Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester Twp. is set to reopen today, Nov. 1, with an updated menu and remodeled decor.
We talked with Michelle Brown, head chef and majority owner of the award-winning Butler County restaurant, for a sneak peek at the changes.
1. The first four days help the community
Celebrations planned to mark the completion of renovations of Jag’s Steak & Seafood are set to benefit area non-profit organizations KylerStrong Foundation (Wednesday); Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty Angel Fund (Thursday); Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty (Friday); Lakota West High School music program (Saturday).
“We do a lot of giving back ourselves and each year we partner with a lot of different organizations but giving back was … thanking the community,” Brown said. “We just thought we want to showcase what we’ve done we want to be able to give back to the people that have taken care of us.”
2. New dishes account for a fraction of the reimagined menu
The new menu isn’t a redo, but rather a refresh, adding 15 new items accounting for between 10 percent and 15 percent of items available. New entrees and small plate items include a 20K Bone-In Veal Chop, Black Truffle Linguini with Caramelized Scallops, Handmade Ricotta Bruschetta and Scallops & Hash.
There’s also a new dry-aged beef program, with the restaurant carrying three dry-aged products, plus three new sushi rolls and farm-raised, sustainable Ora King salmon.
“It’s challenging when we do a menu change-out because we all debate on who’s going to be upset if we have to remove something,” said Brown, who has worked as chef at the restaurant since it opened in early 2003. “Obviously, we’d never remove anything that is our true staple.”
3. Lightening up the decor aims to entertain all the senses
The renovation project replaces the dark red and brown tones of the traditional steakhouse concept a lighter color palette of blues, grays, charcoals, silvers and even some touches of gold.
Also replaced are wall coverings, lighting fixtures, art, linens and more.
“It was a little dark in terms of decor,” Brown said. “It was a little bit hard to see (and) … it was just time. It was time for the public, it was time for our staff, it was time for me.
“It’s been a bittersweet experience, too. There’s a lot of memories, but at the same time it feels clean, it’s lighter … it’s refreshing.
4. Planning started two years ago
Brown said she started talking about the renovations when she became majority owner of Jag’s in 2015.
“It’s just taken some time to put the design together,” she said. “I’m getting more and more excited about it each day.”
Those revamps started a great deal in the restaurant’s two to three daily features and feedback from the service staff.
“Nothing goes out of that kitchen and, excuse my French, it doesn’t go out unless it’s bada—,” Brown said. “It has to fall under that … category to even be served. We never create something for the day. Nothing can be rushed. Everything has to be thought out.”
4. Revamping the menu wasn’t a one-woman show
Brown said refreshing the restaurant’s well-established menu was an experience that involved the restaurant’s six core chefs, including herself.
”It has to be collaborative, it can’t just be me,” she said. “They have to have their stamp on it. We work together as a team and everyone tries everyone’s dishes and we tweak and we talk about and we look at presentation and everyone has an input in it.
“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I’m pretty fortunate that I’ve surrounded myself with some great people.”