At Hey Jack, dining is fancy not fussy

New downtown Camas restaurant boasts ‘casual experience with upscale menu’

Dessert options at Hey Jack restaurant include hearth baked Valrhona ganache with cr?me fraiche and hazelnuts (pictured) and lemon curd with meringue parfait and cr?me anglais. Hey Jack, located at 401 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas, also has dessert wines. (contributed photo courtesy of Nest & Love Photography)

Kyle Sparks, a waiter at Hey Jack restaurant in downtown Camas, talks with customers. The new business has 12 employees. (contributed photo courtesy of Nest & Love Photography)

A Hey Jack dish featuring salmon, turnips, mushrooms, hazelnuts, celery root and pernod, prepared by Michelin-starred chef Peter Rudolph. (Nest & Love Photography)

People who walk by the new Hey Jack restaurant, located in the Camas Hotel in downtown Camas, might think they have to dress up to dine there.

Not so, said Don Riedthaler, one of the owners of Hey Jack restaurant.

Riedthaler said people see the wine glasses on the table and assume the eatery is just for birthdays and other special occasions.

But, despite its fancy interior and top-notch menu options, Hey Jack is for everyone.

“People wear jeans and tank tops,” he said. “We offer a casual experience with an upscale food and wine menu.”

“Reservations are not needed,” Riedthaler added. “You don’t have to dress up. Shorts and T-shirts are OK.”

Diners who want to dress up for birthdays are certainly welcome to do so, Riedthaler said, but Hey Jack is not a stuffy concept. He wants people to think of going to the restaurant for impromptu date nights or to eat dinner after playing golf.

Riedthaler, a restaurant consultant, said some customers drop by for dessert and a bottle of wine, after they have had dinner elsewhere.

Peter Rudolph, a co-owner of Hey Jack, said since the restaurant opened in May, some clients have returned for a third visit.

Based on feedback from customers, Rudolph said he has increased the portion sizes. The main dishes include Carlton Farms pork loin, salmon roast in fig leaf and Reister Farms lamb, from Washougal. Starters on the menu include roast quail and Oregon bay shrimp salad.

Sunday brunch options include eggs benedict, french toast, dungeness crab and bread pudding, while lemon curd and meringue parfait with cr?me anglais and hearth baked Valrhona ganache with cr?me fraiche and hazelnuts are among the desserts at Hey Jack.

Rudolph, a chef who earned a Michelin star six times for serving unique, creative and delicious cuisine at Madera, in Menlo Park, California, said he is enjoying the opportunity to be creative, prepare good, fun food, serve cocktails and mocktails and be part of the downtown Camas food scene.

Some customers are stopping by for dinner before they see a movie at the Liberty Theatre, located one block away, in downtown Camas.

The Camas Farmer’s Market opened for the season in June, and Rudolph and Riedthaler have purchased zucchini, kale and red dragon cabbage from Quackenbush Farm, of Eagle Creek, Oregon, at the market.

The house made cocktails, including one of their biggest sellers, basket of peaches, are made with locally sourced fruit, often from the Camas Farmer’s Market. The cocktails and mocktails are all natural, with no additives.

Visitors enjoying Camas Days from noon to 9 p.m., Friday, July 27, and Saturday, July 28, can drink complimentary house made root beer on the Hey Jack patio.

Riedthaler, certified by The Court of Master Sommeliers, said the wine list at Hey Jack is ever changing, and they have more than 15 local and international wines available by the glass at various price points.

They will add “Sunday Flight Nights,” starting Aug. 5.

“There will be flights of wine and small bites, with no reservations needed in a casual setting, and the music will be louder,” Riedthaler said.

He and Rudolph became friends while working together for five years. Riedthaler provided restaurant equipment and supplies, and Rudolph was one of his accounts.

Hey Jack, 401 N.E. Fourth Ave., is open for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for Sunday brunch. For more information, call 360-954-5053, email info@heyjackkitchen.com or visit Hey Jack Kitchen on Facebook.