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Historical Downtown Redding
Photo Credit: Tyler Whitlow
Credit: Artist Pia Gregan
The old adage that looks can be deceiving is never truer in the case of Jack's Grill.
The retro atmosphere is one of its draws, but people come to Jack's for one very good reason: its choice steaks.
The history of Jack's Grill is a colorful one. Built in 1935 by Bill Morrison, the two-story structure on California Street originally housed a second-hand store,
In 1938 Morrison leased the downstairs to Jack Young, a World War II, Redding was a boomtown filled with thousands of men who had come to work on the railroads, the construction of Shasta Dam or in the mines.
In the best Old West tradition, it was also a raucous, wide-open town, and California Street was an infamous strip of bars, hotels, restaurants and several houses of prostitution (including the upstairs of Jack's Grill for a brief time in the early 1940s).
Of the numerous bars that sprung up during that era, Jack's is the only one to survive. (Currently, 81 years and counting.)
Jack's Grill has held fast to the traditions that made it successful.
Believing that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," they have resisted the temptation to modernize the restaurant.
The building still sports the facade and decor of its early days, including two original bar owner.
Given in appreciation for the owner's help, one of the paintings depicts an old-time sheriff sitting in a chair.
One night, an inebriated customer, fresh from an overnight stint in hail, was so infuriated by the sight of the badge-wearing lawman in the painting that he pulled out a pistol and shot the painting five times.
All five bullets hit within four inches of the badge and left holes in the wall behind the painting that were not discovered until 40 years later.
The tradition most important to the popularity of Jack's Grill has always been its steaks.
When the grill opened, most of its patrons were miners and construction workers who wanted a substantial meal after a strenuous 16-hour workday.
Jack Young served them one-pound steaks.
More than 80 years later, the house specialty and its biggest draw is the famous 16 oz. New York Strip, Filet Mignon or choice Top Sirloin, which are also offered in a more modest 10 oz. cut.
Jack's steaks are exclusively USDA Choice, cut fresh at the restaurant each day.
The menu also features other options of Seafood and Chicken dishes.
All dinners include garlic bread, baked potato or French Fries and tossed green salad with Jack's Homemade Dressings.
For a restaurant to stay in business, and in the same location, for more than 80 years, it has to exhibit some very special qualities.
Aside from its legendary steaks and excellent service, the key to the longevity of Jack's Grill is that it has remained largely unchanged since it opened.
It's unchanged because the customers want it that way.
"Jack's is Jack's. Why would you change it?"