The Jacksboro Highway, once renowned for its rough-and-tumble casinos and their accompanying cardsharps, gangsters, and ne’er-do-wells, is not exactly a corridor of fine dining. The strip offers plenty of Tex-Mex, burger joints, and fast food, but the place you really want to stop at deals in classic American comforts. The Sansom Park Café has these in spades, though it took a few tries to find a dish that really shone.
Open for six weeks, the café is a homey, tidy affair. Outside, it has an odd rustic/Mediterranean split personality, but inside, it’s all cowboy, from a shadow-boxed revolver on the wall to the country music in the background and the wooden furniture that seems to have been around for decades. The liquor license is pending. For now, there’s a long bar with a few beer taps. It’s a work in progress, but Sansom Park Café appears to be headed into the right bar-and-grill direction. Or it will be, if the food improves.
If you like places where the waitresses call you “Hon,” you’re in the right spot. As one might expect in such an atmosphere, you’ll find an assortment of breakfast plates served all day, including waffles and silver dollar pancakes, plus chicken-fried steak, some burgers, and plenty of fried appetizers.
I started with the sampler. It came with enough fried mozzarella sticks, onion rings, stuffed jalapeños, zucchini, marinara sauce, and ranch dressing to feed an Aerostar full of kids. And sample I did. The succulent onion rings and juicy zucchini were my favorites.
Before that, though, came a cup of northern bean soup, part of a lunch special with the open-faced roast beef sandwich. The beans were sweet and tender, and I could have easily gone for seconds — were it not for the sampler plate and my sandwich. An enormous helping of thinly sliced, lightly seasoned, and tasty roast beef on white bread came with a generous scoop of house-made mashed potatoes, the whole shebang smothered in brown gravy. Unfortunately, the gravy dominated.
Besides the gravy-heavy lunches, Sansom Park Café offers typical greasy-spoon house specials, including a 12-oz. rib-eye and an 8-oz. chopped sirloin. In addition to chicken-fried steak and chicken, the “fried” category features catfish and calf liver with onions. But I skipped all that during a dinner visit and went with the pork chops.
Too bad. They were kind of a disappointment, pretty bland and a little tough. The choice of vegetables was limited to fried okra, fried zucchini, and green beans. I got the beans, which seemed a little undercooked, and the accompanying roll was a tad stale. The plate came with a cup of unmemorable chicken noodle soup.
I get that this is pretty simple fare, but I would’ve liked to have tasted at least a hint of a rub or marinade on the chops and maybe a few spices or veggies in the soup.
Sansom Park Café
5532 Jacksboro Hwy, Sansom Park. 817-624-0103. 7am-9pm daily. MasterCard, VISA accepted.
Sampler platter ………………………… $7.49
Open-face roast beef sandwich .. $6.99
Pork chops ……………………………… $9.99