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First Look: Buffalo Jacks

Angie Sammons and confederates graze on big food from the Big Country

Written by . Published on June 22nd 2012.

First Look: Buffalo Jacks

LIVERPOOL Confidential was asked to show a Fairly Legendary American Musician a good time a few years ago. 

No, not that sort of good time, but one involving Beatles sights, collectable comic books, and food as good as he was used to consuming, four times a day, deep in the heart of Texas. 

He seemed to like his grub more than life, this FLAM, and “going large”, as it were, had come as easily as playing an open string on his Fender. 

In a parallel world, Elvis died happily in this diner which is sandwiched - make that triple-decker sandwiched - between the bus station and the casino where he'd played his final gig. Set list including (what else?) Arriva Las Vegas

The first two bits of the Liverpool agenda were relatively pain free. There were only two flashes of disappointment on the FLAM's face: Ringo's house (the Admiral Grove one) and the burger he ordered on the Albert Dock. 

We were in Ha-Ha! Bar and Canteen, but nobody was laughing. 

As he grimaced over the very British patty of dried up mince and flaccid fries, over which he had tipped possibly an entire bottle of ketchup, the FLAM's anticipation was wilting fast and for all to see. I found myself cast as the Lee Van Cleef villain and the FLAM's good ol' boy entourage glanced at me with disdain. 

“Oi, don't you look at me like that. He bolted in here before I could stop him,” I didn't say, and instead allowed the nauseous whiff of failure to wash over me, aided by the spectacle of an icky, sticky blood bath of Heinz. 


If it were today, and if I were in a better mood, I'd have steered him to Buffalo Jacks in  Queen Square, Chris “Savina” Hamblin's latest gaff.

Big sounding name, big sounding food.

In a parallel world, Elvis Presley died happily in this diner which is sandwiched - make that triple-decker sandwiched - between the bus station and the casino where he'd played his final gig. Set list featuring (what else?) Arriva Las Vegas.

Buffalo JacksAnd look, there he is, in jumpsuit and rhinestones, painted right across one of Buffalo Jacks' walls. And oh my, here's his statue.

The restaurant – and the experience – was instantly abbreviated: “I'm just having a quick BJ!” our suited and booted lawyer cohort, Adrian Leslie, declared down his mobile phone to more than one startled caller during our foray. 

For extra fun, he could have replaced the word “quick” with “enormous”, for there was nothing modest about the Mini American Sampler (£12.95). It landed on the table – two burgers, two chilli dogs and two corn dogs, salad and dips on a groaning hunk of wood - with a thud. 

(Click here to add text) 

Add to that a bucket of messy but moreish Buffalo chicken wings (£5.95) in a barbecue sauce and really that was enough. But no. On we ploughed with our commitment. 

(Click here to add text)Already, Mr Leslie was imploring the owner to supersize the Elvisness and theme the menu. We had, after all, ordered extra onion rings the diameter of Rock-a-Hula hoops, the hot dogs could easily be the Hound sort and you'll especially enjoy the burgers if you Love Meat Tender.

Sorry, I'll stop now. 

The 16oz T-Bone steak (£16.95) was a ridiculous undertaking for a Wednesday lunchtime. This hefty side of heiffer had 28 days to hang before meeting its fate over charcoal and the result was a medium rare epic. A sizeable pot of hickory smoked beans and another of thick fries would have been enough to finish off this 5ft 3in hack for the rest of the month, had I been crazy enough, well, to finish it off. 

It was joined by a towering Black and Blue Burger (£11.50). Blue cheese, a good house relish, bacon and more onion rings, resided in its soft, unsteady bread walls. My friend could just about pick it up, but for three quid more he could have doubled up. And might well have done, if he'd tried it.

Open wide now, I ordered him. 


A third member of our party, meanwhile, had kept his powder dry on the starter front and waited for the singular pleasure of the main. Two substantial fillets of grilled, marinated seabass (£13.95) on a bed of green beans and spinach which came with a nicely garlicked-up aioli and, at his request, a jacket spud. 

Desserts, maybe next time. As for racks of ribs, loaded potato skins, New York meatball sandwiches, chicken melts... Who knows when, Elvis? 


We were seated outdoors under a canvas canopy that provided respite from the high noonday sun. Buffalo Jacks is no bubblegum 50s soda shack, like Johnny or Eddy Rockets; more Marlboro country. Its fairly macho décor is inspired by Chris Hamblin's dad, a lover of all things Johnny Cash. 

It occupies the space recently vacated by The Tavern Company. Queen Square could certainly do with a burger joint amid its chains of ASKs, La Tascas and the like. That it's as independent as the 4th of July is something to wave the Star Spangled Banner about. 

The quality and quantity is up there, but it's not particularly top dollar. 

Or as my ribald friend might have it: “I'm getting more bang for my buck.”

Angie Sammons on Twitter @twangeee

The detail

Hosted visit, so no score. First impressions for your edification.

Buffalo Jacks,
Unit 4, Queen Square, Liverpool. 
0151 709 1070.

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Captain BeefheartJune 22nd 2012.

"Arriva Las Vegas". Awesome!

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