In a beach town like Oak Island, North Carolina, local residents learn to expect higher priced restaurant food, especially during the summer months when tourism is most profitable. Shagger Jacks offers competitive prices, interesting menus selections, and very tight seating arrangements.
First Impressions of Shagger Jacks Oak Island, NC
Walking into Shagger Jacks, visitors are immediately greeted by bar and wait staff. The décor mirrors just about every other beach front restaurant with local art spicing things up here and there. It is not the décor that strikes a new customer when first walking through the Shagger Jacks doors, it is the close knit quarters. On the day we visited the restaurant, we arrived at 5:30 P.M. just before the major rush. We were lucky to be seated at the only larger table available for patrons inside the main building. Additional seating, by means of picnic tables, for larger groups is also available outside on a covered patio.
Wait Staff and Menu at Shagger Jacks Oak Island, NC
Once seated, we were quickly asked for out drink order by a man standing behind the bar. With no apron, and clearly lacking the waiter / waitress expertise, we allowed him to write down each of our selections with patience. Our drinks were immediately poured and served, but the crowd was clearly starting to roll in.
The menu is compiled of ribs, chicken, various barbecued meats, fish, and shrimp to name a few. There are also six appetizers to choose from in addition to the day’s appetizer special. On the day we visited Shagger Jacks in Oak Island, NC we chose the Double Dipper Fries and East Beach Salsa. These appetizers were priced $3.55 and $3.75 respectively. Having a large family, we tend to order tortilla chip appetizers to save a bit of money when eating out. Typically, chips and salsa offer the most food for the appetizer money, but not in the case of Shagger Jacks. There were exactly 10 tortilla chips on the plate. The East Beach Salsa tasted more like spaghetti sauce than salsa. The Double Dipper Fries were served in a large paper lined funnel to make it appear as though there was a larger serving, but our children quickly drained the funnel in three small handfuls.
Moving on to Dinner at Shagger Jacks Oak Island, NC
Somewhere between appetizers and main menu selection, the bartender was replaced with a waitress. There was an uncomfortable wait between when the appetizers were delivered and when our dinner order was placed. A sign on the wall warns customers that all meals are cooked when ordered, so please be patient. We certainly should have read the sign a bit sooner.
Our family ordered five selections from the Shagger Jacks menu that night. Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos, Southwest Beef Soft Tacos, Grilled Cheese, Hamburger, and Two 4th of July Special Barbecue Plates.
The children’s grilled cheese and hamburger meals were a hit. Kid’s meals are served in a Frisbee with the Shagger Jacks logo. The Grilled Shrimp Soft Tacos was served to our least discerning child who has never left a meal uneaten unless plagued by some sort of illness. After eating the shrimp from the soft taco, she was left with a mushy mixture of cabbage, corn, and sour cream. The plate was left full.
The Southwest Beef Tacos were ordered by the pickiest eater in the family and though messy and falling apart, the ingredients were palatable when eaten with a fork. The rice and black beans were bland, but edible.
The 4th of July Barbecue Meal included ribs, pulled pork, chicken, apple slaw, and a bun. The three meats were coated with three different BBQ sauces, which were not explained before we ordered. We would have liked a choice in BBQ sauces. The apple slaw did not match well with pulled pork. The pulled pork was dry and no extra BBQ sauce was offered to mix with the pork.
Paying the Bill and Leaving Shagger Jacks in Oak Island, NC Behind
Throughout our dinner, patrons continued to stream through the doors, but tables were filled with customers waiting for their food. The restaurant has a maximum capacity of 53 people inside and only three or four picnic tables outside. People were waiting by the door for a seat while we were waiting for our check. We waited – they waited – we waited – they waited. It took more than 15 minutes and six people slurping on empty glasses for the waitress to come over and offer dessert. After we denied, it took another 2 to 3 minutes to receive our check. The total for our less than enjoyable time at Shagger Jacks – more than $100.00.
Feisty atmosphere late at night.
Meats are grilled not deep fried.
Micro-brewed beers on tap.
Waitress took beer glass to refill while half full then charged for a new beer.
Long wait for food.
Lack of good food descriptions.
Pulled pork dry and tasteless.
Small appetizer portions.
Two televisions hanging on the walls and music playing simultaneously.
Restaurant success is often about location and demand. Shagger Jacks has a chance to make it big in the restaurant business, but in order to do that they need to make some serious changes. Instead of offering many menu items delivered with mediocrity, why not specialize in just a few and make those memorable. Offer free refills on tortilla chips even if you have to switch to a bagged supply. Offer BBQ sauce to patrons ordering BBQ. Never take a beer from the table when a patron is ordering another, especially if it is half full. Serve classic BBQ, like pulled pork, with the choice of classic cole slaw. And lastly, figure out how to expand seating to meet tourist demands.