopping and asking folks.

Lots of head scratching responses from people up that way “I know I’ve heard of it and you’re near it but I’ll be damned if I know exactly where it is”….”Yep, I had a cousin who asked me that same question…must have been about 3-4 years ago…” that guy then just strolled off muttering to himself.

2500 Hoppe Trail, the address of the restaurant that shuttered that Jack Allen’s will be residing in, is just that, a trail. We walked into a pizza delivery restaurant perhaps fifty yards away from this ultra-secret pathway and not one of the delivery drivers had ever heard of it. Whenever we get lost we always hit up pizza delivery guys, cops or cab drivers. They’re normally solid gold in this department so when they’re baffled we know we’re fucked.

At this point it’s becoming clearer and clearer why Blue Oak Grill, the former tenant of this address, shuttered.

And we’re slowly realizing our dreams of a tail gate party with lots of delicious food and beer are not going to be happen.

Here are a few good tricks to finding the new Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Round Rock.

Give yourself a good 3 hours to get there from Austin.

It’s probably about twenty five miles from UT, but this will give you ample time to find the location.

As you drive north on I-35 watch for the Cracker Barrel, when you see it, exit.

Go to the next major intersection, this is Old Settlers but there is no sign, turn left [west].

Go across the freeway, turn right [north] on the first street past the Rudy’s BBQ, go past Double Dave’s and turn right [east] onto the alley-like street, go a little ways and hook a left [north] onto another alley like street. Meander up this little pathway [Hoppe Trail] and you’ll see [we hope] a giant Jack Allen’s Kitchen sign up.

Jack Gilmore has the Midas touch when it comes to making a restaurant shine. He’s on a real short list of local chefs we’d ride to Round Rock for for ANY reason.

The new Jack Allen’s Kitchen is definitely in a challenging location but we don’t doubt that with the right combination of savvy map skills and a good bit of steely jawed determination, the eaters around those parts will find the promised land.

a picture of Jack Gilmore! http://chowpapi.com/wordpress/wordpress-2.8.6/wordpress/round-rock-texas-your-prayers-have-been-answered-jack-allens-kitchen-prepares-to-open-in-williamson-county/

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