One of the first places I dined at after when I came down to Wilton Manors nine years ago looking to relocate was the original Mason Jar Café (on the land where the now-shuttered TooJay’s on Federal now stands).
I’ve since been to the new Mason Jar Café a few times and enjoyed it, even if I found it slightly over-priced.
So I was interested in the new Mason Jar Pub, located just east of the Peter Pan diner in a space that has housed more than a few other restaurants in the past few years.
One of the pleasant surprises was that, while many dishes are on the menus of both places, the prices at the Pub are much more reasonable. It’s often just a difference of a couple of bucks (the grilled salmon salad is $12 at the Pub, $14 at the Café), but enough to make a difference. Service is much more casual at the Pub. We had lunch on the large patio (currently hosting only four tables) and felt perfectly comfortable about the space between tables. While the ambiance is minimal, inside and out (taller bushes separating the patio from busy Oakland Park Blvd. might help), the service is friendly and eager to please.
Since my doctor has been after me to eat healthier (I keep using my job as a restaurant reviewer to excuse my rotund figure, telling him it’s an occupational hazard), I opted for the grilled salmon salad. A bed of fresh baby spinach dressed in a light vinaigrette supported a sizable filet of perfectly grilled fish. Grape tomatoes, red onions cucumbers, and beets completed the hearty lunch. Our friends Ed and Ward also enjoyed their salads; chicken Cobb and tuna-jalapeno, although Ward said his dish was a little bland (he did pick off the jalapenos). Other salad options include a chicken Waldorf, Buffalo shrimp salad with blue cheese dressing, and a Caesar with a choice of grilled chicken or steak.
My husband raved about the Pub’s quinoa-black bean burger (not shown on the online menu but featured on the day of our visit). Sandwiches come with a choice of sides, all of which sound yummy (corn spoon bread, onion rings, brussels sprouts roasted with pistachios, and sweet potato or regular fries).
Entrée options come with a choice of two sides and include many favorites from the Café menu, including country fried chicken, pork chops, and grilled salmon or Mahi. Entrees run $13-$15, just a couple bucks more than most sandwiches and salads. If my doc wouldn’t have freaked out, I would have been having the country fried chicken doused in gravy.
Let’s hope that Mason Jar Pub can break the curse that seems to doom places that occupy this building. One thing that might help is a drive-up window, left by previous tenants. I can easily see grabbing one of the Mason Jar Pub’s hearty meals and taking it home for dinner.
Note: Not long after this review was written, a car crashed into the Mason Jar Pub’s patio after hours. If you plan on dining outside, call the restaurant first.
Mai-Kai Update: We reported on the sale of Mai-Kai after learning of it in an article in the Sun Sentinel. Recently Mai-Kai’s owner released the following statement, “The family is and always will be dedicated to the Mai-Kai and its legacy. The news stories you have likely read have been unkind, unfair and misleading. It is accurate that we engaged the services of a business broker to assist in finding a partner, or worst-case scenario a buyer, to work with our family to ensure the long-term success of the Mai-Kai and its legacy. It is not accurate to say that ‘everything is on the table.’”
Mason Jar Pub
1388 E Oakland Park, Oakland Park
If you find yourself in downtown West Palm Beach looking for a place to have an enjoyable meal, check out the newly opened Elisabetta’s (there’s a location in Delray as well). We stopped in and had a most enjoyable meal. It’s a sister restaurant to Louis Bossi’s and much of the menu is the same, from the delicious cheese and meat boards to the hand-cut chops and steaks.
The Insalata stagione (grilled vegetable salad) featured green beans the night of our visit. Perfectly grilled lamb chops and spicy Gemelli puttanesca offered such hearty servings that we each took more than half our entrees home. Which left us plenty of room for gelato and cookies for dessert.
Oh, and that wine list!
Hundreds of options are available by the bottle with an equally impressive array of those by the glass! Outdoor seating is plentiful and offers beautiful views. Service is attentive and willing to please (ask for Cory!).