We don't often review chain restaurants. However, since JBX Grill (the new marketing spawn of Jack In the Box, Inc.) is being tested in but a few select markets-Boise being one-we made an exception.
JBX Grill is billed as a "fast-casual dining concept," meaning you order at a counter and get your own drink in a paper cup from the fountain, but staffers bring the food out (as other fast food restaurants often do when crowded) and you, dear customer, get to pay triple what you would've paid before Jack added "Grill" to the name.
The woman manning the counter when I visited was extraordinarily pleasant, so Milwaukee's JBX can chalk up a point courtesy of Sheila. The restaurant itself, with boxy elements and vivid color blocks is kinda funky-the fireplace is a nice touch. If you can get a seat in a club chair next to the fire, the seating is a fun novelty. But if the room is crowded, be ready to park yourself on an uncomfortable bar stool at a counter facing a wall. The place wasn't too crowded when I showed up, so I managed to snag a club chair with its too-tiny attached table.
I had a pepperjack avocado burger ($4.95), natural cut fries, a chocolate shake and a coke. (At JBX once before, I had the chicken avocado club [$5.95]. That sandwich had tasty toppings [bacon and avocado] on decent bread [ciabatta], but my dining companion and I thought the quality of the chicken itself was fast-food grade.) Tasted like the grilled chicken at McDonalds-which is OK, but not worth six bucks. The burger I had on this visit suffered from the same shortcoming-good toppings, sub par meat. The fries were fine-though dry-ish and needing salt-and the milkshake was good.
JBX's sandwiches are overpriced and the meat isn't great. Plus, the tab is nearly comparable with an actual sit-down restaurant, where they wait on you and the food is better. You can get a fast food meal (essentially what JBX is offering, despite the bells and whistles) for less than half of what JBX charges. JBX has some cheapie choices-a small, kiddie-sized burger or a bare-bones garden salad, but overall, there aren't many inexpensive options.
Based on the price/quality discrepancy, I don't love the JBX Grill concept. Not that the food is so awful-just that it's so overpriced. If I want fast food, I'll go to a fast food joint; if I want restaurant food, I'll go to a restaurant. Mixing the two just doesn't satisfy.
-Sara Beitia enjoys inhaling a milkshake from time to time.