What Do Great American Flavors, A Hometown Management Team, And A Circular Design Theme Have In Common?
GA!: Jack, let’s start with you- where you’re from, where you went to school, that sort of thing…
Jack: I moved to Gastonia in 1993 from Ohio and graduated from Ashbrook in 1996. After bouncing around from college to college, I finally landed at The Art Institute of Charlotte where I studied in France as part of my training and received my degree in culinary arts in 2003.
GA!: You’ve been in the restaurant biz for a while..
Jack: I started cooking when I was 15 at Billie Jean’s Grasshopper Farm, and since then have held every position in various restaurants. I love the creative side that being a chef allows me to explore.
GA!: Tell us about The Round- what was the idea or initial concept?
Jack: there are plenty of specialty restaurants; Mexican, Italian, Chinese, etc. We felt there was a need for a local restaurant that celebrates American cuisine.
GA!: You bring something different to the local dining experience…
Jack: The Round Bistro offers monthly regional inspired dishes from around the United States with a focus on freshness and originality. We are currently featuring dishes from the Pacific Northwest, with a cedar planked roasted salmon over Monterrey Jack cheese girts, and a pan seared apple strawberry halibut filet, and other tasty treats.
GA!: Tell us about the wine dinners…
Jack: Our wine dinners take place every third Thursday of every month. We choose a different wine region from around the world with Glenn Stryker, our sommelier with Mutual Distributors. This gives me the opportunity to work with ingredients indigenous to that region, and work hand in hand with Glenn to pair each dish with each wine.
GA!: What’s on the horizon for The Round-what’s coming up or in the plans?
Jack: We have all sorts of ideas bouncing around, a lot of which involve charity events with Cancer Services of Gaston County. This charity holds dear to our hearts, and it’s nice to give back to our community any way we can.
GA!: The Round has turned out to be a family affair, hasn’t it?
Jack: It really has. My father and business partner, Jack, retired this year from American and Efird after 34 years in the industrial sewing thread industry, and now has time to watch over the business affairs. We have also hired my sister, Ellie, as our general manager. Ellie has years of experience in the restaurant business as well, most of which was in fine dining restaurants in Uptown. The real boss though is Lydia, my 16-month old daughter, who walks the floor and keeps the employees in check.
GA!: Tell us a little about your philosophy of cooking, your favorite tastes, flavors, etc.?
Jack: I use only the freshest ingredients and the perfect amount of spice in each dish I create. I look at cooking as “building” flavors.
GA!: What would folks be surprised to learn about The Round?
Jack: Our great prices-I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that because we have such a varied and creative menu, that our prices are higher than chain restaurants, when actually we are very competitively priced. Also, the wide range of flavors and variety from behind the bar. Our very talented mixologist Lamar and his bar staff , are always introducing new recipes to our ever expanding specialty cocktail menu. We also feature awesome daily drink specials, including $10 bottles of house wine on Mondays and $5 martinis on Thursdays.
GA!: What was the funniest or most unexpected thing that has happened since you opened The Round?
Jack: It actually happened during construction. The first day of demolition, the rental lift arrived, and I was excited about being part of the demolition crew. I immediately got on and started to drive, and ripped a pipe out of the wall, flooding the entire building!
GA!: You’ve been on the local restaurant scene for a while- how does it feel to have your own place, and have it be so successful?
Jack: I have. Since I’ve returned from Greensboro and graduated from culinary school, I have had my hands in a number of restaurants in town. I really enjoy my creative freedom where the only restrictions I have come from myself. That keeps me driven.
GA!: What do you do when you are not being Chef Jack?
Jack: that’s the easiest question in the world! I am Lydia’s father. She is my life and driving force. I just want her to have everything she needs and wants!
The Round Bistro
2609 S New Hope Rd • Suite 9 • Gastonia, NC 28056
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:00am – Until, Friday – Saturday 11:00am – Until,