|Gage Guys: McPeak, Hurst, Wilcox|
Blair Hurst -- the young restaurateur best-known for operating the Baja 600 Mexican Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza and for purchasing (and ultimately closing) the moribund KC Masterpiece Barbecue concept -- hasn't exactly won raves for the food or service at his restaurants. But that may change now that he's opened Jack Gage American Tavern in the South Plaza neighborhood between 48th and 51st Streets where Spin!, Accurso's Italian Restaurant, Andre's Confiserie Suisse, The Peanut and Osteria il Centro have become dining destinations. Hurst's decision to hire two well-respected restaurant personalities -- veteran general manager Joe Wilcox and executive chef Richard McPeak, both Gilbert-Robinson alumni -- was a clever move on his part; Wilcox and McPeak are hands-on operators in the best sense of the word.
Hurst gutted the former Double Dragon Chinese Restaurant -- you know, the place with the empty, algae-filled fish tank.
The restaurant's name comes from a theatrical sideshow backdrop created for a British boxing promoter -- or so the legend goes -- named Jack Gage.
I've seen a couple of online reports that Jack Gage American Tavern is a "boxing-themed" restaurant, which is over-stating the case. There are various framed prints of vintage boxers hanging on the walls, but a "theme" it ain't. When the servers start wearing Title boxing gear as uniforms, I'll feel differently.
Expect a review very soon.