Cafe Society

Jack in the Box talks Colorado

Hello Parker.
Jack in the Box, the California-based fast food chain that left Colorado twelve years ago, is continuing its foray back into the state with a new location in Parker. Jack has already opened stores in Golden and Arvada, and plans a fourth in Thornton.

The Parker restaurant, which opens Monday at 11179 Pikes Peak Drive, features the company’s test methods at being environmentally friendly, including water-saving toilets and sinks; soda fountains made of recycled materials; and light sensors in the bathrooms. It is currently the only one of Jack’s 2,100 locations with the “green” pilot program, says company spokeswoman Kathleen Anthony. “It’s one of a kind.”

The coolest part (or the scariest, depending on your point of view), however, is a large window along the drive-thru that lets hungry motorists see into the kitchen.

Jack in the Box left Colorado in 1996, shortly after a massive public relations disaster following several Jack-linked E. coli deaths in another part of the country. Over the intervening years, though, it has become better know for its irreverent fictional CEO, Jack Box, who has a large, round ping-pong-ball-looking head, and his TV commercials, as well as its sirloin burgers, greasy tacos and ciabattas (I wish they’d bring back the chicken and mushroom sourdough sandwich they served in the early ‘90s, too).

What few people know, however, is that Box’s roots run even deeper in Colorado.

In his MySpace profile, Box says, “I was born on a cattle ranch in Colorado. I didn't have much except a love for burgers and pretty women. What else does your average red-blooded American need? Then I headed to sunny California. Why? Cuz I had this idea to let people order burgers from their cars...and, well, people in California love their cars. (Not to mention I have a thing for blondes.) So I opened up Jack in the Box. Met my wife Cricket. Got my sweet yellow hat and an even sweeter jet.”

Welcome back, Jack. – Jonathan Shikes