J Quick Kitchen Lives Up to Its Name

Posted: August 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: American, J Quick Kitchen, Salem, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

Editor’s Note 2/2/11: J Quick Kitchen has changed it’s name to Black Cow Express, but currently maintains the same menu.

Locals were all abuzz when the old KFC building on the Salem side of Vinnin Square started to undergo renovation this summer. The arches on the exterior had some believing that it was going to become a Taco Bell, but the truth was revealed when signs arrived declaring J Quick Kitchen, sandwiches and seafood. This entry into the fast casual arena was created by the owners of the Black Cow restaurants, and it opened this week.

We visited them twice and both times were impressed at how well they lived up to their name. Quick indeed: on the first visit, our food was served in five minutes, and on the return visit, a much larger order to go was handed over in six minutes. Everything was nicely packed and labeled, complete with sauces and plastic-ware—amazing.

The interior is bright, clean, and pleasant with funky lime green accents and large digital displays for menu boards. The abundant staff was perky and welcoming.

The menu features all the standard sandwich shop usual suspects, including a turkey club, a reuben, and burgers, along with fried seafood offerings. It’s clear, however, that J Quick Kitchen strives to offer quality beyond the local sub shop. They roast and carve their own meats, smoke their own pulled pork, and freshly prepare hand-cut french fries.

Our favorites were the J’s Chicken sandwich ($7.50) which featured a grilled chicken breast, hickory bacon, cheddar cheese, and BBQ mayo on a toasted kaiser roll, and the shrimp plate, which was super fresh, sparingly breaded, and a bargain compared to many local places at $12. We also liked the fries, which were thin and crispy. The coleslaw was a bit too soupy.

Another great taste was the house-smoked pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) with North Carolina BBQ sauce. It was unexpectedly savory and smoky and not swimming in sauce. The pressed rueben ($8) was tasty though a bit soggy, and the crispy haddock plate ($11.50) was respectable. The sandwiches are not huge, but they’re filling, and the seafood portions are generous.

We didn’t try the burger, but saw several people enjoying them. The folks down the street at Five Guys may be nervous about competition from the new kid on the block because they arrived en masse for lunch while we were there. (Before they sat down to eat, the manager greeted them warmly and even gave a few of them a kitchen tour.)

Although there are a couple of standard vegetarian options on the menu, a few more creative healthy choices would go a long way to woo those of us who love the fresh approach and convenience but hate the calories involved with most take out.

In an area already chock-full of chain restaurants and fast food, it looks like J Quick Kitchen is using service and quality to set it apart from the pack. We truly were pleasantly surprised by the experience, and while they may still be gauging their customer base, J Quick Kitchen is a fascinating addition to the square.

J Quick Kitchen
2 Paradise Road, Salem
(974) 744-3287

J Quick Kitchen on Urbanspoon


24 Comments on “J Quick Kitchen Lives Up to Its Name”

  1. #1 Amy said at 12:26 pm on August 20th, 2010:

    I was SO glad to find out that it’s not a Taco Bell! Looks good – will check it out soon.

  2. #2 Dana said at 8:36 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    What an great addition to our area. Had an amazing meal and can’t wait to go back. Try the turkey club, roast beef, scallops and fried clams. All favorites of my family. Yummy!

  3. #3 Frank said at 9:00 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    The pulled pork & roast beef sandwich was great. Also tried the fried clams — Awesome Will be coming back for more!

  4. #4 Michael said at 9:02 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    The service at J Quick Kitchen is fast. The seafood, roast beef, and chicken are second to none. The chowder was awesome…I can’t wait to go back for more. Oh and I can’t forget the hand cut fries.

  5. #5 Olga said at 9:20 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    Tried the scallops and reuben sandwich – both were great! The handcut fries and onion rings are amazing. The Boylan soda fountain is like nothing I’ve seen before – loved the selection, especially the cream soda!!

  6. #6 Leo, Anthony & Dominic said at 10:49 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    The clams were so tasty, the roastbeef, moist and enough for two. The chicken sandwich was a healthy persons dream. My boy’s and I can’t wait to return.

    Leo DeSimone

  7. #7 Barry & Susan said at 6:14 am on August 24th, 2010:

    Great food (I am hooked on the Crispy Haddock Sandwich and Creme Soda). Refreshing decor and very helpful staff.

    Another winner for Joe and Erika!!

  8. #8 Allison said at 6:38 am on August 24th, 2010:

    Our entire family loved the haddock and scallop plates. The fries are terrific and burgers were fab!!!! Try it – you’ll love it!

  9. #9 Marie Fronduto said at 9:57 am on August 24th, 2010:

    Favorite so far, Shrimp plate. OMG and they have old fashion soda. The last time i had cream soda, i was a kid. Good Luck. Going in today for lunch. Yummy

  10. #10 Carl said at 11:58 am on August 24th, 2010:

    I thought the place was a Basking Robins when I first drove by.
    Not impressed with this place. The portion size for the $7.50 pulled pork sandwich was very small and came with no sides. My childs meal was also tiny and over priced. The only bright spots were the fries and soda. They should have put in a drive through; the inside is kind of weird. To sterile- not cozy or inviting at all. With all of the other new restaurants in the area, I doubt we will go back.

  11. #11 Kim said at 7:14 pm on August 24th, 2010:

    J Quick Kitchen is a much needed addition to the area. Everything we have tried has been excellent! Definitely worth checking out.

  12. #12 Rick said at 10:35 pm on August 24th, 2010:

    The soda fountain is worth the trip alone, for sure. The best root beer I’ve had in some time. I tried the roast beef (three way) because any self-respecting north shore sandwich shop should have a good roast beef. J Quick’s was respectable…clearly the components were high quality but I thought the beef was a bit too well done (I like it on the rare side) and kind of dry. The fries were delicious. In all, definitely will go back and try some of the other recommendations.

  13. #13 Denise said at 8:50 am on August 25th, 2010:

    I can’t wait to go back! My kids had the chicken fingers and said there were the best they’ve ever had. Kid plates come with corn on the cob too! I had the veggie burger which was excellent! The fries were great too – old fashioned thinly cut fries – the best! They are doing it right. Oh, and the soda fountain – best cream soda!!!

  14. #14 Mary said at 10:22 am on August 25th, 2010:

    Really great! My boyfriend and I had fried clams and scallops and they were fresh and not heavy on the batter. The onion rings were thin and crispy – delicious. Soda fountain is a great addition, we loved the root beer!

  15. #15 Ed said at 2:34 pm on August 25th, 2010:

    Stopped by and tried the haddock sandwich, it was outstanding. Onion rings were great too. It’s about time we got good quality food in the area.

  16. #16 james said at 3:02 am on August 26th, 2010:

    Not that impressed. Very small portions and I thought the people were rude. The place was dead and I had a question about one of the items. The guy making the food was a jerk about it. Won’t go back. With the tiny portions, high prices and lack of customer service there’s no way this place will last.

  17. #17 Jamie said at 4:55 am on August 26th, 2010:

    Very impressed, good size portions and very friendly staf. They seemed busy yet very attentive, especially the guy making the food. This place is a home run and should be very successful.

  18. #18 Carla said at 2:16 pm on August 26th, 2010:

    Wow! Went there for lunch with my friends today and there was a line out the door. Didn’t take long to get in though. The people were all smiles and the manager was greeting people at the door. I had a roast beef and fries, my friends had a veggie burger and the buffalo chicken wrap. The soda fountain is amazing and we all split an onion ring which was more than we can eat..Sooooo good! We can’t wait to go back. We go to Salem State, so it’s a perfect place for us to get a “quick” bite to eat. Will spread the word although from the looks of it they don’t need my help.

  19. #19 Dan said at 1:56 pm on August 27th, 2010:

    The food is great! I have been been there a couple of times now and both times exceeded my expectations. First visit, I had the portabella mushroom burger – fantastic! Second visit was with a friend and we tried the seafood combo (shrimp and scallops) and the roast beef blue cheese salad. Both were incredible. The seafood is fresh and the salad had warm freshly sliced roast beef. What a great place to have in the neighborhood. Looking forward to going back soon.

  20. #20 Bob Webster said at 4:06 pm on August 27th, 2010:

    What a fantastic change from the usual !!! The service is fast and the food is great. This ain’t fast food, but it is good food fast.

  21. #21 Matt said at 7:54 pm on August 28th, 2010:

    Had the Chicken sandwich. Quick and tasty. I really like the fountain Cola. More places should offer it.

  22. #22 Darren said at 10:25 am on September 4th, 2010:

    I went to J’s last weekend with the family for dinner. Everything was great. I had the pulled pork sandwich. The meat was tender and thankfully it is not served swimming in sauce. My wife loved her chicken sandwich. My daughters both got the roast beef sandwich meals. Normally they eat half of their meals when we go to a restaurant. They would not let us leave until they finished everything. The fries are delicious too. I felt that the value was very good. A great addition to the area.

  23. #23 Name (required) said at 10:36 pm on September 13th, 2010:


  24. #24 Cindy R said at 8:45 am on September 22nd, 2010:

    I have become a regular at j quick because the food is consistently good and quick. Their roast beef is honestly unbelievable. I absolutely love the onion rings and soda fountain. If anyone says anything negative, don’t listen because this place is great!! My daughter begs me to go for a kids meal….It’s a bargain for what you get..

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