Pros:Clam Chowder, Prime Rib, Atmosphere, Service
The Bottom Line: In Colorado Springs and hungry for comfort food? Check out The Mason Jar.
To say that I haven’t visited Colorado Springs’ The Mason Jar restaurant in awhile is a bit of an understatement. The last time I frequented this fine establishment was sometime back in the 1980’s, so I was long overdue for a return trip. Luckily, we remedied that drought this afternoon with a trip for lunch.
Located at 2925 W. Colorado Ave. in Colorado Springs, The Mason Jar has been serving up American Comfort Food (their term) since 1982. Considering the lifespan of most restaurants over that time, it’s obvious they are doing something right (they claim to have served over a million Chicken Fried Steaks during that timeframe.)
As befitting a place that serves comfort food, the interior of the place is a comforting, down-home, rustic décor and atmosphere. Drinks are served in mason jars (in fact, about the only change since I last visited was that my beer was served in an actual mug instead of a jar,) as are cups of soup.
Upon entering, our hostess automatically seated us at a table, without asking if we preferred a booth (even though all booths were open at that moment, which was about the only minus about our visit.) Our waitress was quick with our drink order—I opted for an Avalanche Amber Ale ($3.95,) brewed in Breckenridge, Colorado and very tasty. My girlfriend ordered a Bloody Mary, which was a bit too tomato juicy and not spicy enough for my tastes (sorry, I don’t remember the price, probably in the five-dollar range.) The Mason Jar has full bar service, including several different wine options, so you won’t lack for alcohol as you await your meal.
The waitress was also quick with the complimentary bread basket: two homemade Buttermilk biscuits that, while on the tiny side, were delicious with butter, and two pieces of sweet, moist Cornbread, and they’ll keep bringing a new basket as long as you keep asking. And while their side selection is plentiful—everything from the usual soup or salad to baked potato (after 4pm) to cinnamon apples to sliced fresh tomatoes to even onion rings. I opted for a dinner salad—nice and cold and crisp—and a cup of soup of the day (New England clam chowder, which tasted very clammy instead of the usual milky stuff with a couple chunks of clam.)
We chose to forgo the numerous burger options available (burgers run from $6.89 to $7.99) for more dinner-style fare (at least, I did.) My girlfriend ordered an odd combination of House Salad and a bowl of clam chowder with a side of mash potatoes and gravy. While she found the gravy average, she did enjoy it overall due to her liking of the mashed potatoes. I, on the other hand, was very tempted by the Rib Eye Steak (available in 10oz and 12oz, $10.99 and $13.99 respectively,) but opted instead for the special of the day: Prime Rib and Shrimp for $14.99. Since they have Prime Rib on the menu anyway (depending on what size of cut you want, it can run you anywhere from $13.99 to $18.59. I figured that I could basically get Shrimp with it for about the same price, so I went with it.) The Prime Rib (medium rare) was tender, melt-in-your-mouth good, especially with horseradish.
Then it was dessert time. And while the Buttermilk Crusted Fruit Cobbler (blackberry, or cobbler of the day) was calling my name, I decided that I just had to try The Mason Jar Delight: coffee ice cream on a chocolate cookie crumb crust topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream for $3.99 (served in a mason jar, naturally.) It was as good as it sounds and the perfect ending to a fulfilling meal.
Final total: $49 change. So basically, for fifty-bucks, we left stuffed and buzzed (although, even though I ordered three beers, I did do some drinking before I got there.) I was honestly expecting the bill to be around $60-$70.00, so I was pleasantly surprised.
If you plan on visiting the Colorado Springs area, you should visit the West Side, which is where all the cool stuff is. If you’re hungry, especially if you’re in the mood for comfort food, by all means, head over to The Mason Jar. You’ll be glad you did.
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