Craig Goldstein and Chris English are animal lovers. Goldstein’s wife, Jackie Rose, is executive director of the Addison County Humane Society. It’s no surprise, then, that the duo’s new Middlebury restaurant, overlooking Otter Creek in the space formerly occupied by Tully & Marie’s, has a dog theme. The Cornwall residents and neighbors went so far as to name Jackson’s on the River for Goldstein’s English springer spaniel. “We’re going for an upscale and whimsical, dog-themed vibe,” says English.
There’s a pinch of whimsy on the menu, too. English describes the fare at Jackson’s as “today’s comfort food.” That means home-style American fare with global flair. “Meat lover’s” baked macaroni mixes chorizo and bacon into pasta slathered with four cheeses. Asian tuna salad features sesame-crusted ahi on a bed of bok choy, Napa cabbage, carrots and scallions.
Jackson’s is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and for Sunday brunch. An a.m. “create-a-frittata” option allows diners to choose up to three add-ins or “the kitchen sink” — eggs crammed with as many of 11 meats, veggies and cheeses as they want. Can’t decide between sweet and savory? Try a cheese crêpe soufflé topped with strawberry sauce.
Goldstein, formerly City Market’s prepared-foods manager, serves as Jackson’s chef while English manages front-of-house duties. English says one major consideration in their menu planning was providing choices for vegetarians. “Options in Middlebury are few and far between,” he notes. With that in mind, the friends designed a menu with ample meat- and gluten-free options. Much of the food is local, too: Jackson’s is already a member of the Vermont Fresh Network.
Even an avowed meat eater might be enticed by the black-bean-and-sweet-potato burrito, topped with tropical fruit chutney and mole rojo. Other options include vegetable fajitas, pad Thai with tofu and a duo of poblano peppers — one filled with a savory stuffing, the other with goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Now, that’s something worth begging for.