By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – “When you want a good meal that's quick and fresh, stop in and I guarantee you'sl be hooked,” promised Loucas Comitas, owner of Jake's Restaurant & Coffee Shop in Marlborough.
It's an easy promise to keep when the kitchen is dishing up homemade corned beef hash, burgers from beef ground on site, soups, chowders and chili made from scratch, and salad dressings and sauces from recipes Comitas has perfected.
This cozy, friendly coffee shop on the corner of Route 20 and Main Street in the center of town is a popular spot with locals for breakfast and lunch. Jake's is not open for dinner.
“I have two little boys at home that I want to see,” Comitas said.
He bought the restaurant nine years ago and has greatly expanded the menu. The restaurant itself has been open about 60 years, and the interior still reflects its 1950s origin, with knotty pine paneling and a long counter with stools. The kitchen is right behind the counter and you can watch the staff work.
Comitas credited that staff with Jake's success.
“I give a lot of the credit to my past, present and future staff, the people who work not for me but with me. They'se stuck it out through the bad and good economies.”
Jake's chef has worked with Comitas for 20 years, first at a similar restaurant in Worcester and now here. Customers can be sure of some expert cooking when the chef is Italian and the owner is Greek.
At breakfast, which is served until closing, homemade corned beef hash is a house specialty.
“I got the recipe from an old man who had been the chef at Putnam & Thurston's in Worcester,” Comitas said. The only other place that serves this hash is a West Boylston restaurant, also named Jake's, owned by his father-in-law.
One of the most popular breakfast choices is the Jake's Benedict, an English muffin topped with that hash, poached eggs and the restaurant's own cheddar cheese sauce, all for only $6.95.
Other breakfast options include omelets. Twenty different versions are listed on the menu and you can choose from six cheeses for the cheese versions. If you don's see what you want, tell the staff and they will make it for you. Most omelets are $4.95 to $6.95 and include your choice of bread and potatoes.
Eggs are cooked to order with your choice of meats, including marinated steak tips, either teriyaki or bourbon flavored. And there are breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles (including a strawberry cheesecake version) and French toast as well.
At lunchtime, folks looking for an early dinner will find pot roast, meatloaf, grilled chicken, turkey and daily specials, served with mashed potatoes, a vegetable and roll, all under $8. Each day there's also a different featured dinner.
There are homemade soups, salads, burgers, and hot and cold sandwiches. If you want to add french fries or onion rings, those are freshly hand-cut in the kitchen, not frozen.
“We make our own Caesar salad dressing. People ask for the recipe, but I do not give that out,” Comitas said with a laugh.
“Our prices are probably the lowest around,” he said.
For example, a basic hamburger is $3.50, while a bacon cheeseburger or a mushroom and Swiss-topped burger is $4.25. Or have a ham and cheese sandwich for $3.20 or grilled chicken for $4.25.
All the pies and other desserts? Homemade, of course.
“Fresh and homemade is what sets us apart. I have suppliers who try to sell me soup. I tell them I make my own soup,” Comitas said. “You should try our Italian wedding soup.”
Jake's is popular with the local policemen and fire fighters, and serves both the juries and the lockup at the nearby courthouse. The restaurant also delivers to local businesses, and most of the menu is available for takeout.
Jake's is located at 30 Main St., on the corner of Main and Route 20, in Marlborough. It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is closed Monday. For information or takeout orders, call 508-480-0414.