Is brunch your jam? Don't snooze on this.
New breakfast and lunch spot Neighborhood JA.M. is already a hit at Shops at Warren Place.
The Okie Benny
Just before 8 in the morning on the Friday after Neighborhood JA.M. opened, the place was packed.
The largest table in the restaurant was full of nurses and hospital staff, likely just off their overnight shift at Saint Francis, across the street. They were having more fun than anyone else, maybe because some of them had ordered the signature Brunch Punch.
The front of the restaurant does feel in some ways as much like a bar as a place for brunch. Many people were ordering Bloody Marys and coffee cocktails with their breakfast.
But if the party was in the front, it was more like business in the back, or at least slightly more subdued. Moms and toddlers were eating pancakes, and others were sipping coffee and reading the newspaper.
Neighborhood JA.M. is the latest project by the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, which many know as the group behind Charleston’s, Mahogany and Red Rock Canyon Grill, among others. This is the third Neighborhood JA.M. location; the others are in Oklahoma City and Norman.
The restaurant’s hours are 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., so the expansive menu is heavy on breakfast and brunch with a few more traditional lunch items, like cheeseburgers, chicken pot pie and a Reuben.
We started with an order of Monkey Bread ($9.50), which is under the menu heading “for the table.” The large portion of bread was plenty to share among four people. The homemade biscuit dough was sweet and cinnamony with a sprinkle of caramelized nuts. Other featured items “for the table,” were candied bacon, biscuits and jam and cascarones — a fried bread with coconut and honey.
One of the most popular menu items is the avocado toast ($10.25), which is beautifully presented on whole wheat toast with sliced avocado, roasted Campari tomatoes, eggs and an arugula salad with Champagne vinaigrette.
You’ll find six options for eggs Benedict. Beyond the traditional, there’s the Okie Benny ($11), a riff on biscuits and gravy, and the El Jefe ($12), a spicy layered dish of corn tortillas with green chile pulled pork, poached eggs and green chile hollandaise. We really liked the Crab Cake Benny ($22) with big chunks of crab meat served with tomatoes and asparagus.
Also popular is the Hot Jam Biscuit ($9.75), which is jalapeño peach jam, a fried chicken breast, bacon, egg and cheese sandwiched between a biscuit. The flavors of sweet and savory, smoky and creamy make it arguably the best thing on the menu.
Neigborhood JA.M. has a whole section of pancakes and sweet breads that we’ll be returning for next time. At the top of the list are the Pineapple Bourbon Cakes ($9), which are buttermilk pancakes with caramelized pineapple, pineapple bourbon sauce and a caramel drizzle. The Lemon Poppy Cakes ($9) also look delicious, topped with house-made lemon curd, lemon cream swirl and a poppy seed glaze.
The only thing that didn’t get praise from our table were the cheddar grits ($3.50), which had a strong chicken broth flavor and were lacking in cheesiness.
For omelet lovers, choose your favorite fillings or pick from a great-looking selection, including arugula, wild mushrooms, prosciutto, pico de gallo and many others.
Kids will love the smoothies, which are made with fresh fruit and greens, if you want to pack in the vitamins.
Michael Kraft, creator and proprietor of Neighborhood JA.M., says he hopes the restaurant becomes the first place Tulsans want to bring their out-of-town friends and family. The idea for the restaurant, he says, was to create a real neighborhood feel, a place where people might think, “That’s my jam.” That, and the focus on homemade biscuits and jam, is how the restaurant was named.
Kraft says the location was chosen because it’s in the same center as Mahogany and Pub W, two of the Hal Smith Group’s most successful restaurants.
“There really wasn’t a great breakfast place over here,” Kraft says. “This is a place where you can go for a basic breakfast. But you don’t have to get eggs or biscuits and gravy. If you want a healthy lunch, we have that, too.”
Even if you opt for something healthier, don’t miss out on the big buttermilk biscuits, which are made from scratch. In fact, Kraft says, they have a kitchen staffer who rolls out biscuits from open till close because they sell so many.
4830 E. 61st St., Suite 300 | 918-508-7744
6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Monday-Sunday