After arriving in the late afternoon and settling in at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott on Chincoteague Island for a weeklong August getaway, we were ready for an early dinner. Our plan was to kick back at a nearby eatery that was a favorite of the locals, and had a loose vibe. Fortunately, we didn’t need to travel far; a ten -second walk from our rooms was the front door of Chincoteague’s first and only waterfront hotel restaurant - The Jackspot.
Located right on property, The Jackspot opened in 2014 and has become a popular destination for hotel guests, island residents, local fishermen, and corporate/celebration/wedding event clients. Their solid online ratings validate the restaurant’s popularity:
Outside, ThetJackspot offers a delightful tiki-bar motif, complete with surfboard tables near a thatched roof bar, games of cornhole, circular picnic tables that surround large colored umbrellas, tall palm trees, sand beneath your feet, tropical music in your ears, and the stunning Chincoteague Bay on the periphery.
Indoors was an instant winner for us thanks to its pumping a/c system (it was a REALLY hot day when we pulled in) and wide distance between the tables (we needed lots of room to slouch and stretch out). Our senses shared a collective “aahhh…” thanks to the sunset washing over the dining room through the restaurant’s big windows and the attractive recycled wood pallets and flooring, which provided a rustic design that felt connected to the island. The Jackspot’s lively yet not-too-overpowering din was a soundtrack of happy customers, oyster shells cracking at the raw bar, and sports action from the big screen TVs.
As for its menu (which features local, farm-to-table ingredients in its dishes), the Jackspot delivered smiles and very satisfied taste buds at our table:
Big, right off the boat, and impeccable. These magnificent mollusks (along with ThetJackspot’s clams) are harvested by local fisherman and delivered to the restaurant several times per week.
The fact that they were fresh and delectable wasn’t a surprise. What was surprising - and clever - was the inclusion of fried banana peppers among the squid circles and tentacles. This innovative combo delivered creative textures, nice heat, and eye-pleasing color.
Meaty, tangy, and delightfully messy. We agreed that they were some of the best wings we’ve ever had.
A happenin’ spin on bar pizza, featuring pita thin crust topped with a blend of mozzarella and parmesan. The six slices flew off of the plate really fast, and for good reason: they were très tas-tay.
Served with pico de gallo, cabbage, cilantro cream, and lime, these Chino-Mex soft shell tacos were a filling, healthy, and zesty menu choice that was perfect for summer and right in line with the Jackspot’s hang loose waterfront theme.
FRIED OYSTER BURGER
Culinary mashups don’t get more awesome than this: a handful of local oysters, breaded and fried to perfection, sitting on top of a thick Angus-beef cheeseburger. And yes, it’s as fantastic and fun as you’re imagining. Also rockin’: the fresh cut fries and crunchy cole slaw.
JACKSPOT CHANNEL MARKER
The recipe: “coconut rum, mango rum, pineapple rum, banana rum, orange juice, and pineapple juice”. The taste: light, refreshing, smooth - and very, very dangerous...
Extra stuff about the Jackspot that sets it apart from other eateries on Chincoteague Island include:
Its handmade desserts are locally sourced with fresh Eastern-shore fruits and berries, and are prepared daily by their pastry chef.
Its second floor Narrows Ballroom provides glorious 180-degree views of Chincoteague Bay, and can accommodate 120 people for events/weddings (with customizable menus) and 130 people for business meetings/retreats (with full multimedia capabilities).
It offers its own exclusive ice cream flavor that was created by Island Creamery - which specializes in homemade, small batch ice creams made from locally sourced ingredients.
The Jackspot was the ideal dinner spot - and twilight chillout location - for us hungry and kinda tired travelers. Its quick and attentive service, top notch menu offerings (which offered more options than we had the time and stomach room to explore), and lively energy would also be excellent to experience for lunch, “Happier Hour”, or weekend brunch.