It was pouring rain one afternoon in downtown St. Augustine, so my friends and I dipped into a little hallway full of restaurants looking for a mid afternoon snack. The first restaurant we came across was Fiesta Jack’s, and we are always up for tacos so we figured we would give them a try. The restaurant is tiny with only a few tables and was completely empty when we arrived. The two employees working greeted us nicely and then waited while we looked at the menu. While they were friendly, it would have been nice to have been asked “is this your first time here?” so we could receive a little guidance on the menu. After a few seconds though we figured out that this was basically a local version of a Chipotle – you choose either two tacos, a quesadilla, a burrito, or a burrito bowl, then your “insides” (proteins) and then you customize your toppings and sauces.
Address: 100 Saint George St
Phone: (904) 826-3535
I opted for a pulled pork quesadilla ($8.99) with cheese, tomato, lettuce, banana peppers, and black olives. The employee made it quickly and really loaded it up with ingredients. I had no complaints on the quantity of food I got for the price, the quesadilla was huge and the toppings plentiful. Looking back on the menu after we ate, I realized I wasn’t offered any sauces to go inside the quesadilla which is kind of unfortunate. The employee at the register offered me the option to add an “extra” which is the choice of queso, guacamole, or pico de gallo and a drink for $1.99 more. That’s a pretty good deal and it was a hearty helping of it. I opted for queso which was sitting behind the counter warming in a crock pot. My friend who tried to order next did not have as easy of an experience. Two of the speciality items at Fiesta Jack’s are the southwest tacos and the shrimp and rice tacos. My friend wanted to mix and match the tacos, which the employee said was not an option, even though the price of two tacos regardless of what you choose is the same flat $8.99 price. This was a little confusing for all of us, but with a stern “no” answer from the employee my friend tried to order just the two shrimp tacos. The employee helping her informed her they were out of shrimp so they couldn’t make those anyway. My friend then tried to order the southwest tacos, which are tacos topped with fritos. The employee informed my friend they were also out of fritos. At this point she was so frustrated with the lack of apology and the unempathetic delivery that she sat down and didn’t order. This should have been a customer service trigger point where some sort of apology was made but it was not. The rest of our group ordered 2 chicken tacos with nearly all the toppings and a side of queso, and another quesadilla with pulled pork as well and guacamole as the side.
We sat down while our quesadillas and tacos were being made and then as they were ready we went up to the counter to pick up our food. The side items came with red, blue, and white corn tortilla chips. I’m guessing they filled the queso cup prior to my quesadilla being done because by the time I sat down and began to eat my queso was already getting thick and wasn’t really hot. I’d go with lukewarm. The flavor of the queso is spot on what I like – creamy white cheese with a little spice to it. Even with it not hot it was delicious and the two cups of queso at the table were gone quickly. I dug into my quesadilla next. The sheer size of this thing is impressive. I’d say it’s about double the size of a normal quesadilla. With it being so heavily packed full of toppings I wound up only finishing half and taking the other half home to eat the next day. The quesadilla was slightly crispy, but it did fall apart a bit because of the weight of the toppings. I’d rather have the extra ingredients put into the quesadilla though so this wasn’t a problem. I imagine if it was slightly more grilled the tortilla would have held up better. The lettuce was crisp and green and the tomatoes were extremely juicy. Likely all the rest of the toppings were jarred or canned but put enough cheese in a quesadilla and everything tastes delicious. I’d choose this quesadilla over chain restaurant quesadillas every day. The pulled pork was extremely juicy and tender and wasn’t gummy, which is a normal indication of it sitting around awhile. My friend’s quesadilla was equally as good and fresh, however he got the guacamole instead of the queso. The guacamole was the far superior choice. While the queso was good, the guacamole was great. It had a hearty avocado flavor and again a little bit of spice. We scraped the guacamole container clean and really could have finished off several more containers of it. I think it would be amazing inside the quesadilla or on top of the tacos as well.
As far as the tacos go, they came on soft tortillas. We weren’t offered the option for hard shell, so that may not exist as an option. The tacos were not quite as stuffed with ingredients as the quesadillas but they were still fairly full. The chicken was equally as tender as the pork and served as sliced/chunked chicken and not pulled. There wasn’t much seasoning to the chicken but with all the toppings it was fine. For someone who orders a less involved taco (maybe just meat and cheese) this may have been a bit of a flavor disappointment. These were a bit messy since they slopped a massive quantity of sour cream in the middle without really spreading it out. We would have liked if it would have been more drizzled across the taco instead of just dropped in the middle. My friend was just as happy with her tacos as we were with our quesadillas – she would also rate these as much better than chain alternatives.
I imagine that Fiesta Jack’s is ideal for the Flagler students who work and live nearby. This is clearly a trendy fast casual spot with it’s Day of the Dead type decor, outdoor patio, and several beer options. The simple menu set up also makes it pretty perfect for anyone on the go who needs a fresh and quickly prepared lunch or dinner. While we weren’t blown away by the customer service aspect, the food was good and consistent. I do wish the specialty items would have been available for us to try and this may warrant a second visit to get a better gauge on everything they have to offer. Our goal is to eat and support local restaurants over chains as much as possible, and Fiesta Jack’s offers that option to St. Augustine.