Jack's Burger Shack to open location downtown

· The Pulse
By Sharon Yeo
in the Food Roundup
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St. Albert eatery Jack's Burger Shack has announced plans to open its second location, in downtown Edmonton at Jasper Avenue and 104 Street.

Owner Tu Le credits the forthcoming move into downtown to "pure luck." When a real estate broker made him aware that the former Oodle Noodle location was available, Le's low-ball offer was, to his surprise, accepted by the landlord.

"With the cost being that low, if we can do a little bit of take-out and (offer indoor dining) with the vaccine passport and more space, then we can make a go of it," Le told Taproot. "It's still a risk with the pandemic and restrictions, but we know more now than we did, so I feel more confident opening a place now."

Le hopes the new shop will be open in 4-6 weeks, and promises that the menu and prices will mirror the original restaurant. The plan is to be open five days a week.

"It will be a place where you can get a good quality meal that is quick and affordable, and a friendly place where you can have a chat with one of the staff," said Le. "I can't really do that in St. Albert (right now), but with a little more space we can get back to that and get to know everybody (in the neighbourhood). I miss that in St. Albert."

Jack's Burger Shack is coming to downtown Edmonton

Jack's Burger Shack will occupy the former Oodle Noodle space on Jasper Avenue at 104 Street. (Mack Male/Flickr)

The expansion is a slight shift from Jack's pre-pandemic plans. Back in February 2020, Jack's was primed to become the anchor commercial tenant in Rohit's Stadium Yards project, but then COVID-19 shut everything down.

"I wanted to put it on hold," said Le. "I had to put all our energy in the (existing) restaurant to get the take-out program airtight, so I didn't have time to open a new restaurant. I think they got tired of waiting and asking."

Jack's, like all other hospitality businesses, had to adapt when in-person dining was halted in March 2020.

"When we created Jack's, I never thought people would take our food to go," said Le. "(Customers are) watching us cook, and we're chatting with people sitting at the bar. But everything that made us a quaint neighbourhood place changed. If you look at our numbers in 2019, 35% of our business was take-out. We had to bump it to 100%."

Le says they were fortunate that the community has to support Jack's in spite of the changes, including still not offering dine-in services at their original location.

"People embraced our take-out program," said Le. "Burgers and fries are geared towards take-out, and we're lucky that we're in St. Albert and have a strong following."