John J Jeffries sources 90% of all of its ingredients from within a 2o mile radius of the restaurant. Most of the seafood is line or wild-caught and the beef is 100% grass-fed. The chicken is pasture-raised organically and supplemented with non-GMO feed. Most of the produce is organically grown and just about everything is scratch-made including the ice cream made with milk from local grass-fed organically raised cows. Even the simple syrup and fresh-squeezed juices are used in the house cocktails and mocktails.
Comfort food made with clean, real ingredients is what you’ll experience at John J Jeffries. Several hot and cold small plates such as Smoked Trout Caesar Salad and Fried Green Tomato are frequent appetizer offerings. The menu changes often based on fresh ingredient availability, a sampling of entrees offered on the night of my visit was Burke’s Garden Lamb Chops, Stuffed Pepper, Grass-fed dry-aged Meatballs, and Grass-fed dry-aged Steak. House-made craft cocktails, wine, lager on tap, and scratch desserts round out the menu.
What I Ordered
I ordered the texas Wild Shrimp & non-GMO local grits, followed by the 100% grass-fed local Short Rib, and a Margarita Cocktail. The Margarita was especially enjoyable because it wasn’t laden with sugar, allowing the fresh squeezed lime flavor to shine. The Shrimp were good-sized and quite tender while the grits were creamy and rich creating a perfect bed for the lively sauteed veggies and diced ham. The star of the show was the Slow Roasted and Smoked Short Rib with a slightly charred exterior. The meat fell off the bone with one poke of my fork, which was quickly swiped through the thick and tasty au jus. For the grand finale, I had to try the house-made organic ice creams, choosing Mint Chocolate Chip, Lemon Blueberry, and Vanilla Bean. The Mint Chocolate Chip earned my vote as best flavor with pops of fresh mint and big chunks of chocolate, yes please!
John J Jeffries is located in the lovely Lancaster Arts Hotel with lots of brick, low ceilings, and a contemporary feel. The building served as a tobacco warehouse in the early 1900’s. The outdoor patio is stunning, partially covered with hanging canopies, and peacefully quiet. A large U-shaped bar is waiting for your arrival in a separate room next to the dining area. The main dining room’s decor was on the simple side with tables throughout. I did visit during Covid and therefore the dining room set-up was not its usual with distance requirements etc.
Clean, uber local and mostly organic, John J Jeffries exemplifies what a true farm to table restaurant ought to be; fresh ingredients straight from the farm to the kitchen. From earth to plate, the savory comfort food is prepped and cooked in the cleanest ways possible while creating wholesome real food goodness. I highly recommend the outdoor patio when weather permits, it’s an exceptional space.